Sometimes, sadly, in order to be productive, we have to force it. The best way to ensure something gets done is to give yourself no other choice but to do it.
Yes, this can be a little frustrating, but it can really work when you’re trying something new or trying to build new habits that you’re not yet getting the hang of. It can work for boring tasks, work you have to do, and writing as a whole! So, how can you “force it”? How does it work?
Ways to force it:
- Set deadlines
- Put everything distracting (phone) away
- Leave that comfortable space
- Be held accountable
- Make yourself feel a little guilty if you don’t do it (a little, not a lot!)
- Do it with others
- Attach it to something else, like another habit
What can “forcing it” help with:
- Getting work done
- Doing those things you know you should but keep putting off
- Focusing in general
- Doing your job(!)
- Mundane tasks
So, let’s think about how this can work in reality. Say you want to read more (like I did at one point), but you don’t have the habit down-pat. You don’t have the motivation. Well, force it! You could go into the bathroom to do you “business” and bring your book instead of your phone. That means that if you want some entertainment, you’re going to have to read the book. You could leave your phone in your bag instead of in your pocket, so it’s harder to reach. Then when you’re commuting to work (or something), you could have your book in your hand and you will be forced to read instead of being on your phone.
Another thing you could do is set up a kind of book club with a few friends. Not the whole “come over to my house and discuss the book and analyse the characters” kind of thing, but instead you and two friends could all read the same book one month (or whenever). That way you’ll feel like you better read it because you’ll feel bad if your friends do and they text you at the end of the month like “hey how awesome was that book right?!” but you have no idea how awesome it was…
This is deadlines, accountability, doing it with someone, taking distractions away, guilt, and attaching to other habits/routines. See how it can work?
Have your book at the side of your bed, but put your phone on your chest of drawers away from your bed. So, if you’re trying to wind down for bed, you’ll choose to read because there’s nothing else!
Force it! Force it!
And of course, this works with others things, too. Like I worked-out more when I knew I had the Wolf Run coming up. This was a deadline, as well as the fact that I was doing it with other people so I was pushed to try to match their fitness levels and I was held accountable for it. You could leave your phone upstairs and be forced to go on your exercise bike whilst watching TV, for another example. Or actually go to the gym, where you’ll have to work out otherwise you’ll look kind of silly just sitting there.
Make it so that not doing what you should be doing is actually harder than just doing it. Make it so that you are forced to do it until its done or becomes so natural that it’s no longer forced at all. Having a writing deadline helped me be a better novelist. And having people on the journey with me helped me, too. Trust me, the techniques work.
It’s doable. Reading is something I now do easily, whereas before I did struggle for a while. I have a few other things I need to “force” but I’m trying, and that’s all we can do!