Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Dusting off a classic procrastinator's toolkit

I just re-read a book on how to fight procrastination. It's called "The Now Habit" and it is really cool. I think I started reading it back in the late 20th century, but never got through it (figures).

I was recently re-introduced to it by a friend of mine, and read it on my flight to Atlanta this morning. There are some very interesting variations on some of the other themes I've seen in other works on personal productivity, including some of the ones I commonly mention here.

I obviously can't do it justice in a short post, but here are some tasty morsels, by way of example:

The Unschedule (time logging with a twist)

The Unschedule involves time logging as a first step, often repeated. Just like all the other time logging techniques, this one is geared to help you become more aware of how you spend your time, so you can improve your effective use of time.

With the Unschedule, you start off by scheduling play time first, then you monitor how you work on projects. You only give yourself "credit" for 30 minute (or longer) blocks of uninterrupted work, and you build in rewards at the end of those blocks.

Another twist: If you complete something at the end of one of those blocks of work, don't stop there even if your 30 minute timer as dinged. Instead, start another task and work on it for 10 minutes so you a) make progress on another task, and b) create a sort of psychic "tension" that will bring you back for the next block of work.

Three Dimensional Thinking

This is a concept on using a "reverse calendar" which is similar to the 'break it down into smaller bites' approach, all the way back to next actions you can take today. Nothing new here, but it's very well-presented.

The Work of Worrying

This part was a lot of fun. You're taken through a process to tease out all the "well, ok, but something bad might happen" scenarios. You come up with all the worst-case scenarios on the nastiest projects on your list, then use those to build a plan to mitigate as much of the risk as possible.

And, of course, there is more. This book hits all of the demons of procrastination head-on: fear of failure, fear of success, no life balance, etc.

This one's worth checking out if, like me, you need tools and techniques for dealing with procrastination.