#024 – The UNschedule (The Now Habit Pt 7) [Podcast]

We’ve talked about guilt-free play to overcome procrastination.  We’ve talked about a “reverse calendar” to overcome procrastination.  How do we merge these two ideas together for an overall strategy to deal with procrastination?

The Unschedule

The Unschedule

The answer provided in the Now Habit is to use the “Unschedule.”  This is an innovative use of calendar planning that provides the essential tools for preventing procrastination. If you are familiar with the Pomodoro technique, you will find a lot of similarities with the Unschedule.

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“The Unschedule” Show Notes

In this episode, I share on the following topics:

  • Review of last week
  • Thinking of life in 30 minute increments
  • Reward yourself
  • Start planning with leisure first
  • Why you need at least one free day a week
  • Steps to utilizing the Unschedule
  • What to expect after you start this habit

The basic concepts of “Unschedule” calendar

The idea is this:

  • You divide your calendar into 30-minute-slots and leave them blank.
  • You put “meetings” and all the calendar-like events that have to happen at certain time (I use “red” color for this)
  • You put cool things you want to do (like training, watching youtube… small rewards you want to have – the cool stuff – I use “red” or “orange” for this)
  • You leave everything else blank and fill it out once you’ve done with your next half-an-hour slot and you “check in” what you’ve done in the last half an hour.

So the concept is really cool – you only schedule the “cool stuff” and the “must-happen” stuff. And you fill out the blanks as they go.

This way you know how much “blanks” you have until next “must-be” thing happens and you can “schedule rewards” for yourself, like watching some cool youtube videos for 30 minutes or reading. Or gym.



My work is more focused

I actually print an Unschedule calendar every week and put it on the wall and use a ballpoint pen in different colors to fill it up. This way I can see the blanks, I can see when I slack off… and when I had a great and productive day… and how much time I really have ahead of me each day … as well as how much leisure I have scheduled.

Once half an hour is gone and I worked on something I put it in one or two words in BLUE color. If I slacked off, I use the BLACK color and write honestly what I’ve been doing… or not doing.

Feel free to download my Unschedule in PDF and print it!

Or here is one Neil recommends (by the way, this is easily constructed in most word processing apps):

Blank Schedule

Blank Schedule

When you fall… you dust off every 30 minutes

The cool thing of the Unschedule is that even if I have a “slower slot” of time and I put “nothing” in black, I can dust off and try again in the next half-an-hour slot. I just don’t have hours of a slow day anymore, because one view of my Unschedule calendar motivates me to shake things up and start getting things done.

“The Unschedule” Episode Resources

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