The Now Habit is the one self help, motivation book that I've re-read over the years. It's just revolutionary in the way it looks at procrastination and gives you specific tools to help with it. Here's an honest review of The Now Habit by Neil Fiore from a "serial procrastinator" and "lazy workaholic".
A Review Of Neil Fiore's The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
I'm ashamed to say that I had forgotten about this book and was getting into my procrastinating ways and feeling on the edge of burn out. Firstly, why should you listen to me? I'm just a very normal person. I have a demanding job with very long hours. I make no secret of the fact that I am writing for Infobarrel and have joined other revenue-sharing online sites to escape the cubicle confines and live the Laptop Lifestyle
Why is it so hard to get things done?
Well, I was finding it so easy to do in my mind but so hard to do in practice. I have been sort of self-disciplined about it but completely unproductive. What do I mean by that? That means, I have been disciplined enough to cancel night outs with friends, not to buy any more DVD box sets and tell my sister I won't be coming over for lunch this Sunday since I intend to sit down and earn money writing articles. But then I found when I was actually sitting down in front of the computer, I would procrastinate - I would read the Infobarrel forum, check my emails, tidy up my computer folders - anything but write. So afterwards I would be feeling double horrible - horrible that I didn't get anything done, that I wasted my time and I didn't even get to enjoy a nice lunch with sis. I felt guilty - especially reading the Infobarrel forums and seeing the success of Travis, Chezfat, WriterGuy, Sookie, x3xsolxdierx3x, Ernie and all the other incredible writing machines.
So how does The Now Habit stop procrastination? What makes it so revolutionary?
Psychologist, Neil Fiore gained huge recognition for being the first book that re-defined procrastination and instead of explaining how to get motivated and disciplined and stop being lazy, it looked a procrastination as this:
"procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision"
So Dr Fiore is saying in essence is that it's not lazy people who procrastinate - in fact it's the people who want to get things done and have unrealised goals and dreams who procrastinate the most. But they have anxieties attached to trying to complete a job (for me - it's stuff like - what if my writing skills suck, what if I've picked the wrong topic, what if you can't really make decent money online, what if I can't be as productive as the super-writing-machines on the Infobarrel top 100 writers list)
So, to beat procrastination, you don't need
- to work harder
- to have more willpower
- to get some amazing productivity tool or method
- to create a to-do list and review it every day
- to force yourself to do something you hate
- to feel guilty all the time that you're not getting things done
Instead you need to understand exactly what you do in your spare time, be realistic about your time and what you can achieve and free yourself from worry by looking at the worse case scenario. I like the way he suggests that you talk through your worries as if you were helping out a friend to do the same exercise. That way, you can see how far-fetched and ridiculous some of your worries are.
How to stop procrastinating and start getting things done
Surprisingly, The Now Habit encourages you to stop scheduling activities and tasks. He says if you pack your schedule with tasks and duties, you end up paralysing yourself with overwhelm and feel worse at the end of the day when they have not been completed. He says that procrastinators tend to overstuff their schedule and are unrealistic about how much can be achieved in 24 hours. Rather - you need to clear parts of your schedule and make sure you have time for play - at least one hour a day - and time for relaxation, exercise, eating etc
He also tells you to work in small blocks of time (say 30 minutes) and try to accomplish something - being realistic about what can be done.
He also takes away your fears about not accomplishing what you feel you need to do, and removing guilt and overwelming thoughts.
The Now Habit has a very different take on procrastination and productivity compared to other books on the same topic. I wish they taught The Now Habit in schools as I think these are the sort of key life skills that you can take with you and use for a higher achieving life. Now you can convert reading or internet surfing time for productive writing time - or to take action and achieve anything else you want in life.
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