The Now Habit, Neil Fiore - Book Summary

The Now Habits studies a very common problem today: the habit of procrastination. Why do people wait until the last minute to embark on an important task? How can they give up this bad habit? Existing Habits get to the root of problems and how to deal with them.

This book is for

  • People with the habit of stagnation
  • Who wants to help those who procrastinate often
  • Those who are interested in how to manage and develop themselves

A few lines about the author

Neil Fiore is an American psychologist, and he is also the author of many best-selling books, focusing mainly on productivity and hypnosis. As an instructor, he has helped thousands of clients and advised many well-known companies.

Chapter 1. What will you gain if you give up the "learned" habit of procrastination?

Procrastination is when you scroll through Facebook all day instead of writing a long overdue report, clean your room three times a week instead of editing a thesis, or call a friend just to say “please.” hello” instead of completing your tax return. An outsider will find your procrastination ludicrous, but for those with the habit, it's not a matter of laughter.

They feel their lives are completely out of control. Every time they were about to sit down and promise to get a job done, they kept scrolling through Facebook and waiting for another time to do it. When they can't accomplish their goals, they often feel guilt and shame. And because they never complete tasks on time, they are always under constant pressure and never really relax.

Neil Fiore believes that the habit of procrastination is not innate at all, or in other words, no one is lazy since birth. Children will prove this point convincingly – they are never lazy.

In fact, we have “learned” and adopted this terrible habit at school, at home, and at work. Luckily, because procrastination is something we "learn," it can also be completely eliminated through a change of mindset and a few simple tools.

This summary will only show you:

  • The best way to understand the habit of stagnation;
  • When two horses pull together, the pulling force will be stronger than the total force of the two separate horses;
  • Why setting a goal that's too far-fetched can ruin your motivation;
  • How to change the way of thinking that creates the habit of stagnation
  • Let's start by getting to the root of this bad habit.

Chapter 2. Procrastination is a way to escape the fear of failure.

Most people are used to procrastination. While this is a very common problem, it is also associated with certain circumstances.

We often procrastinate at work. That's when we have to do some tasks like write a report, hold a conference or prepare a speech. These tasks are all very important and should not be part of your daily routine. You won't hesitate to take a shower or respond to a colleague's lunch invitation, but you will always put off preparing an important speech. In fact, the things people procrastinate often have three characteristics: this:

First, when you want to do a good job so that you can meet the expectations of yourself and others.

Second, you find the job boring. For example, starting to write the first page or finishing a PowerPoint is very boring and completely unmotivated to do.

In the end, what makes a "good job" is vague: you don't know how to give a good presentation, write an impressive report, or meet the expectations of others. What is good"? How "good" is enough? And what if you put all your energy into a project and failed?

When faced with such tasks, we are forced to choose between two things:

If you start working, which means you've spent your time on useless things, you will most likely fail and feel frustrated with yourself and others.

If you refuse to do it, you will avoid boredom, and of course, fear of failure.

So what will you choose? Most people will opt for the latter and put off that uncomfortable task. And in a way, that means: you "learn" that procrastination, at least temporarily, can help you avoid boredom and fear of failure.

Chapter 3. We are taught how to “hate” work and fear failure.

Parents and teachers both believe they understand why kids are always stagnant: it's definitely their laziness! And kids need discipline, rewards or punishments to stop being lazy. Is it right to apply stricter punishment to children who do not work hard?

No, the way adults understand procrastination is completely wrong. In fact, there are many examples that can prove that no one is lazy or lacks effort from birth.

Let's consider the things people really want to do, like playing soccer, reading a book, or going out for coffee with friends. Do they need motivation to do those things? In fact, everyone has a few things they can do right away without discipline or reward.

It is quite interesting that, before being "educated", children never hesitate. When they do, they never judge their actions or wonder what people around them think of them.

“According to extreme perfectionism, a person's work results should reflect his or her worth.”

Why do we learn the habit of stagnation in adulthood? What is different from trying to get the job done?

First of all, as children, we learn in school that “working” is boring, it is the exact opposite of having fun. We often hear our parents remind us: "I'm sorry, but this afternoon you have to do your homework, not go out to play!" And if you do not obey, you will immediately be threatened not to watch TV at night.

Second, we are wrongly imbued with perfectionism. We are very aware that we must do our best work, or else people will think that we are not working hard enough. This will lead to unrealistic ambitions: if someone thinks things are either for the best or not at all, no one will be able to live up to their expectations!

So it's completely understandable that people find jobs boring: on the one hand, we think they're boring and tasteless; on the other hand, we learn that anything that isn't the best is unacceptable, so we're more likely to fail.

“Fear of failure, extreme perfectionism, and fear of illusory goals hold people back from reaching their goals.”

Chapter 4. Our self-esteem is closely related to our performance, and procrastination helps protect it.

Everyone wants to be appreciated by the people around them. If we don't work, we usually don't have to deal with being made fun of or looked down on.

In fact, people have many ways to combat threats to their self-esteem. In the West, people think that there is a strong correlation between self-esteem and job performance.

We are taught from a very young age that only through hard work or career success can we become valuable ourselves. People appreciate doctors, directors or professors. They look down on those who are poor or unemployed and believe that it is because they have not worked hard enough and that they are undervalued.

Since they learned that work is the main root of self-esteem, it is completely understandable that people will gradually instill extreme perfectionism.

For those who feel self-worth, they must work hard to meet their own high expectations. Of course, not everyone can succeed in their field, so everyone will use their own tactics to protect their self-esteem from failure.

When faced with a seemingly daunting task, like being the representative for the graduation speech or the wealthiest member of the extended family, tactics like procrastination allow us to escape. avoid your situation.

We often say to ourselves, "It's not that we fail because we're not talented, it's because we haven't really tried." That way, procrastination helps us avoid the feeling of pressure, anxiety caused by false expectations or ambiguity about our own success.

Chapter 5. The Mantra Against Procrastination: “You can only learn from your failures.”

One of the main causes of the habit of procrastination is perfectionism: In everything we do, we always tell ourselves that we must achieve the best results. Must avoid all mistakes, failure is unacceptable and it will seriously affect our self-worth.

Under extreme pressure, we often lock ourselves in and do nothing instead of facing the challenge. We procrastinate by surfing the Internet, sorting through our stamp collection, or doing a few errands we consider "urgent".

However, instead of doing so, talented people will put their best effort to complete any task without worrying about mistakes or failures. If they stumble, they will quickly pick themselves up and keep trying. As long as it's not for tasks like defusing an atomic bomb or swimming across the Atlantic coast, this method is always useful.

On the contrary, if you don't try, you will never be able to make progress. Only those who persist in doing it over and over can improve their skills!

So how do people with the habit of procrastination act? When faced with fear, they keep quiet and avoid work. They believe that the best way is to succeed the first time, and all other results are failure and will seriously damage self-worth. But they forgot that all great works, from Picasso's paintings to Thomas Edison's invention, began with a series of failures and foolish attempts.

We should understand simply: Failure is an essential part of learning, so those who do not fail will never be able to learn anything!

Chapter 6. To be a producer, instead of telling yourself “What should I” or “What should I” do, ask, “When can I start working?”

Inwardly, the typical stagnant person always has internal arguments. They often tell themselves “I have to” or “I should,” phrases that mean “I don’t want to do it.” This inner conflict is like two horses running in opposite directions: one running towards “should” or “must do”; the other one runs in the other direction because you “don't want to get to work”. Of course, this method not only doesn't make you act faster, but it also causes nervous tension and negative attitudes towards work.

However, we can completely eliminate these inner conflicts by becoming a "producer" - people who really want, not be forced to create - instead of an arbitrary victim. force. Unlike the stagnant type, the producer always has a clear goal to reach. So they will say to themselves: "I want to do", "I will do" or "I decided to do".

Positive inner dialogue will help you focus all of your energy on a single direction. Now, instead of sabotaging all your efforts, the two horses will run in the same direction. In this way, manufacturers can determine for themselves what they want to do, and when, where, and how to do it.

Above all, if you want to do something, instead of doubting it, start doing it, put all your energy into it.

Chapter 7. Know how to combine work and rest every day to achieve the highest performance.

The habit of procrastination is a vicious cycle: when you procrastinate, the sense of responsibility for keeping up with everything then gradually builds up into even heavier responsibilities.

So, the habit of procrastination will make your life always filled with the feeling of having too much to do. Such a life will rob you of time for relaxation, rest or private life. In order to be able to manage the increasing workload, those leisure activities were forced to suspend until the very distant future.

It is very strange that the typical stagnant people and the "workaholic" type have similar mindsets. They all think they have so much to do that they don't have time to rest. They are always pushing themselves, never really relaxing or rewarding themselves for their achievements. As a result, they spend the whole day engrossed in their work or feeling guilty about not working.

Instead of acting like this, manufacturers always devote a certain amount of time to their personal life, health care, or spiritual relaxation.

Successful people often understand very well the importance of relaxation and entertainment. Therefore, they often take a break and reward themselves for their achievements as a way to recharge to be productive again.

Besides, the person who realizes the fun of difficult tasks will have an abundant source of motivation to embark on the work.

Chapter 8. If you want to simplify your work, break it down into small, manageable chunks.

The hardest part of any job is always the beginning.

People who procrastinate understand that once they start working, they'll likely have to write an entire report. So they choose to take the time to open and close documents, check their personal Facebook or clean the kitchen, open the document half an hour later… and repeat the process.

But why is it so difficult to get started? Because the tasks are often so overwhelming that we cannot see any hope of solving them. This is especially true of vague goals about the distant future, such as “get a good degree” or “learn how to play the piano”. Such goals are not only ineffective but also make us more discouraged – you keep working with the expectation that one day you will achieve that huge goal.

Despite these far-fetched goals, we often procrastinate and do the things that bring us quick success, like checking email or scrolling through Facebook.

So what is a simple strategy to eliminate this tendency?

Break tasks down into small, manageable tasks that can be quickly checked. If a task can be completed in just half an hour, you should be able to easily find the motivation to start the task. And once you complete it, your biggest reward is a sense of success, which gives a sense of ownership.

In addition, you can strengthen your motivation by doing simple things that receive corresponding rewards, such as allowing yourself to take a break.

So don't try too hard to do anything too big, focus on how to start: Start with the simple tasks and put the illusory destinations aside. For example, instead of counting the pages of "War and Peace," start reading it for half an hour.

“Instead of saying, “This is a big and important task,” say, “I will start with the smallest step.”

Chapter 9. To be most productive and comfortable, try “no planning”.

To make your weekly work lighter and more productive, try unscheduled time management.

The main purpose of this method is to create a lot of short time (about 30 minutes), highly focused in your working day instead of 10 hours of continuous work but always distracted, interrupted. This way, you not only get more done, but also have more time to relax. The specific method is as follows:

Choose one thing from among the important tasks you have to get done, give it a time limit of 30 minutes, and focus on doing it in those 30 minutes.

After each cut-off period ends, add one more time to your schedule. At the same time, you also make a list of relaxing activities like going out to lunch with friends, going for a walk or going to the movies. Unlike regular work scheduling, you schedule leisure activities, not work. It will build a useful framework for allocating your work time.

Through this method, we will realize two things:

First, life isn't just about work! Everyone deserves to experience other fun, relaxing things outside of work.

Second, you only have a limited amount of time to complete the quest, so you'll make good use of it!

Since, essentially, “not planning” means that you plan your work in between leisure activities, you choose to embark on a task only when there is time to complete it. And another job is added to the work time only if the 30 minute period for the previous job has ended.

This way, you can spend more time focusing on your work without feeling forced at all.

Chapter 10. A piece of paper or a notebook can be an effective weapon against distraction.

There are many things that can keep you from focusing on work:

For example, suddenly you come up with a very cool idea that you feel you must immediately explore or share it with friends. Or suddenly you remember an important task that you will most likely forget if you don't do it right away. Or when a close coworker says “hello” or reminds her of the report you promised to send her by the end of the week. And there are many more things like that.

All those distractions are hard to avoid: ideas will always pop up in your mind, and the "gossip ladies" at work will always come to you to gossip unless you lock the door. work room.

To get around this, all you need to do is simply keep something on hand that can "catch" the unexpected distractions. Quickly grab a nearby piece of paper or notebook and jot down whatever comes up that's bothering you, then get back to work quickly. Once you're done with your unfinished task, go back and review what you just wrote down if it's urgent or necessary. You will be surprised at how effective this method is!


Laziness is not an inborn disease. In fact, the habit of procrastination is built from a negative attitude towards work at a young age. Since this bad habit is something people "learn", we can completely get rid of it by changing our mindset.