One of the many things I found helpful in The Now Habit was The Unschedule. Fiore developed this over about 10 years on clients until he felt it was perfected and used it in his book. It’s a concept that will surprise many because you start by filling in your schedule with your non-work activities. Why? There are a few reasons: 1) to show you how busy you actually are with other things so that when you think “oh, I can do that later” the reality is is that there probably isn’t a later because you’re busy with other life activities; 2) often procrastinators isolate themselves from other people because they aren’t getting their work done. They live in a cycle of procrastination and unintended social punishment, which generally makes life miserable. Here’s the complete guide to how to make your own Unschedule (without all the background information which is actually very helpful):
- Schedule only non-work activities
- Previously committed time such as meals, sleep, meetings
- Free time, recreation, leisure reading
- Socializing, lunches, and dinners with friends
- Health activities like going to the gym
- Routine events such as commuting, classes, appointments
- Fill in your Unschedule with work on projects only after you’ve completed at least one-half hour of uninterrupted work
- Take credit only for periods of work that represent at least thirty minutes of uninterrupted work.
- Reward yourself with a fun activity after each period of work
- Track of the number of quality hours worked each day and each week.
- Schedule at least one full day for fun and small chores.
- Before doing something fun, do thirty minutes of work on your projects
- Focus on starting and the next action (rather than finishing the whole project)
- Think small
- Keep starting
- Never end “down”
Never take a break when you’re stuck or ready to give up. Always stay with a tough spot for another five or ten minutes, trying to come up with a partial solution that you can pursue later.