Sites for finding an procrastination accountability partner?
May 15, 2014 1:55 PM   Subscribe

This is probably an unusual question, but here goes anyway. I'm a chronic procrastinator, and have been having a hard time keeping on task from day to day. I would like to start planning my days ahead of time, but am having some trouble making it a habit. To that end, I've been trying to find an "accountability partner" online to correspond with through email, since I can't think of anyone who could assist me with this in real life. We could encourage each other, as well as keep each other honest. The problem is... I have no clue where to find someone who would be keen on this idea. Can you think of any sites in which I could find someone that might fit the bill? Also, do you have any suggestions for improving my idea? Details inside.

(Apologies in advance for the undue length)

I think that this "accountability partner" idea would be a great habit to start for me and any likeminded procrastinator, and should only take a couple of minutes each day. I'm actually excited to get started! I find that if I plan out my next day, I have a much greater chance of getting everything I want to get done, well... done. Furthermore, if I'm communicating with someone, I get the feeling that there will be a much greater chance of me actually planning out the next day.

I tried this idea out on an ADD forum, but the first person who seemed interested only wanted to IM, which ended up with us shooting the shit and defeating the whole purpose. The second person sent one email, vanished, then reappeared a month later asking to start up again. I'd like to find someone that takes this idea as seriously as I would like to.

Let me describe my ideal accountability partner situation, as I'd like to iron out the rules in writing for myself as well:

First off, no IM's or texts - two procrastinators instant messaging each other is a recipe for disaster, so email would probably be best. The idea I was thinking of was that both partners could alternate days in which an email is sent, and 1-3 (or so) daily tasks are sketched out two days in advance. For instance, Partner A plans out his/her next two days; the next day Partner B responds to Partner A, and plans out his/her next two days. We encourage our successes, and if one of us falls off the wagon, the other offers support.

The correspondence could be as little as a brief paragraph. Let me give a vague example of what I am imagining:

"Good job on accomplishing all of your goals! Keep it up. As for me, I was able to do goal 1, 2, and 3, but goal 4 didn't work out so well because I got lazy/ran out of time/ had a brain fart and forgot/etc. I'll do this/that to keep it from happening next time. For tomorrow/the next day, I'm planning on: 1. blah blah, 2. bleh bleh...."

As time goes on, maybe we can even inject some character into the emails so it doesn't get too drab, such as starting them out with "Mission report!" or whatnot.

Even if the goals are not met, at the bare minimum an email must be sent so whoever is struggling can plan out the next couple of days and try to get back on their feet. If one of us becomes lackadaisical and is consistently not sending their emails - and I'll be doing my darndest to make sure it's not me - it would probably be best to call the whole thing off.

(As you can probably tell, I've been thinking about this idea a lot.)

Anyway, that's my general idea of how it could work out, and although I'm perfectly willing to change some of the details to suit my partner... I have no idea where to find him/her!

So far, the only place to find someone I've thought of that might work would be in a reddit subforum, maybe someplace like GetMotivated. I have no clue where else to look, though, and would appreciate some suggestions. (I'll probably just modify what I just typed out here, and post it on whatever sites you might give me).

Other general advice is welcome, and suggestions for improving my plan are appreciated as well. And of course, if there are any MeFites interested partnering up feel free to send a MeMail :)

Many thanks in advance!
posted by CottonCandyCapers to Human Relations (6 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Similar questions have come up in the past (1, 2, 3 and that's just after the briefest of searches -- surely more can be found). You might contact the posters directly to find out what they did, and if they'd like to buddy up with you.
posted by Houstonian at 2:00 PM on May 15, 2014

Best answer: I think this is a cool idea! Kinda like a life coach but more like a life...umm...partner. Wait that doesn't sound right, but at any rate, cool idea. email sent!
posted by ian1977 at 2:01 PM on May 15, 2014

Since you asked for general advice, I'd suggest you check out the MeFi group at Health Month. From yoga to daily practice on duolingo, nothing ever kept me on track like that did. (I've been meaning to get back!) I'm not sure you could get anyone to follow-up with you via e-mail in the manner you described, but if you outlined your goals I'm certain that between the the gamification aspect and all the wonderful MeFites there you could get a lot, if not most, of the encouragement and accountability you seek, just more publicly.

Note: Despite the name, your goals do not have to be health related in any way and you can keep the actual names of the goals private if you like.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:32 PM on May 15, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I am a huge procrastinator, and the only thing that has ever worked for me is meaningful deadlines. So anything that facilitates meaningful deadlines (which your plan might well do) is what you want to look for.

So, what happens when you go: 'fuck it'? What's your failure condition?
posted by Sebmojo at 3:22 PM on May 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I actually do this with a friend. Sometimes we skype, sometimes we text, sometimes we email. Our schedules make it impossible to do on a regular basis but finding a work buddy, as I call it, has been really helpful.

We are IRL friends, which is how we got the idea. Also, we are less formal. You may need to experiment to find something that works for you.

You could try ADD groups, Craig's List and, hmm, local MeFites perhaps? Best of luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 2:54 PM on May 16, 2014

Response by poster: Wow. Here I was thinking I didn't get too many replies... and then I check my inbox! Thanks for all of the messages - all of the senders seem pretty keen on the idea, so I'll probably just pick one at random.

Sebmojo - If I'm understanding 'failure condition' correctly, you're suggesting that I implement a system that punishes me for skipping days? If this is the case, I think it's a good idea - maybe make it a 3 strikes system, where the first 3 skipped days are warnings. Then from that point on, the punishment could be something small yet annoying (such as owing my accountability partner $1 for every day missed, save for emergencies). Maybe a reward system could be implemented as well, like giving ourselves "freebie days" for every month or so of having no skipped days.

Anyone want me to post a list somewhere of the usernames that would like an accountability partner, so the rest of you can find one too? Is this allowed?
posted by CottonCandyCapers at 9:33 AM on May 18, 2014

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