Nearing the end of a unproductive day, accept that the day was not productive, start on what you will work on tomorrow, do a little, and stop in the middle.
Works wonders for me.
I find it especially powerful at the end of a long day when you've been deep in the details. When you come in the next morning and see that red test, you "download" the context you were in much more quickly. I've also noticed that you tend to remember little details and nuances more clearly.
It is interesting because it deals with the moment you're working and not about the moment you're procrastinating. Because yeah we've all read those articles while procrastinating which gave miracle solution. Never works.
This is a real solution.
It doesn't tell you what to do to stop procrastinating, it tells you how to stop working as not to procrastinate the next day.
It is a lifestyle about knowing WHEN to stop something. And I truly believe it can be applied in a lot of life situations.
When you talk to a girl, don't wait the last minute, when the conversation starts getting boring, to leave. Leave in the middle of a conversation, leave when it's interesting. She will keep a good memory of you in mind and the next time you meet her you guys will be at a peak of exchange.
I think this trick is so great because it's so counter intuitive to a person in the mindset of getting something done. Stopping when you still have momentum seems counter productive, and it is in the short term, but you get more done in the long run.
That said, sometimes it seems it was necessary for me to stop work and just do nothing for a while in order to find that important insight.
I find this quite interesting because it deviates from what I thought Hemingway's Trick would have been: be a ruthless bastard.
The real Hemingway Trick definitely has its benefits because it lets your algorithm/design/idea develop in your head over time. Brute force coding, even if it works, can lead to sloppy and less efficient code. This leads to an important question: at what point does one trade "beast mode" for rest?
I read an article on HN about how the difference between great and mediocre musicians is the amount of time spent on focused practicing. Total hours mean nothing, only the amount of time spent on meaningful practice matters.
With this being said, it's important to develop a plan of action, and then stay incredibly focused on that for a few short hours. Once that roadblock is hit hit, take a break, let your brain do some processing, and then go back to a focused hack a little later and walk away with substantial progress.
If you have something on your mind, write it down - but don't actually finish the work.
I know when life forces me to do this, it works very well. The trick is doing it on purpose.