Motivation, Accountability, Projects, Homework, and Teenagers

January 23, 2013 by John Andrew Williams

Over the past two months, I’ve been busy creating individual recordings for each concept of the Academic Life Coaching program. Those seemingly easy recordings, lasting from 5 to 18 minutes each, actually took a really, really long time for me to make. The process was hard. I spent most of my time in the mornings and between coaching sessions with teenagers working on the project.

Last week, I finished the last recording on Tuesday at 4:58pm.

I started another round of coaching training last Tuesday at 5:00pm.

I made accomplished my goal to finish these recordings before the next coaching training started by about 2 minutes.

As I’ve reflected on how I managed to take on a project that lasted two months and just barely finish it (and I mean barely with just with two minutes to spare) right before go-time, I wonder what other projects happen the same way.

What is it about deadlines and motivation-away-from missing them that is so useful? My hunch is this: setting deadlines for yourself and reaching them is a big deal. It’s hard to hold yourself accountable. Having a structure in place that helps you not only set a deadline, but set one that others are going to know if you miss it is incredibly useful.

I think the key here is to find a way to motivate yourself (or a teenager) by having a real accountability that matters to you, but not too much to induce a ton of stress. For parents looking for help with their teenager, it could be a coach or an aunt or uncle that helps hold your child accountable for accomplishing their goals. For teenagers who want to do this, it could be a friend – or and I know this is crazy – you could actually ask your parents to help hold you accountable.

For me, I was blessed with the opportunity to have 11 new Academic Life Coaches on the other end of the training call to hold me accountable.

In the meantime, for this next project that I’m working on, I’m designing little benchmarks and finding ways to have others hold me to it.

When approached with deliberation, the process of motivation and accountability becomes an essential part of the successful project (or homework) design.

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