DALL·E 2022-10-31 15.02.24 - An abstract painting of accountability, a symmetric composition with three dominant colors.png


An accountability buddy is someone to check in with from time to time to give you social motivation to achieve your goals. There are many additional benefits from this process such as planning together and getting feedback on your progress. I think especially EAs in remote areas or those doing EA-related work, or upskilling part-time would benefit from having an accountability buddy. If you’d like to try it out, put your details down in this table.

This is partly a post about increasing your productivity. For more ideas check Effective Self-Help’s long list of recommendations.

Thank you to Evander and Anabel for your feedback.

Epistemic status: We have had first-hand experience with accountability buddies for the past six months + reflected on the process several times. We’ve also had conversations with others about the topic. Overall our views should be taken as a motivation to experiment instead of a laid-out path.

Author’s note: The first-person perspective in this post is taken in by Konstantin. Other remarks by Sam are marked with S or found summarized here. Nevertheless, we wrote most of this article collaboratively. Furthermore, this article is a concrete outcome of our rejection challenge.

Motivation for having an accountability buddy

I think I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t met Sam, my accountability buddy at EAG London this year. Our regular meetings made me more structured, helped me frequently reflect on my goals and progress, and made me more ambitious than I was before. I think many, if not all people would benefit from some form of accountability partnership and I encourage you to give it a try if you haven’t.

In an abstract sense, an accountability buddy (AB) is someone to help you better reflect and achieve your goals, either through indirect accountability (”I told them I’d get this done this week and it’s already Thursday, so I better get going!”) or direct accountability (“Hey, didn’t you say you wanted to start that project? How is that going?”). The most common way of doing this is by meeting regularly and going through past progress and future goals.

In addition to accountability, an AB can help you to reflect on your goals and the progress you made toward them. If it works out well, an accountability session can feel like a mini-coaching every week.

I think many people would benefit from accountability buddies, especially if they:

There are also some related concepts that I may one day write about: career planning groups (e.g. for the 80k course), holding you accountable to make progress and discussing your plans and value buddies, someone you reflect your values with on a regular basis to keep track of value drift.