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 time—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.

Gaming the real world – John Robb on Jane McGonigal’s TED talk

However, at this point the presentation breaks down. McGonigal then proceeds to think of ways gamers can be used to do things (which plays well with the users at TED). While I give her props for thinking about ways to generate ideas on how to fix global problems, she entirely misses the big idea.

Here’s the big idea. For active online gamers real life is broken. It doesn’t make any sense. Effort isn’t connected to reward. The path forward is confused, convoluted, and contradictory. Worse, there’s a growing sense that the entire game is being corrupted to ensure failure. So, why play it?

They don’t. They retreat to online games. Why? Online games provide an environment that connects what you do (work, problem solving, effort, motivation level, merit) in the game to rewards (status, capabilities, etc.). These games also make it simple to get better (learn, skill up, etc.) through an intuitive just-in-time training system. The problem is that this is virtual fantasy.

So the really big idea isn’t figuring out how to USE online gamers for real world purposes (as in the dirty word: crowdsourcing — the act of other people to do work for you for FREE — blech!). Instead, it’s about finding a way to use online games to make real life better for the gamers. In short, turn games into economic darknets that work in parallel and better than the broken status quo systems. As in: economic games that connect effort with reward. Economic games with transparent rules that tangibly improve the lives of all of the players in the REAL WORLD.

Global Guerrillas: Online Games, Super Empowerment, and a Better World

See also:

How to make an addictive video game

Jane McGonigal interview at WorldChanging

Excitement as Biological Neccessity

William S. Burroughs said:

Danger is a biological necessity for humans, just like sleep and dreams. If you face death, for that time you are immortal. For the Western middle classes, danger is a rarity and erupts only with a sudden, random shock. And yet we are in danger at all times, since our death exists. Is there a technique for confronting death without immediate physical danger? (quoted from Hashisheen: The End of Law)

But this is at least partially incorrect. Western middle classes, at least those of us in the United States, typically face physical danger multiple times per day. Driving is amongst the most dangerous activities in modern society – 114 people die in car crashes per day. Cars accidents deaths per year are more than double the number of murders per year. The average American spends 101 minutes driving each day. We confront death every day, and we barely even notice.

The dangers involved in driving are commonplace, boring. New dangers though – new dangers are exciting. Perhaps Michael Skinner was more correct when he said:

Geezerz need excitement
If their lives don’t provide them this they incite violence
Common sense simple common sense

Wired article on disappearing

Most of us snuff out the question instantly or toy with it occasionally as a harmless mental escape hatch. But every year, thousands of adults decide to act on it, walking out the door with no plan to return and no desire to be found. The precise number is elusive. Nearly 200,000 Americans over age 18 were recorded missing by law enforcement in 2007, but they represent only a fraction of the intentional missing: Many aren’t reported unless they are believed to be in danger. And according to a 2003 British study, two-thirds of missing adults make a conscious decision to leave.

People who go missing do so with an endless variety of motives, from the considered to the impulsive. There are of course those running from their own transgressions: Ponzi schemers, bail jumpers, deadbeat parents, or insurance scammers dreaming of life in a tropical paradise. But most people who abandon their lives do so for noncriminal reasons — relationship breakups, family pressures, financial obligations, or a simple desire for reinvention. The federal government’s Witness Security Program provides new identities for endangered witnesses, but thousands of people who testify in lower-profile cases are on their own to face potential retribution or flee to a safer identity. So too are those trying to escape the unwanted attention of stalkers, obsessive ex-spouses, or psychotically disgruntled clients.

Wired: Gone Forever: What Does It Take to Really Disappear?

(via Theoretick)

5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won’t)


Cracked: 5 Things You Think Will Make You Happy (But Won’t)

(via Justin)

Why do abused women stay with their abusers?

Obviously, this will be too general: people stay for lots of reasons. I knew someone once who had a bad heroin habit, and while getting involved with a guy who beat her up if she tried to leave the house would not be my preferred method of detoxing, it worked for her. (She was still clean the last time I heard.) But generalizations might be better than nothing. I will also refer to abusers as ‘he’, and to their victims as ‘she’; this is accurate in the overwhelming majority of cases.

In some cases, understanding why someone stays is easy. A lot of women are afraid that their abuser would try to harm them if they leave. And with good reason: about a third of female homicide victims were killed by a spouse, lover, or ex-lover; and that’s not counting the women who are “merely” beaten, stalked, and so forth. Staying in a case like this, at least until you had figured out how to leave safely and cover your tracks, is not mysterious or perplexing.

Moreover, while I think the assumption that battered women stay because they are just dumb, or have staggeringly bad judgment, is wrong and insulting, there are a whole lot of battered women, and it would be very surprising if none of them stayed for such reasons. We asked women who came to our shelter when the abuse had started; one woman told me that her husband had thrown her from a moving car on their first date, at which point I wondered silently why on earth there had been a second date, let alone a subsequent marriage. But in my experience such women were a vanishingly small minority.

Obsidian Wings: Why Do They Stay?

(via Appropedia)

Arthur Magazine interviews David Mack

I’m missing David Mack at Floating World tonight for Bogville. Sometimes Portland is so awesome it sucks.

WHO: David Mack
WHAT: Art exhibit, slide show discussion, Q&A with the artist
WHEN: Thursday, April 2nd, 6-10pm
WHERE: Floating World Comics, 20 NW 5th Ave #101

JASON LEIVIAN: Kabuki: The Alchemy talks about a new beginning. Everything that came before (Volumes 1-6) was childhood. Maybe one way of putting it, when I was younger there was a developmental stage where I immersed myself in books and ideas that I was interested in. But then at some point there was a breakthrough and things got crazy. It’s like it all became real and my life became some science fiction novel. When I was younger read things in books, but now my life is these things. What was metaphor, now seems like platonic truth, even realer than this reality, which seems like maya by comparison. Let’s talk about the spiritual journey of David Mack as it’s expressed through your art. In Kabuki you see the work as a self fulfilling prophecy. Can you discuss that a bit?

DAVID MACK: I think I understand what you are describing. What you focus on has a tendency to change you, affect you. When you are passionate about something and active in working on it, it can seem like you hit a point when your real life seems to operate on dream-logic: You think it and then it materializes.

Creating on a regular basis is a great practice for that. It clues you in, trains you, to realize how malleable the material world is – that you can have an immediate effect on it based on your thoughts and actions. When you write or draw everyday, you start with a blank, and then you make something- an idea suddenly exists in the three dimensional material world. Just by writing it down, drawing it, you take this thing that only existed in your head, and then suddenly it exists in three dimensional physical reality. Practicing that everyday, starts to reveal to you that things work that way. You experience that transition everyday and it becomes larger than the page or the work you are doing. It has a ripple effect in people that experience your work and their response to it.

Suddenly you realize you have not just created one story, or one work, or a body of work, but you’ve created your own career, and your own life, as your self portrait, and your contexts for your life, and your work has become your passport to a variety of worlds. And there is a point when the dream you were dreaming, and then dared to enact in reality, has become completely real and you live it everyday. And other people can even share it with you.

That is a great lesson to learn. Because once you learn it, you can go about living it very consciously. As consciously as you would craft your work on the page, you realize you are crafting it off the page as well.

Full Story: Arthur

Recession Hacking Wiki

I’ve started a new wiki project: Recession Hacking.

From the intro:

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for” Barack Obama said during his campaign. And yet, now that he’s elected most of us are waiting for a stimulus plan to save us.

The only problem: the stimulus plan sucks. There is no deus ex machina to save us from this deepening recession. It’s time to take what we have and start to rebuild the economy ourselves.

This wiki is dedicated to compiling tools, tactics, and strategies to both survive and thrive in these troubled times.

My hope to is help build a resource of information not just to save money, but information on creating economic prosperity for individuals and communities.

Also check out Recession Hacking blog and Unsummit – the folks I flat out stole the “recession hacking” meme from.

Related External Links

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