Friday miscellany: Musings on Future You

In Wednesday’s blog post, I mentioned realizing that I didn’t want to spend two hours writing a novel on that day, so the odds that I would feel like doing so next week were minimal. That suggested that taking on NaNoWriMo was probably a bad idea.

One commenter noted that this thought was “so simple, and yet life changing for anyone like me who likes to imagine that future me will have endless time, energy and willpower!”

I agree that this is a life-changing realization! Deciding that Future You will be a lot like Current You makes rational goal setting possible. This realization can also allow us to strike a good balance between enjoying the present and prepping for the future, if we’re smart about it.

It is incredibly common — and quite funny, if you think about it — to believe that our future selves will have super powers that we currently lack. That’s one of the reasons people overcommit their future selves and then have to cancel or quit things. I joke in my speeches about future obligations feeling like we are assigning them to an entirely different person. April Me won’t be busy! April Me will have tons of time! The most insidious aspect of this belief is that it’s sort of rational — if you look at your calendar for April now, in October, it will look pretty open. Of course, come April it won’t be. That’s how people wind up kicking themselves — why did I commit myself to that during such a busy week?? The answer is that it wasn’t a busy week yet when you committed yourself. But like most weeks it became so in time.

I’d note, though, that this fallacy can go the other way too. Future You won’t have superpowers, but Future You won’t be incompetent either. This fear of future meltdowns is part of the thinking behind marathon Sunday preparation sessions for the week ahead — that Future You won’t be able to deal with these life maintenance matters efficiently. You could prep all the meals…or you could realize that Future You is fine scrambling eggs some night and eating leftovers for lunch. You could lay out all the outfits…or you could realize that Future You will have the mental capacity to put on a pair of black pants and a sweater just as she always has. So why not relax a little on your Sunday?

In any case, I think the safest assumption is that Future You is going to be a lot like Current You. Over time, some things can change on the margins. But not everything. If you think something sounds like fun, Future You likely will too. And if you really don’t want to both with something? Best not to assign it to Future You either.

In other news: Charter ran a book brief on Tranquility by Tuesday. You can check it out here.

The Toronto Globe and Mail also has a write-up of the book. It requires a subscription, but if you happen to have one, here is the link!

Catholic Women in Business covered Tranquility by Tuesday as well.

In the Before Breakfast podcast, I noted that “The year isn’t over yet,” (seriously! There are 2 months to go, which is enough time to do a great many things), and that “There is always downtime.

In our Best of Both Worlds Patreon online meet-up this week we did several of the exercises from Tranquility by Tuesday! A few folks have asked about forming accountability groups to work through the rules together. I strongly encourage doing this with friends, family, and colleagues! I will likely be organizing some accountability system through the Patreon community, so if that sounds fun, you can join us here.

One thought on “Friday miscellany: Musings on Future You

  1. You spoke some truth here. I think part of the problem is that Current You would like to think that you’d enjoy/be able to do something and if you “commit” to it in advance then you’ll make time and be ready for it when the time comes. But unless you plan carefully, other – mundane, everyday things – will take over your schedule and that’s why you end up having to back out or cancel. It requires a lot of mental work to tweak it just so.

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