All Articles Leadership Careers What is one low-tech way you hold yourself accountable for achieving something every day?

What is one low-tech way you hold yourself accountable for achieving something every day?

4 min read


The following responses are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invitation-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. All photos are courtesy of YEC. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

1. A clean inbox

I believe in a clean inbox. If I have over a page of old e-mails at the end of any given day, I consider that day a failure. This clean-inbox theory carries over into my to-do list. Every day, I write a list of action items. By the end of the day, I need to have crossed off at least half of those action items in order to consider the day a success. If I can cross off all the items, even better! — David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

2. A personal (business) trainer

I hired a personal trainer who kicks my butt at the gym twice a week and checks on me every Tuesday to make sure I’m working on focused and productive projects in my business. Having another person involved to keep you accountable — someone who can relate to you — can be more motivating than a project management software program. — Joe Barton, Barton Publishing

3. Post-it notes and pens

As a long-time hoarder of office supplies, I love breaking out a bold colored Post-it and jotting down my three essential tasks each day. Keeping these on my desk next to the laptop forces me to see what I should be doing every single time I log into Facebook. Best of all is balling it up when all the tasks are done and aiming for the recycling box. Low tech and effective! — Kelly Azevedo, She’s Got Systems

4. To-do lists

For an hour or more every day, normally in the afternoon, I sit down and write a to-do list on a legal pad. It’s normally a long list of things that need done right away, and that’s it. Then, I take my time and bust through the tasks. One by one, things get done. The key is that I took the time, made priorities and didn’t get distracted. After I am finished, I always feel better and ready to do more! — Kyle Clayton, Jackrabbit Janitorial

5. Visual aids

When we want new business or need to accomplish a task, I print out a large image of it and tape it on the wall by my desk. Because the entire office can see it, it holds me accountable and acts as a constant reminder. — Bobby Emamian, Prolific Interactive

6. Discussions over dinner

I talk with my husband every evening about what we each did over the course of the day. Not having something to discuss makes me feel like I haven’t accomplished anything that day. Therefore, I make a point of completing something worth talking about over dinner. — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting

7. No dessert

I love dessert. If I don’t get what I should get done that day, as the Dessert Nazi would say, “NO DESSERT FOR YOU!” — Wade Foster, Zapier

8. Complete investment activities

All of us have easy to-do items that we can (and should) check off each day. However, every day you should also challenge yourself to do something that is an investment in your business, i.e., something that will lead to new customers or other increased opportunities. If you’re getting a lot done but avoiding the work that really matters, you’re not truly productive. — Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E