I'm writing this post in a very new way. I'm still using my same computer with the same old keys, but the stakes are higher this time around. I'm using an app that deletes all my writing if I pause for too long. I'd love to see my average heart rate for this post versus the prior four. This feels like a treadmill on an uncomfortably-high speed. This is a workout.
I'm doing this to explore the concept of creating a sense of pace for myself in an area that's not traditionally paced. So far, it's doing its job of forcing me to produce much more content. Not all of it will be good, of course. But it will be a starting point, and that's half the battle.
The speed at which this app expects me to write could be considered a "forcing function." I've mentioned before that the strongest forcing function in the kitchen is the restaurant's opening time. The restaurant will open its doors at 6pm whether or not the cooks have completed all their prep work. It's a powerful motivating factor to keep on keeping on. "Motivating" isn't even the right word—it feels more like a do or die matter when you're in the heat of the battle.
It's important to introduce a forcing function here and there into our daily life. And it can actually be exhilarating when done right. I have a close friend that just accepted an invitation to give a speech at Goldman Sachs in a couple weeks to a diverse audience of high-achievers. He has no idea what he's going to talk about yet, but as the day approaches, he knows that his pen will start meeting paper. It just has to.
Which is exactly why he signed up.
Set the Pace
Active time to complete: 1 min
Try introducing a forcing function into your professional life by scheduling an end-of-day review meeting with a boss or co-worker. Give yourself 10-25% less time than you estimate the work will take you. Be careful to not be too aggressive, or this could backfire. Or, you could impress yourself!