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28 Apr 2015

Beginner Indie Dev Tip: Stay On Task, Hold Yourself Accountable With This Technique

I am always amazed by the awesome advice you can find on a random thread on Reddit. Such a thing happened to me last week when browsing the Entrepreneur subreddit. A user was discussing how people stay productive and remain accountable for what they do every week in order to grow their startup. A few people shared their daily routines, but one person gave some advice that sounds so out-of-the-box that it has to work. Plus, it’s a beginner indie dev tip that will help anyone trying to break into this awesome industry.

I cannot find the exact thread (so my apologies for not linking to it), but the tip goes like this: hire someone (essentially a virtual assistant) to call you between once a week to every single day, and tell them to ask you about how your work is coming along. That’s it! Essentially, you are hiring someone to just chat with you about how productive you have been, and while it may seem like a waste of money, the user states that it has worked wonders for how productive they are. It’s a beginner indie dev tip that will help you as well!

There is no doubt in my mind that this tip works. I am going to give it a shot myself in the coming weeks, so if you want to do it along with me I urge you to do so. If you are still not convinced, let me break it down for you.

You will be productive since you pay for the service

There is a reason why so many people still pay for a gym membership even though it is simple to get a good workout at home nowadays. When you pay for a service attached to a particular goal, you feel obligated to follow through with the work associated with said goal simply because you do not want to feel like you are wasting your money. Hiring the virtual assistant mentioned above is the exact same way. Because we all want to feel like we are getting our money’s worth, you’re going to feel obligated to stay productive, stay on task, and do whatever you have to do in order to make this service seem worthwhile.


This tip will also force you to be accountable. When hiring your virtual assistant, mention that you want them to have a conversation with you regarding your goals for the week ahead and what you have done to reach those goals this week. What you will find is pretty incredible. Those days that you do not feel like working on your game or being productive towards a certain goal? You will instantly be reminded that your virtual assistant is going to touch base with you very soon, and you need to report back with some positive news.

You won’t want to let them down

There is something personal about speaking with someone over the phone – even if it is someone that you have hired. After you have chatted with the virtual assistant a few times (I suggest only having a five minute conversation once per session so you can keep your focus on the tasks at hand), you will have had a pretty lengthy conversation up to that point. What you will find is that you will not want to let them down.

Sure, it is easy to let someone down on the Web. If you have not been productive, telling someone over an instant message doesn’t have the same venom or stress associated with it as telling them via a phone call. Thus, that is exactly why this tip works: you do not want to let them down and you do not want to deal with the stress of having to report that you have….well…failed to meet your goals.

It is this combination of stress and not wanting to be seen as a failure by someone else that makes this tip work (wanting to get the most out of paying for a service is also a great incentive). It doesn’t take a lot to get started (you can probably find someone that will call you regularly for about $20 – $30 a week), and it will work wonders for your productivity. Consider giving it a shot, and if you do report back to us in the comment box below!

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