A couple of year ago I had a (very) full-time job, graduate classes, young kids, etc. It was a lot. And for some reason I wasn’t able to get stuff done anymore. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time; it was that I just couldn’t bring myself to do certain tasks. I think it was mainly because they weren’t clearly defined or they were too large. Someone in my grad school cohort recommended The Now Habit. It sounds hyperbolic to say that this book changed my life, but it did. Not because I got more stuff done (that’s a different book lol), but because The Now Habit helped me understand how I was thinking about myself.
The thing I love about Fiore is that he makes very clear that we (the readers) don’t have to do ANYTHING or complete ANY projects to be worthwhile people with value and worthy of love. He mentions some clients he told just that to. “You can complete your PhD or not,” he tells them. “It’s up to you – you’re valuable either way.” I think a lot of “achievers” and perfectionists don’t even realize that, sadly. I know I didn’t. One day I woke up and so much of my identity was about achievement, instead of things I loved and valued.
With that out of the way, Fiore makes a big observation – working or not working on something ony our mind both take energy. The choice to focus on something (the job or procrastination) still has to be made. So, if you want to work, he recommends thinking more about continuously starting little part rather than “finishing.”
He’s also big on this concept of the Unschedule, which is where you schedule the actual Fun Stuff and Important commitments in your life on a 24-hour weekly calendar (for me that’s family movie night, lunch, getting ready, church, working out [sometimes], etc.). Then with what’s left, you see how much time you actually have to do your work. Flipping those things on the calendar is so helpful in reminding yourself that the important things are important, and you can fit in your “work” (job or home improvement or whatever isn’t as fun to you) within that time.
I’m simplifying the book, obvs, but I’ve gotten to the heart of it – You’re a worthwhile person whether or not you “achieve.” That being said, work or not work both take effort, so if you gotta work, think about starting rather than finishing.
I recommend this book whole-heartedly to any procrastinators, grad students, and busy folks in general.