Book Review: The Now Habit

Run -- do not walk -- to the nearest book shop or visit your favourite online retailer and buy this book. You will never look back.

In recent weeks (perhaps months) I've been stuck in a real procrastination rut. One could argue that I'm too hard on myself (true) but I'm also sick and tired of feeling bad that I'm not accomplishing the things I want to get done. I've made the decision that either got to find a way to do them or just forget them and enjoy my life. I refuse to be caught in a constant stress cycle of wanting to do things, but not being able, and then feeling disappointed in myself.

So thank goodness I picked up The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, PhD. Compared to the last book I read on procrastination -- The Procrastination Equation -- this book gives the reader some really specific and novel ways to tackle procrastination. I read this book last week and although I do tend to get a little excited about new self-help books, I honestly feel like a different woman. In the last few days not only have I done much more work than usual but it also has been accompanied by far less stress. Perhaps I was ready for a solution (which always helps) but still, I can't see how reading this book could be a bad thing for anyone.

According to Fiore, there are three major fears that block action and create procrastination: the terror of being overwhelmed, the fear of failure and the fear of not finishing.

As he so aptly puts it, this is what a typical procrastinator thinks:

"I have to finish something important and do it perfectly while enduring long periods of isolation from the people and things I love."

Procrastination is a coping mechanism. Putting off something you are dreading is a reprieve from these feelings -- albeit a temporary one. It just creates more dread, terror and fear as the deadline fast approaches.

Fiore explains that people who procrastinate need to change their thinking about work. Those who are likely to procrastinate have often been told from an early age that life and work are hard and things won't be easy.

For example:

"You have a lot more work to do before you can rest on your laurels; you'd better get used to things getting tough because adulthood is even worse than childhood; and while you're out having fun, some catastrophe is lurking around the corner, waiting to surprise you."

Sound familiar? Even if we haven't been told this specifically by our parents, there are other ways to pick up these types of messages: school, work, religion, our bosses, the media and the IRS (or your government equivalent). The reason these types of messages are so stressful is that they invoke feelings of "I have to" or "I should" and mean that your brain has to not only muster the energy needed to do the dreaded task but also provide the energy needed to resist threats to the integrity of the self.

Fiore's book spells out new ways to speak to yourself and ways to change your thinking. It's a clear and easy method to follow and even if you don't believe what you're saying at first, over time the brain should experience some rewiring.

But Fiore also offers a novel way to get started on projects. He explains how to break things down into manageable chunks (which we are probably all familiar with), but also gives a concrete method for getting started while at the same time alleviating the pressure to do things 'right' from the get go. He calls it the 'unschedule' and it's brilliant. I won't give it all away -- also it sounds a little silly unless you read it all the way through and actually try it out (but it's an exercise that's really worth doing).

I can't recommend this book enough. Not only has it given me hope for completing my projects, it has also taken me a step closer to being kind to myself without sacrificing meaningful work, creativity or leisure time. Go buy this book. You can thank me later.

 Related Posts:

No comments

Back to Top