This week, Life Training Online is reviewing The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play, by Niel Fiore, the eighth of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.
Working in the Flow State
This chapter’s primary focus is to introduce to the reader what we today commonly call “The Zone” or “Flow State”, and how you can create this state at will.
The flow state is when we are able to be completely absorbed in a challenging task, all the while maintaining an exceptionally calm state of mind. Characteristics of this state include focused energy, time expansion, ease at solving problems and enhanced concentration. Peak performers in music, sports, medicine, and business have all experienced this. In The Now Habit Fiore describes specific techniques one can follow to bring about this state.
The key lies in being able to temporarily suspend the critical and logical functions of your brain (generally characterized as the the left hemisphere’s function) and allow the creative functions (the right hemisphere) to come to the forefront of your conscious thoughts. Then afterwards, you can allow the left side to organize and piece them together into your desired outcome.
A good example of this is with writing. For instance, you would simply begin to write down the thoughts that come to your head, not judging them or trying to organize them in any logical order. For example, you might have begun your document with what you’ll eventually end up using as the conclusion. Just let the ideas flow. This is how the creative, flow state works and can be applied to many areas of your personal and business life.
Fine Tuning Your Progress
Fiore admits that The Now Habit and it’s techniques aren’t a one size fits all approach. You will face setbacks and obstacles along the way. As you notice what works for you and what doesn’t, you can take the concepts that are contained in this book and tailor fit them to your needs.
The Procrastinator in Your Life
In his final chapter, Fiore offers some suggestions on how to work with, live with, and relate to people who tend to procrastinate. Unless you have a firm grasp of the essential causes and patterns of why people procrastinate, you may unknowingly reinforce those same behaviors in those that you manage, love, and counsel.
Remember that the three main reasons that people procrastinate are: they feel like a victim, they’re overwhelmed, or they fear failure.
For example, if you manage people with an iron fist — forcing people to comply — you are perpetuating their need to procrastinate (they feel like a victim). Instead give them an opportunity to decide for themselves — thereby making a commitment rather than a compliance — how they are going to finish their tasks by a certain deadline.
If it’s a child that you’re wanting to finish cutting the lawn and trimming the bushes before the end of the week, you again may be furthering their need to procrastinate because they are feeling overwhelmed. In this case, help them to focus on starting instead of finishing, breaking down the larger task into smaller subtasks per day.
Your purpose is to first understand what is the cause of their procrastination. Then find an effective solution using the same methods you would use to overcome procrastination yourself.
The Now Habit is the eighth of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.