“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” — Dale Carnegie
Do you have a favorite set of Forcing Functions?
A Forcing Function is any task, activity or event that forces you to take action and produce a result.
By putting a Forcing Function in place, you create motivation for taking action, whether it’s to meet a deadline or to respond to social pressure.
If you have areas in your life that you’re finding inertia, try adding some Forcing Functions to get better results.
Slides as Forcing Functions
On the job, one of our forcing functions is building a slide deck.
By setting a deadline for at least a draft deck or a draft presentation, you need to create a strawman.
This sets things in motion, as you try to build a slide deck.
Building a deck is a Forcing Function because it forces you to distill the points, close down on issues, identify what you know, don’t know and need to know next in a fairly constrained way.
It can also help to balance your elaboration on certain issues, and boil it down to something more precise and concise.
Blog Posts as Forcing Functions
A blog post can be a good Forcing Function.
There are plenty of topics you could write books about, but you could use blog posts as a simple Forcing Function.
You can ask yourself, “What’s can I post about that, today?”
Or, “What can I post about that topic that would be useful, tomorrow?”
A blog post forces you to chunk something down into a useful nugget.
Examples of Forcing Functions
Here’s some examples of forcing functions:
- Schedule time
- Show and tell
- Timeboxes and timeboxing
- Written goals
A big theme here is, “What can you accomplish that’s useful, before the time is up?”
Scheduling time is a simple, but effective practice. It forces you to make time, and it’s easier to get something done once you’ve made time for it.
Events force a work-backwards schedule.
Presenting forces you to to a dry run of your material and see how it lands. I use a “show and tell” each week on my team as a forcing function to drive results, share what you learned, and get feedback.
It’s a lighter-weight presentation but gets great results.