Tomorrow’s me is great! She’s going to bill 5 hours work, catch up on her LinkedIn messages, go to the gym and cook a healthy meal. She’s amazing this woman. All because she’s in tomorrow and tomorrow is better.

Are you one of those people who puts things off until later? I largely don’t, certainly not with work but there are times when I do this. The most common example for me, is not filling the car up with fuel until it’s more or less running on fumes. For some bizarre reason, I always think that I’ll do it next time I go out; tomorrow when I’m on my way to a meeting or as I head out for a dog walk. Because I’m busy. And I need to get back to my desk, or to a meeting or to wherever. So tomorrow usually feels like the better option than doing it now. For any number of reasons.

But, what I have now (finally) realised, is that tomorrow, won’t be any better! In fact, tomorrow, may be busier than today. I might be running late for my meeting because of a call or a wardrobe malfunction or any number of reasons. Why should the mystical tomorrow be any better than today? Tomorrow may be worse than today. By adding to my daily stress, a car that absolutely needs to go to the garage before it goes anywhere else, I’ve made the chances of tomorrow being equally as busy much more likely.

I am pushing the busy forward.

I am already sabotaging my future self. The future self that today I am thinking of as solving all my problems!  Chances are, she’s not going be Wonder Woman after all because she is the result of my very poor choices yesterday!

There are so many ways that we do this by assuming that our future selves are going to somehow make better decisions, have more time and be generally more with it. Some days that may be the case, but I am by and large the same person, with the same life, from one day to the next. So why do I think tomorrow is different? 

Well, it’s a known phenomenon that has been studied called Optimism Bias. It’s mostly why we get out of bed and crack on with another day – but also stops us doing perhaps more sensible long-term things like putting away some savings or cutting down on the wine for our health because bad stuff happens to other people, not us. Read more here.

So, optimism about our future lives aside, let’s go with the more likely supposition that tomorrow will be much like today.  What if you could make life easier for your future self now so that you are really grateful to yourself tomorrow? How lovely are you to yourself?

There are loads of ways to do this, but let’s start with the premise that tomorrow you are short of time. And think of some things that “today’s you” could do, to get ahead of that.

  1. Before you go to bed spend 5 minutes doing a quick blitz of the house to get it tidy.
  2. Organise tomorrow’s stuff today - be that breakfast bowls and a mug with a teabag, your work bag and papers or your clothes.
  3. Before you leave the office, create your list of things to do the next day (I like to schedule time rather than have a list because again, I get overambitious about what can be achieved. At least focusing on available time, I have a hope of being more realistic.)
  4. Rather than not start a piece of work or a task because you’ve only got 5 or 10 minutes, start it. You’d be surprised what you can get done and when you come back to it, you’ll be delighted that you aren’t staring at a blank bit of paper.
  5. Think about your future self when making decisions. Put them first! Just by moving the focus slightly and saying “would my future self be happier if…” you can make the right call in the moment. Which is usually doing something you don’t really want to do now but that you probably should do, be that going to the gym, replying to that email or putting that expense receipt in the right place.

It’s really important to be good to yourself.  But it might be more important to be good to your future self.

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