The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
by Neil Fiore
Tarcher (revised edition), 224 pages, $10.17

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Of the countless books out there with strategies to combat procrastination, one stands above the rest. The Now Habit takes a fresh approach to the old problem and a quick glance at the book's reviews will prove that Fiore's methods connect with readers. Managers increasingly squeezed to manage their time for optimum productivity who have found themselves caught in procrastination's vice grip will welcome the author's laser sharp insights into the roots of the problem and how to overcome it.

"Your strategic program begins with identifying your procrastination patterns so you can apply the appropriate techniques for replacing them with the effective work patterns of producers," begins Fiore. After identifying warning signs, The Now Habit tackles the question "Why do we procrastinate?" According to the author, it's a defense mechanism when we fear a threat to our worth and independence. The deep inner fears that cause people to seek relief include fear of failure, of being imperfect, and of impossible expectations. All of this psychological exploration relates directly to the strategies The Now Habit suggests and makes readers feel as if Fiore has a clear window into precisely how their minds work.

The Now Habit veers off the well trodden path of most procrastination books that extol the virtues of discipline and "stick-to-it-iveness." Fiore argues that it's exactly the attitude of self-punishment that makes people procrastinate. He introduces the radical idea of un-scheduling then gives examples of how people have made it work. ÊOne of the fears discussed is the fear that you must deprive yourself of leisure time in order to satisfy an unseen judge. Strategies show you how to build guilt-free play into your schedule so that you are paradoxically more productive rather than less.

Chapter 7, "Working in the Flow State," examines the theories of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow is "the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter," and the core of the philosophy is that our best moments usually occur when our minds or bodies are stretched to their limit to accomplish something difficult. Like Csikszentmihalyi, Fiore concludes that unless a person takes charge of work and free time, both are likely to be disappointing.

The author is quick to point out that we all procrastinate to a certain degree and that his methods are more for chronic procrastinators. Unlike most books on the subject, The Now Habit applies a positive attitude about the human spirit to the problem of procrastination. For any supervisor who has ever beat themselves up over procrastinating, this book will work wonders and keep your productivity purring.

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