Summary of The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Lifehacker has a summary of The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by psychologist Neil Fiore. Here are a couple highlights:

Fiore encourages procastinators to get away from preemptively scheduling work and focus on unscheduling. Unscheduling is massive shift in thinking from how most of us use calendars and schedules. Rather than start by filling the calendar with the work you want to do, you start by scheduling fixed commitments and play. You reverse your calendar and begin with the premise that you need (and deserve) at least one hour of play and relaxation a day and at least one day of work off a week. You schedule those first, as well as previously committed timeā€”like when you sleep, eat, exercise, commute to work, and other blocks of time you must expend each day. […]

Fiore also urges readers to focus on small blocks of time with a focus on realistic output. In addition to limiting the total amount of time you spend working (and recognizing the limitations of how much work you can do in the process), focus on limiting the size of your individual blocks of work. If you sit down in front of a task with an open-ended schedule like “I need to finish this entire project by the end of the day”, you’re setting yourself up for a bout of procrastination. In the mind of a procrastinator, the end of the business day is practically in the next century. Instead say “I have 30 minutes to work before I must take a small break to relax. What can I realistically accomplish in 30 minutes?”.

Lifehacker: The Now Habit: Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

One problem I have is the unclear boundary between work and play in some circumstances. For example is Technoccult work or is it play? What about Psychetect? They’re work in that it requires focused attention and have tasks and goals and, sometimes, deadlines – but they’re things I do because I want to.


  1. I’d say that if you have to do it, it’s work. Just because fun/play has more rigid goals, tasks, and structure doesn’t mean it’s not play. I enjoy lots of activities (potlucks, movie nights, gaming, coordinating groups) that require a list of tasks that need to get done in order to happen. They only show up on my calendar, though, when I’ve made a commitment to people for it to happen.

    Conversely, if work (something you have to do, right?) is something you want to do, I would just look at that as an awesome bonus.

    Bah, I should just read it. Is it worth reading?

  2. The summary is worth reading, I haven’t read the book yet.

    As far the delineation between “have to” or “don’t have to” is blurry for me as well. Apart from the obvious “I don’t have to do anything but die and pay taxes”:

    In the case of Technoccult, no I don’t have to run it. But if I do have to maintain it if I want people to keep visiting. So even if I don’t always feel like updating, I still need to – at least if I want to keep it where I want it.

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