The brute-force way to motivate yourself

Regular productivity writer Eric Barker has a piece in Time magazine about what he calls the mistake every Productivity system makes:

Productivity systems rarely take emotions into account. And feelings are a fundamental and unavoidable part of why humans do what they do.

We can’t ignore our emotions. Because of the way our brains are structured, when thought and feelings compete, feelings almost always win.

Riffing on a book called Change by Chip and Dan Heath (UK edition, US edition), Barker proposes we think like mad when we’re planning what we have to do but then we do it by feel and specifically by using three steps to “rile up those emotions and get things done”.

The three – detailed in the full piece – are about rewords and peer pressure but my favourite is:

Having trouble finding a reward awesome enough to get you off your butt? Try a “commitment device” instead:

Give your friend $100. If you get a task done by 5PM, you get your $100 back. If you don’t complete it, you lose the $100.

Your to-do list just got very emotional.

That’s broadly the same principle that the website Go Fucking Do It works on (official website, news story on The Blank Screen)