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Procrastination, the "Unschedule," and re-learning how to walk

How to Unschedule your work and enjoy guilt-free play

Chanpory, over at LifeClever, has a useful piece on what Neil Fiore calls "The Unschedule:"

According to Neil Fiore and 30 years of research, procrastination isn’t the result of laziness. Rather, procrastination is a symptom, a way of coping with deep psychological self-criticism and fear. It’s because we’re taught to believe that working is good and playing is bad. To reverse this unhealthy model, Neil proposes a tool: the Unschedule.

The Unschedule looks like a normal schedule, but with a twist. Instead of scheduling work you have to do, you fill in everything you want to do.

Like a couple of the exercises in Fiore's book (Oy, vey, who actually keeps a "procrastination diary?"), I think the Unschedule is best seen as a fascinating way to think about thinking.

The Now Habit
by Neil Fiore

For me, though, stuff like a procrastination dash is where it's at for actually getting things accomplished. Although I'm the last person in the world to begrudge anyone a brain trick that works for them, I think I've become pickier about any kind of metawork where the ramp-up and prep time overshadows the time devoted to pure action.

That said, I can't think of a better book to pick up whenever you feel like you just can't work -- that you're so mired in your own sick failure that it seems pointless to even try. If you've gotten to that point, you may find, as I often do, that reading a few pages of The Now Habit is just the tonic. And, if that's not enough? Heck. I guess I can see making an Unschedule. But, for one day, and just to get back on track.

Crutches are awesome, but only as long as you use them to walk -- not just to afford the process of thinking about walking.

Merlin's picture

Sure, but what about real life?

Sorry for the error and thanks much for the correction, my friend. Fixed!

gives you a visualization of an entire day that includes leisure as well as work

Yeah, I get that about the Unschedule, and I can see how it can help realign a negative attitude. That I like.

Part of my reluctance is that this particular kind of planning requires what I would regard as a kind of "infirmary" or "rehab" mode, where you artificially disrupt the way life works for most of us. Which is swell if you have the time, power, and resources to pull it off without alienating people.

But for folks in the trenches, whose non-stop barrage of interruptions and half-started projects are the source of much procrastination, I'm not persuaded that more scheduling is any kind of a solution.

If you take that approach (and expend that amount of meta-time), it'll really suck when the plans for scheduled fun are blown apart by the reality of an interruption-driven day. Personally, that would leave me feeling further in the hole than before I started.

One data point (from an admittedly-GTD-soaked mind).




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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