Finish your thesis with an accountability partner

Crossing items off your to-do list might be particularly challenging in times of confinment. A frameless time, a flat converted into an individual and/or family office… You need to find your bearings. What if you had a coach to help you structure your day? More: a coach for free?

In these times of confinement, it is vital to have a framework, specially if you want to write your thesis. Too much time is scary – and you end up doing nothing.

Or, if you have a family at home, you might become absorbed by others’tasks and abandoning your thesis project.

You need to save time boxes for your own project.

Specially now, everybody might wish having a coach to help them restructure their life.

This is possible with an accountability partner.

What is an accountability partner?

You’ve already noticed that your daily jogging is easier if you run with a friend: you force yourself to get out even if you’d prefer stay in your bed.

You feel committed to run.

This friend is your accountability partner.

If this works for jogging, why not for writing your thesis?

An accountability partner is someone who helps you to keep on track.

When times get tough, when you run into the unavoidable distractions, seemingly insurmountable obstacles and doubts, someone is there to help you.

An accountability partner is someone who will help you to reach your goals.


Because you’re doing the same thing for them.

An accountability partner is a peer to peer relationship.

Someone you trust and respect, someone who keeps you honest and supports your progress on the track you have set for yourself.

You are not alone anymore, and you can share the joys and pains with this person. Moreover, your partner will be coaching you and praising you on along the way.

Accountability motivates people to cross items off their to-do lists.

My success story

Four years ago, I was participating in a 14 day worskhop “Write 1000 words per day”.

The first task was to find an accountability partner in the group. I found Susanne.

Every day, she sent me her text and I sent her mine. Not in order to read them, rather to show that our homework was done.

While the first week was successful, the second one  became difficult for me. 

Susane was assiduous, but I had to travel to run workshops in Paris. Running a course  all day did not give me time to write anything during the day.

Every evening I was about to give up.

But then I realised: if I don’t send my text today, she will not send hers tomorrow, and then the cooperation will breakdown.

So at 9 p.m., once I was done with everything else, I wrote my 1000 words and sent them.

At the end of the challenge, each of us had written some 14 000 words.

Actyally, the quantity of words is not important.

What is important is that the script of my course project (which had been pending since last year) is now finished.

Without those daily meetings, I would have abandonned my project.

3 rules to building a successful partnership

Actually, building a successful accountability partnership is very simple. Put all the chances on your side by applying some basic rules

1. Find someone you trust

  • Ensure that this person is really motivated – nothing is more disheartening than someone who always finds excuses for not having done their homework.
  • Your partner should not be in competition with you. If you are rivals, you cannot honestly help each other.
  • This person should not be your boss or have any kind of authority over you: you must be equals in order to share fears, to admit failures and to support each other.

2. Set up regular ‘check-in’ times

  • Decide how you want to work: how long should a meeting last? 5 minutes? 1 hour?
  • How often do you want to check in? Once a day? Twice?

3. Set doable goals

Set monthly, weekly and daiy goals.

The SMART goal formula can help you setting doable goals.

A SMART goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely:

  • Specific. Avoid vague goals. You might lose time and get lost in the details. Your goal needs to be as concrete, as specific as possible.
  • Measurable. Measuring progress will help you stay on track. You will avoid doing tasks unrelated to your goal. What concrete criteria will you use to measure your progress toward the achievement of your goal?
  • Achievable. It is important that you achieve goals in order to maintain your motivation. Therefore, avoid setting unachievable goals. What are the steps (intermediate goals) which will lead you to the specific goal you want to reach?
  • Relevant: Your goal must be relevant to your thesis. Of course, your topic is exciting and every article, conference, and experiment might seem important, indispensable, and vital. Prioritize what you need to do. Some tasks are more important than others; some might be nice to do, but secondary; and many of them are just useless. Focus on the first category in order not to get off track.
  • Timely. Set deadlines for achieving your goal. A time frame  forces you to focus your work towards the achievement of your goal. When do you want to achieve your goal?

Reconsider your goals and strategies every once in a while to ensure you are on track.

Find your accountability partner today!

Don’t wait any longer: find your accountability partner and start  working together now!

You will quickly see that you’ll be much more likely to structure your working day and to take action if someone else is taking note and tracking your goals.

Feel welcome to share your experiences with your accountability partner below!

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  1. Thank you Martha for telling us this idée. I must say that my accountability partner helped me to finish my thèsis very quickly.

    1. Wow, congratulations to you – and your accountability partner! You’ve done a great job, Bilal! 🙂

  2. Ich habe hier wunderbare Nachrichten gefunden. Ich liebe die
    Art und Weise Sie beschreiben. So hervorragend!

  3. Thank you very much for this article: I have an accountability partner since april and both have succeeded in finishing our thesis. Thanks again and have a good continuation, Mrs MArtha.

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