The very first step to eliminate the forcing habit is to start recognizing it. Start seeing it happening as soon as you are able. You can recognize forcing by taking note of the following things:
Dread - Anytime you have a feeling of dread come up in your work life, I would ask yourself why it is there. Is it that particular? That client? The time of day? The time of week? Your mood? The way that you are approaching the task?
You are ignoring your well-being - If you find yourself forgetting to eat, drinking more than you’d like, eating in a way that doesn’t feel good to your body, not having enough time to exercise, not getting enough sleep, etc. You are probably forcing.
You say ‘should’ or 'I have to' a lot - When the word ‘should’ comes into play, it inherently implies that you don’t want to do the task associated. That you are only doing it because you believe it is necessary or some outside force has told you at some point that it’s important. Take not of the ‘should's’ and see how you can turn that should into a ‘want’ or even better a ‘cant’ wait!’
It feels draining, difficult or exhausting - A lot of times people confuse forcing with working hard. However, you can work hard, you can work as many hours as you need to get things done without forcing it through. A tell-tell sign of forcing is when that hard work starts to truly take it out of you. You feel exhausted, you have low motivation, you are physically and mentally overwhelmed.
The second key to moving forward from forcing is to make changes to align your work habits with the life you want to live. A few recommendations or places to start are:
Start quitting things.
Yep. If there’s a project, a client or a particular task that’s continually getting forced through, that you are constantly dreading then consider quitting. I recommend quitting gracefully. End the project, but, communicate ‘why’ if there are other people involved and be comfortable with the fact that you don’t want to do it anymore is a good enough reason. End the relationship with the client, but, do so kindly and gently. Hire out for someone else to do the task that you hate and trust that freeing up your time will allow you to do more of what you love and are great at. It will eventually pay for itself!
Say ‘no’ more.
Like, a lot more. Once you recognize the kind of projects, tasks, people and times of day that feel like forcing to you, don’t take them on anymore. If it isn’t a ‘hell yes’ it’s a ‘no’ One more time, IF IT’S NOT A HELL YES, IT’S A NO!
Say ‘later’ a lot more often.
If there’s a project that you feel really excited about but, it doesn’t seem to be picking up speed or fitting into your schedule. I would ask yourself first if there’s anything you can change to make it more successful. Have you promoted it enough? Did you give yourself enough time to promote it appropriately. Is it the project or your approach to the project that’s not working? Then, give yourself the permission to do it later when it feels better to you and more suited to your audience. All of our great ideas don’t have to happen right now. I always recommend keeping an idea journal. One central location where you write down all of your great ideas and when you want to play that idea out you have a space for that. But, it doesn’t need to go live in real time.
Use your prime hours.
We’ll talk more about this in lesson 4. But, work during the times of day that feel best to you! Stop trying to force yourself into a schedule that doesn’t work for who you are.
Take Care of Yourself.
Before work, before your loved ones, you have got to take care of yourself. That means getting what you need physically, mentally and emotionally. Lead with your own well-being and everything else in your life will benefit as a result of that effort.
Slow down and speak from the heart.
When you hear those ‘should's’ coming up. Stop for a bit and ask yourself what would turn that should into a ‘can’t wait.’ What would make this feel better for you? What would make it more fun? More true to who you are?
Do a quick scan of your to-do list.
What’s on your to-do list right now that you are forcing? What changes can be made? Could you quit? Could you make a small adjustment to make it feel better? Should you do this later? Is there a task that only feels good during a certain time of day?
Keep an eye out for forcing this week.
Download my force tracker worksheet below and keep it beside you this week. take note of forcing symptoms, write down the tasks associated and necessary adjustments. This will help you to start recognizing and addressing forcing a whole lot sooner!