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What is forcing function mental model?

When the challenges are approached positively, it helps us work out the muscles of our creative minds. Restrictions force you to think. Limitations, problems, obstacles are not actually restrictions.

Mental models that increase our decision making quality are among my favourite topics.

Today, I would like to share a mental model that I have benefited a lot from: Forcing function

What is forcing function mental model?

Our brain works continuously in active mode, always wants to spend less energy, actively seeks an easy way to handle stuff. However, studies show that when we limit the conditions, resources or situations that we are in, we become creative to overcome the barriers blocking whatever we want to achieve.

When the challenges are approached positively, it helps us work out the muscles of our creative minds. Restrictions force you to think. Limitations, problems, obstacles are not actually restrictions.

They are bridges.

Bridges between you and the creative solution.

Even this point of view will positively reflect on your problem-solving ability.

A few practical examples:

  • The best known is a deadline. If you put a deadline for your the things you want to deliver, you will complete it more easily than the things you do not.
  • While working with focus, open a single tab in the browser, do not open any other tab before your job is done.
  • Do not take the charge of your laptop with you while working outside, this will set a limit for you, which will enable you to be more productive with the charge limit you have.
  • Use a single monitor. Complete one job on one screen.
  • Do not start another job before finishing a job. It is very painful, but it is very useful if you do. Timebox in Scrum, Limiting WIP in Kanban are good examples of this lean thinking.

2 replies on “What is forcing function mental model?”

This reminded me of Nir Eyal’s intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. When you have intrinsic motivation towards a task or a goal, it’s fairly easy to get motivated. However, when you need extrinsic motivation the forcing function framework is excellent to provide you with this external catalyst for productivity. He explain it much better here: https://www.nirandfar.com/extrinsic-motivation/ 🙂

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