At a friend’s recommendation, I recently tried a service called Focusmate.

It’s pretty simple—you spend 50 minutes in a one-on-one video meeting with a total stranger, each of you working on some task you need to do. Interaction is limited to a brief greeting (including a quick summary of what you plan to work on) and a quick debriefing and farewell at the end.

Even though your “coworker” is a stranger, the social pressure of doing the work you agreed to do is extremely motivating. During my first session, I knocked out a task I’d been putting off for two weeks. It was actually quite pleasant.

It’s a theme I return to again and again, in my own life and in this blog: when in doubt, make the work easier.