Monday, February 9, 2009

The NOW Habit

Dr. Neil Fiore The Now Habit is a productivity book by Dr. Neil Fiore about "a strategic program for overcoming procrastination and enjoying guilt-free play."

The Now Habit It's not really so much a time and task management program, like Getting Things Done, as it is a philosophy about choosing priorities, leaving shame and blame behind, and successfully executing from a leadership perspective on life. It legitimizes guilt-free play while it improves the quality and efficiency of your work. Sounds illogical and contradictory, doesn't it?

Fiore defines procrastination like this: Procrastination is a habit you develop to cope with anxiety about starting or completing a task or a decision. It is your attempted solution to cope with tasks that are boring or overwhelming. When you use The Now Habit strategies to lower your anxiety, fears, and self-doubts, you can stop using procrastination as an escape and can double your productivity. When you learn to work efficiently—in the Flow State or Zone, using more of your brain-cell power—you have less reason to avoid important, top-priority tasks.

Reading Woman from Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey Procrastinators are not lazy people. In fact, many procrastinators are workaholics. People often tender pithy advice, such as "break it into small pieces," "set priorities," "just do it," or "work harder." You already know this. You would do these things if you could, if it were that simply. People don't procrastinate just to be ornery. According to Fiore, they procrastinate because it makes sense, given how vulnerable they feel to criticism, judgment, failure, their own perfectionism, and negative concepts of work and yourself. Thus, procrastination is not the root of the problem.

However, procrastination becomes a habit through its rewarding system:
1. an indirect way of resisting pressure from authorities since you cannot openly rebel
2. a way of lessening fear of fairlure by provinding an excuse for a disappointing, less-than-perfect performance
3. a defense against fear of succes by keeping us from doing our best

Since procrastination can be learned, it can be unlearned also. The Now Habit works on negating the effects of the Puritan Work Ethic "you production determines your worth" and Freudian Views "your lower self must besubdued and disciplined by society. Instead, the book helps you reestablish a working relationship withink yourself that lessens inner conflict and allows you to engage your whole self in your task.

The ten tools of The Now Habit are:
1. Creating psychological safety to lessen fear of failure
2. Reprogramming negative attitudes through positive self-talk
3. Using the symptom to trigger the cure
4. Scheduled guilt-free play to reduce resentment toward work
5. Three-dimensional thinking and the reverse calendar
6. Making worry work for you and coping with distractions
7. The Unschedule (love this word!)
8. Setting realistic, not guilt-producing, goals
9. Working in the flow state
10. Controlled setbacks to practice recovering from failure

As I learn more about The Now Habit, I'll put up periodic posts to cover the entire book.

Romanistas, any thoughts on what I've summarized so far?


Emily Cotler said...

Oh, wow. I am alarmed as to how accurate this sounds. However, get the pressure of overhead/payroll behind you and you won't procrastinate. Well, I say that, and half my thank you notes from my birthday are now two weeks late... So consequence definitely works to combat procrastination for essential things, but non-essentials will slide. (And then I will beat myself up for being late...)

As for us working mothers with aspirations for creative endeavor on top of the needed day job and the never-ending laundry... We're just gluttons for punishment -- we will never get everything done. Period. Even if we procrastinate about nothing...