3 min read

Get shit done with a forcing function

check list
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

A forcing function is a great way to get shit done and smash through your todo list. This will guarantee you complete your tasks on schedule.

What is a forcing function?

A forcing function is basically when you arrange a system so that you can't get out of whatever you agreed to do and you get shit done. The Ancient Greeks would burn their boats when they sailed to attack the enemy. This meant there was no escape route so they'd have to fight brilliantly and win the battle. They removed the option of retreating. This is maybe an extreme example but you can have great results with forcing functions.

How to use forcing functions as an entrepreneur and get shit done

Back in December 2020 I start working on a website showing the best remote companies to work for. A month later the website still wasn't out so I decided I'd start with a newsletter sending people fully remote jobs . I just added a newsletter form to simple website made in Carrd (affiliate). But I was already sending out two other newsletters to self-taught developers.

How would I commit myself to sending out a third newsletter every week without fail?

I made a forcing function!

My forcing function example

I decided if I didn't send a newsletter each week I'd pay a random subscriber $50. Now I don't have lots of money so I can't afford to be sending people $50 just because I couldn't be bothered to send a newsletter. I definitely have time to send a third newsletter. The only reason not to send an email would be if I was being lazy.

So I made sure if I was lazy I'd have to pay up. I'm glad to say that since January I've not missed an issue and I've sent a newsletter out every week. I made it easier for myself by choosing to send my newsletter every Thursday. That way it became a habit which was easier for me to remember. It also meant my subscibers knew when to check my inbox. If you are running a newsletter I recommend sending it on the same day each week. Check out yesterday's blog post on which is the best day to send a newsletter.

How you can use forcing functions to help you get shit done

I'd start of by looking at what you want to achieve in your business. Then you can prioritize and look at the tasks you are avoiding or failing to do often. If these are actions that are important for your business and you're struggling to do them, let's make them a forcing function!

Let's say you want to send a tweet every day. A forcing function example would be pinning a tweet to your profile saying "I want to tweet every day. If I miss a day the first person to reply gets $50." That way I guarantee people will keep you accountable.

A friend of mine Andrew Kamphey is in a private community High Signal which I set up for entrepreneurs who want to chat to other profitable founders and stay accountable. Andrew's goal for this week was to complete an ebook or otherwise he'd have to give everyone in the group a Starbucks voucher. I'm happy to say he completed his task on schedule because of this forcing function!


The benefit of forcing functions are they eliminate excuse-itis - a common affliction for entrepreneurs. If you can make a system whereby there is a penalty if you fail, be it social embarassment or a financial cost, in my case with the $50, then you are far, far, more likely to complete your tasks on time.

p.s. if you sign up for my remote jobs newsletter I'll send you an email every Thursday - or you'll get the chance to win $50!