How to use social pressure to achieve more?

Social pressure is a phenomenon that has been associated very negatively in recent years. We often hear ‘couldn’t stand the pressure’ or ‘the pressure was too strong’. We advise young children not to succumb to negative peer pressure, and adults to avoid it. I have the impression that in the eyes of many people, avoiding pressure has become a way to achieve happiness and peace.

Meanwhile, social pressure is a tool, and it is up to us how we use it. It can be good for our mental health. We need to distinguish between negative, excessive toxic pressure and positive pressure that encourages us to pursue achievable goals.

Many freelancers, students, or people with ADHD are unable to take action without feeling pressure. Social pressure is an important part of our everyday life but we need to use it wisely.

Researchers have recognized a relationship between social pressure in the workplace and the productivity of co-workers

According to the study, a 10% increase in the current productivity of your co-worker can lead to a 1.7% increase in your productivity. That’s why it is so important to work with people we respect and who care about their performance.

Step by step

  • First of all, start by setting a realistic, achievable, and measurable long-term goal. If you set yourself the wrong one, no productivity technique will help you. That, however, is a topic for another article.

  • Decide how much peer pressure you need. Some people prefer to work with one accountability buddy, while others prefer to have a whole group of people to support. It’s up to you what to choose.

  • Find people or a group of people with similar goals, desires, and problems. They can be your co-workers, friends from university, or another freelancer. These must be people you can trust and who will be willing to support each other. An accountability partner should be honest, supportive, and collaborative. Avoid people who are toxic and not helpful.

  • Divide your long-term goal into smaller tasks. Social pressure is useful when you work on achievable small tasks. That’s why it is so important to work on smaller tasks one by one.

  • Invite accountability buddies to join co-working session. It’s called body-doubling technique, often used by people with ADHD. When you’re working with someone, your motivation and productivity increases.

  • Set a goal for a given coworking session. Choose one important task to work on during a block of time. Try to set a goal that is achievable during this session.

  • Share your session goal with coworkers/peers. This will keep you accountable. A simple sharing task list puts a positive social pressure on you to complete tasks. You don’t want to lose face in front of your AB, right?

  • Start working together. You don’t have to work on the same thing. Just being on the same video meeting which will be your working environment.

  • At the end of a given session, share your results. This is a very important part of the process. You will be anxious to complete the task, because you need to tell your buddy about it later.

  • Celebrate completing tasks with coworkers/peers. Completing tasks and celebrating it together release dopamine, a chemical in your brain that gives you temporary pleasure. It can be ‘addictive’ so you will be interested in achieving more.

  • Make an appointment for another session. The regularity of these meetings is important. You are likely to see positive results after the first session.

Why DOES peer pressure works?

As human beings, we strive to be part of a community and hold a high position there. Being accepted and respected in that community is one of the basic human desires according to Maslow’s pyramid of needs. 

Being perceived by others in a positive way is therefore important in terms of our biology. Breaking promises to members of our community is therefore in clear contradiction to our biological needs. 

Setting achievable goals and sharing them with people we care about is a great way to increase chances of success. If we can use this mechanism to accomplish our tasks, we are already halfway there. 

Committing to loved ones is so effective because we are more likely to break a promise to ourselves than to someone close to us.

Why struggle?

Learn how to use your brain chemistry to your advantage. It can be the best productivity system. Ask your friends, teammates or other people with similar interests to join accountability group. There are many ‘Study together’ groups that could help you too.

Start small from working together in sprints, inform others about your goals and motivate others to complete their tasks. If you learn, that you get dopamine booster when achieving your goals, then your brain will do the rest.

Attending virtual coworking sessions may be one of the best productivity methods for you.


We are working on a peer-pressure virtual coworking tool to help people achieve goals. Join our waiting-list to unlock your potential.


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