Accountable [a-kown-ta-bel ] noun
The readiness to have one’s actions, judgments, and failures to act to be questioned by responsible others; to explain why deviations from the reasonable expectations of responsible others may have occurred; and to respond responsibly when errors in behavior or judgment have been detected. Accountability, a critical component of professionalism, is closely related to the principles of morality, ethics, and legal obligations.
About a month ago, I ran out of gas. The experience got me thinking a lot about ways to improve my overall quality of life from a mental health/self –preservation perspective. As an entrepreneur, mom, wife, boss, friend, CrossFitter, and volunteer I run out of gas often. I made a list of ten things and committed (publicly) to doing all ten, every day for the next 30 days.
In and out of the workplace, we make a lot of commitments. It is easy to do. But how often do we follow through? What level of focus, importance and awareness do we put towards these things?
Let’s see how I did!
1. Start my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere 300 seconds of the 86,400 seconds I have each day. That is .0034722 % of my day. I got this.
There were some days I rocketed out of bed and took off at one hundred miles a minute. The days I paused and took a few minutes to reset and think intentionally about my day seemed to be better days. The days I did not do this resulted in a lot more #5.
2. Close out all of my programs on my Surface each night (it should help ease the aggravation of why everyone was ignoring me and didn’t reply to my email when I find the minimized email at the bottom of the screen).
Grade: D –
Using my “have as many files open at the same time as my to-do list” mentality doesn’t really work. But I do it. Over and over and over. I did manage this for a few days for sure. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll get better at this.
3. Physically shut down my computer each night. Like off. I know it means I have to wait like 30 seconds for it to start up in the morning, but I am tough. I can do this.
Yeah so I sucked at this. I just can’t seem to resist that “one more peek” mentality. I don’t know why I insist on giving IT ammunition against me. When my computer is acting like an a*shole, I usually get, “When was the last time you shut down your computer?” or “ Your email box is too big.” as the reason for my Surface’s incompetence. (Side note: I don’t care at all why it is not working, I just want it fixed. But I digress.)
4. Drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up. It just makes me feel good. Whenever I do that, I feel fresh and tend to drink more water for the remainder of the day. Water is good.
Awesome. Hydration rules. Drinking this water BEFORE coffee makes a huge difference. I started seeing a Naturopath and take lots of supplements when I first wake up so this makes the morning water drinking just part of my routine. Every try swallowing Spanish Black Radish with no water? Hint: DON’T. EVEN. TRY. IT.
5. Start my day over when things go off track. Consciously make an effort to stop the avalanche.
Grade: B –
This is something I have been working on for many years. Dealing with the last 18+ months of injury and health issues, it is really easy to let things spiral out of control really fast. The good news is that I don’t have the time or energy to be angry, upset, resentful, worked up etc. for very long. I am not saying I don’t do it often, just not for every long during any one incidence.
6. Unplug from work at least 2 hours before going to bed. This one is a TALL order for me. Tallest of tall. I vow to do my best. I also vow to not push back my bedtime to 2 a.m. to accommodate this.
Grade: C- –
This is so hard for me. Now that American Ninja Warrior and Team Spartan are on, I will have a better chance of this at least one night per week. But I did do this on several occasions. I even passed up a dinner on a recent business trip to practice a little self-care. So Crucial. My biggest improvement was on the weekends. I found myself being able to do a little spot-checking and brief periods of working and nothing at night. Progress not perfection.
7. Read 30 minutes before bed. From a book. Not on any electronic device. Nothing that needs to be plugged in or charged – yes, I am talking to you Jacqueline. Who me? Yes you.
SO I did not do this every night. But I did read two books and my husband bought me a little handy dandy reading light (apparently sleeping in bed with the side lamp on is not his idea of fun). I am up for hours after he goes to bed. The books I read were nonsense. No thought involved, easy to read and entertaining. No deep thought here.
8. Plan and accomplish  “I wish I had time to_______” thing each week. I made a list over the weekend of people I wished I saw or talked to more often. I made a decision to make at least one visit/call to someone from this list every single week. Not text. Not Facebook message. Actually meet with them in person or speak with them on the telephone.
This was my very favorite part!!! I got to visit my friend and her new baby. I was dying to get over there and just kept “running out of time.” I thought about her daily, texted her often and just couldn’t get over there. I finally made it and we had some awesome quality time!
I chatted on the phone and then spent a night over the Memorial Day Weekend with my friend and her family. It was awesome!
I also got together with a friend I have not seen in more than 10 years. Albeit she reached out to me, but we made it happen. The conversation flowed as if no time at all had passed. We ate some gluten free, vegan, paleo health “stuff” and chatted away.
I wouldn’t give up these moments for anything.
9. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. No. Matter. What. I typically do this anyway, but lately, work is very busy, I still have an excessive amount of medical appointments and things get harder to juggle. I need the Adrenalin, release and sense of accomplishment. It is also one of the few ways I consistently practice self-care.
This was the easiest for me. But having it as a public accountability did push me on a few days when I may have let “life” get in the way. I also FINALLY managed to make it to the illusive TOP of the rope – I even have the rope burn battle wounds. Pumped up!
10. End my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere .0034722 % of the 1,440 minutes I have in a day. You are impressed by math huh?
I actually attempted this in some form each day but when I committed, I was actually hoping for some state of peace and clarity versus a rundown of the day. I struggle with using that end-of-the-day time as a period of reflections and relaxation as opposed to a mental to-do list for the next (impending) morning.
My therapist LOVED the idea of me making a very deliberate effort around self-care. I was quite proud of her accolades. Until 2 seconds later when she also pointed out that committing to 10 things per day, in order to make sure I don’t “run out of gas” may have been too much and would result in most people “running out of gas.” Remind me why I pay this woman $150/hour to harass me.