Zack Ward's Reviews > The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

The Now Habit by Neil A. Fiore
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it was amazing
Recommended to Zack by: Reddit

I wish that I could recommend this book to my Freshman self, because the program is already working for me (Medical School Application).

Fiore puts forth the thesis that procrastination is a defense mechanism that people use to escape the anxiety they feel for large looming projects. They are afraid of producing inadequate work and they are afraid of being judged harshly for failing. It isn't laziness that drives the procrastinator to procrastinate, rather, it is the negative self-talk: the should've's and have-to's, the feeling of being trapped, an inability to accurately keep track of time spent, and a temporary reprieve from all of the suffering that the procrastinator must deal with.

So how does one beat procrastination, this learned behavior that we engage in to get away from self-imposed criticism and anguish? Fiore suggests starting with changing the way you talk to yourself. Always choose to do things because you choose to do them, not because you have to. You'll feel less trapped that way. Next, schedule all the things you do in a day EXCEPT the work you intend on completing (he calls this the Unschedule). This will give you a realistic glimpse of your day so that you don't schedule things that you are likely to fail to do. After that, compose an exhaustive list of all the tasks that you need to complete in order to complete the project, organize them by chronology, and write them backwards, starting with your finished product and working your way back to your current situation. This "reverse calendar" should provide a realistic roadmap to your ultimate goal. By breaking the project into small chunks, you are increasing the probability that you are going to get started on each task, especially if you build a "winning streak"

Fiore goes on to explain that we become most productive when we stick to a schedule of mandatory fun. By scheduling tennis, horseback riding, camping, frisbee, biking and other fun things, you structure your days around fun. You fit your work time around these fun things, trying to hit a certain number of work hours everyday. The goal is to START as often as possible, not finish. When you think of finishing things, you think of overwhelming and indefinite goals in the future, which can be self-defeating. It is better to think of work as a series of tasks with immediate and tangible goals, which is obviously more motivating.

Fiore also provides focusing exercises that I found helpful. They take about two minutes to do and leave you feeling invigorated right before you start to work.

I recommend this to anyone who is having trouble with procrastination. Totally worthwhile read.
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Reading Progress

July 28, 2012 – Started Reading
August 5, 2012 – Shelved
August 5, 2012 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Leanne (new)

Leanne Chu Zack, this review is helpful!! The overview you give of the contents of the book: the mentality behind procrastination, and the ways to deal with it, just tells me this book is the book to read. Thank you!! I think I can use those tips even before I get myself a copy of the book!!


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