I am a dancer at the core 💃
Source: Vio's Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/Byx_u2EIufO/
Like many people, I practiced a few years of dancing, 10 years ⏳ to be precise. I didn't share much before on how I started to dance back in 2004, but these days I first started thinking about similarities between my dancer partner in the past and the accountability buddy I have on MyFocusSpace. For starters, both required support, focus on building habits, dedication to long-term goals, and knowing the importance to be consistent.
First lesson on being consistent🔥
I was in my fourth grade 🎒 and I attended with my mom and my twin brother a Moldovian folk festival. I still remember that evening, that stage in the middle of the park, and those hundreds of people watching the show. The Moldavian traditional dance has always been an essential part of Moldovian cultural and social life, but I had never thought of starting to dance before that moment.
You see, watching a few dozens of dancers 💃🕺 dressed in national vibrant colored national costumes, clapping, dancing, singing with their smiles to the ears, I simply couldn't help myself to not be impressed. I wanted to be part of them and I guess mom saw me wondering as she told me to go and ask the dancing teacher to join one of her teams.
So I did. The teacher 🧑🏫 told me she had all her teams full and maybe she would find some time to build another team if I would find others who would want to join. We needed 8 people at least. It took me 2 days of negotiation with my brother (who had no plans to become a dancer, he wanted to practice judo), a talk with mom (who helped me to convince my brother), and 5 days to gather 6 of our classmates who would want to learn to dance for a few months. (to convince the boys, especially, I told them my brother would dance as well).
I still remember the teacher's face 🧑🏫 when she saw all 8 of us waiting by her office. 10 years later my brother and I were the last ones from that initial group who continued dancing. 2-hours long class, 3 times a week for 10 years was the perfect context to create a habit of exercising, learn the importance of sleep and nutrition. We were professional dancers and we were consistent in our training.
Losing my accountability buddy 👨
First, let’s talk about the accountability buddy. You see, I was a nerd in high school 🏫, a perfectionist who always wanted to be the best and prove herself. And within a busy schedule between school, the Olympic competitions for history, and dancing, I tended to skip the last one. It was only because of my brother that I would need to organize myself in such a way so that I would still be able to keep up with the dancing classes. He was my accountability buddy.
Spoiler alert:⚠️ no matter how many years you practice, nobody can ensure you that once your buddy and the context are gone you will still continue to do what you were doing.
I stopped dancing once my brother and I were accepted to different colleges, in different cities and a different country. We had a few months during which we tried to keep ourselves accountable to find different classes within new cities, but none of the classes I went to seemed to satisfy me. I quit searching for dancing classes and my buddy had no extra time to keep me accountable.
If you don't maintain it, you lose it 🐥
I recently read the article written by Scot H Young who explains that the difference between a commitment and a habit is that the last one comes with a degree of spontaneity and is triggered by a particular context. It simply made me realize that even if I practiced dancing for 10 years, it had never become a habit, it always was a commitment to myself and to my brother. And because it was only a commitment I failed on maintaining it.
And what do you do when you lose your motivation? 🥺 Take time off? Unplug for a few days? Maybe you go out with your friends (pre-pandemic), maybe drink your troubles away because you can’t stop thinking about work otherwise, maybe book a flight to someplace. You see for me losing the motivation to keep up with my dancing practices, gave birth to my desire to see the world. Being on the road most of my time, moving from one country to another country for 7 years seemed to be like a dream until the pandemic hit.
Accountability within pandemic 😷
Don't get me wrong, being forced to stay indoors was even fun at the beginning. I gained back 2 hours of my life per day of not commuting, but in the long run, I found myself doing all sorts of other things in between work. In other words, I started to procrastinate especially on things I didn't enjoy much doing until the end of the day. (to generate some adrenaline kicking in my system 🤣) Not healthy I know.
Luckily during that time, I started talking to my friend, current co-founder, Ionut Mistreanu, who was back in Romania 🇷🇴, at that time. We would just share our plans for the next week and what we have done during the previous week. Not even being aware of it, I enjoyed starting to be accountable to myself. You see I was familiar with the feeling of having an accountability buddy who would help me keep on track with things I needed to do.
As for Ionut, his challenge within the pandemic was to get up early and get in the flow. I was living in San Francisco 🌁 at that time and the time difference allowed us to test the idea that we had while brainstorming one day. We set up a call, "a muted call", as we called it, during his morning, where he would do his thing and I would do mine.
We decided to use the Pomodoro Technique twice in a row via a video call, where he would work on his own task, and I would do mine.
2*25min = 50min
One thing that came naturally after being in a "working muted call" with Ionut was a short break where we discussed how it went for both of us.
Apparently, it worked: I had not checked my phone once during the call with him and he got to work right away within that hour.
👧 "Holly **! I need more of this." I said.**
👦 "Me too." He replied.
So we did, we scheduled more of those "muted working calls" during that week. You see, now that you are aware of the accountability effect in my life, you might understand even better why I was hooked. Accordingly to James Clear, who says that the process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward, I found myself being in the stage of craving. Scheduling ahead of our working sessions, knowing that Ionut will be expecting me to work as well, motivated me to come ready for work.
How MyFocusSpace was born
Though we were hooked, one of the questions that came into our minds was - "Would others benefit from it as well?". So we decided to test it on our friends, 30 to be precise. Don't get me wrong, it worked for all of them, we even found out that most of them finished their tasks faster than they usually did, but what a mess we had with all the communication in between.
Spoiler alert:⚠️ the time zone didn't help either.
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study on accountability and found out that the probability of completing a goal is:
- 10% – If you have an actual idea or goal.
- 25% – If you you will consciously decide do it.
- 40% – If you decide when you will do it.
- 50% – If you plan how you will do it.
- 65% – If you commit to someone you will do it.
- 95% – If you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed to.
Just stop for a moment and think 🧠 - 95% success rate to accomplish a task if you book an appointment with a person you’ve committed to. This brought up a few questions💭:
What if we could develop a solution that offered that accountability on demand without any communication in between? What if you could create a community of people who are like-minded, humble, supportive, and want to become better versions of themselves?
A few months of iteration and here we are with MyFocusSpace - which provides accountability on-demand 24/7. You can work alongside an accountability buddy for sessions of 1-hour, 1.5-hour, 2-hour long.
Source: MyFocusSpace app calendar
We also invite you to join our Official Facebook Group 🧑🏾🤝🧑🏼 - this group is only available for our community members and it's a place where we come to share our experiences, challenges of being productive; be humble and ask for advice; interact with people who share the same interests as us and who are there to help us along our journey.
Source: MyFocusSpace Official Facebook Group