“The now habit” by Neil Fiore is one of the most popular book that gives you insight on procrastination and productivity.
The book is written in such a manner that every person can relate to it and understand what causes procrastination and what effective measures can be taken to overcome it.
The Now Habit Book Summary
Definition of procrastination: Procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.
1. Why we procrastinate?
1. Procrastination doesn’t happen because of laziness, it happens because of the fear.
2. It happens because we try to defend our self worth and seek temporary relief in order to overcome the fear.
3. There are different types of fear that causes procrastination:
a. Fear of failure
b. Fear of being imperfect
c. Fear of being overwhelmed
d. Fear of success
e. Fear of increased demands
4. Procrastination gives us that temporary space of relief and refuge. Often we use it as a daily tool because once a task is urgent it finishes either by taking up by someone else or some other factors.
5. To over come the fears, we need to understand that we are Human and can make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and you should not criticise yourself for not finishing the task.
Cycle of procrastination:
The more you procrastinate –> the more anxious you are –> the more you criticise yourself –> the more you lose confidence.
With lost confidence –> you procrastinate even more, because you are afraid that others will judge you.
2. How we procrastinate?
1. Best way to learn the pattern of how you procrastinate is to observe yourself for three to five days.
2. Don’t judge yourself. Just when there is a trigger of something you are going to put off, write what, how and why.
3. Write down your feelings and thoughts. After three days, review your notes.
4. This will give you insight on your procrastination habits.
5. Identify the attitude and self talk that keeps you from accomplishing your tasks.
6. Don’t judge yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes and ensure nothing is threatening you.
3. How to talk to yourself
1. Master the positive self talk because it determines the whole context or your life and your attitude to everything.
2. Replace the negative messages with positive ones. Give yourself the power of choice. Learn to say no
3. Replace “I Have to” with “I choose to”.
4. Replace “I must finish” with “When can I start?
5. Replace “This is so big” with “I can take one small step”.
6. Replace “I must be perfect” with “I can be human”.
7. Replace “I don’t have time to play” with “I must take time to play”.
8. Statement of a producer with a powerful focus is: I choose to start on one small imperfect step knowing I have plenty of time for play.
4. Guilt-Free Play, Quality Work
1. Schedule your leisure time first. Plan for your free time and how you are going to spend the time with your friends.
2. Once your leisure time is scheduled, start scheduling your work time.
3. It is an excellent reverse psychology trick. Since you are sure that at this time you are going to free or play or chat with friends, therefore your minds triggers a signal to complete your work now so that you can enjoy later on.
4. You get creative, and give high quality output. Moreover the distractions are less because now all your focus is on the work and after that work you are anyways getting a free time.
5. Overcoming Blocks To Action
The Now Habit offers three tools for overcoming blocks to action. The tools are:
1. Three Dimensional Thinking And Reverse Calendar:
1. Large tasks can overwhelm you without the proper perspective.
2. Consider the length, breadth, width of your task, and then divide it. Divide and Conquer.
3. Reverse calendar helps you to schedule your work realistically.
4. Start with an ultimate deadline and then work your way with smaller deadlines up-to the present moment.
2. The Work Of Worrying:
1. You should respect your ability to worry as a means of alerting you of the potential danger.
2. Whenever you worry, figure out a plan for alleviating your worries and establish a plan to cope up the potential danger.
3. Constant worry drains your energy and preparing the plan with give you some peace at mind.
3. Persistent Starting:
1. Just “Keep on starting”. Don’t think about finishing. Think about starting.
2. However small, just start may be for 2 minutes, just start and finishing will be taken care by itself.
3. Always focus on what you can do next. Once little step.
6. The Un-schedule
1. On your weekly calendar, schedule leisure and non work related activities.
2. The un-schedule uses reverse psychology to spring you into action.
3. Aim for small work schedule to start with – like 30 minutes of work and track your every un-interrupted 30 minutes block of work. Log how many hours you have worked everyday and week.
7. Working in the Flow State
1. You are most productive when you can fully focus. Distractions, intensive emotions and concerns undermine your focus and productivity.
2. Remove all your distractions, emotions and concerns before you start your work session.
3. Write your worries down, do meditation, breathe, relax, and free your mind.
8. Fine Tuning Your Progress
1. One of the best techniques in the book is called as “Planned Setbacks”.
2. Observe and Optimise your progress daily.
3. Consciously choose projects/tasks that you are most likely to delay and observe your thoughts and feelings.
4. Commit yourself only to the goals that you fully embrace. Don’t set the goals that you don’t care about. Develop Resilience.
Combining all together
1. Think about the reason you don’t want to do the work.
2. Break the work down into sub steps.
3. Discover the small sub steps you willing to do.
4. Start the timer and start working on your work for two minutes.
5. Get into flow and continue to work on it without thinking of the finish.