Forcing yourself to create a product
Oct 31, 2018 · 2 min read

When your back is up against a wall, you have to perform. In fact, sometimes that’s when you perform your best. After all: constraints equal creativity.

One hour until the paper is due? Suddenly you can write, no problem.

But needing to be in dire straights to perform is dangerous. Even if the worst doesn’t happen, and you come out okay — you’ll still stress the whole time — and that can lead to bad decisions.

So what’s the alternative?

Embracing constraints by choosing them, not waiting for them.

For example, I have customers that pay me to send them alerts about high-quality freelance design projects. It’s tedious work that’s easy for me put off. But putting it off would just mean I spend more time on it, not less.

If I let it, it could take up my entire workday.

Instead, I give myself a hard deadline. At 11 am regardless of how many projects I’ve added, my app sends the project alerts to my customers. If I add any after 11 they won’t get sent until the following day.

This ensures that I get enough projects added early in the day. Then the rest of the time is mine to work on other things.

It’s just enough of a constraint to get me to act… but not so high-stakes that I stress out about it.

So instead of waiting for a financial windfall, like losing a client, to act on your dream of creating a product — choose a different constraint.

Give yourself a hard line and work inside of it.

Want to hear me explore this topic more deeply? You’re in luck, this post was inspired by a conversation I had recently with James Sowers for my podcast.

It would look really good next to your other favorite podcasts on your phone: you can subscribe here. Happy Halloween!

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