This was originally published on SuperYesMore as Honoring my future self: Centering productivity around your own personal time travel and I am cross-posting here on my own site.
When approaching a decision, especially decisions about things that need to be done, I often ask:
Will future-me be angry with past-me?
Examples of how past-me has angered future-me:
- Planning a long working trip directly following a vacation
- Skipping an opportunity to get food or not bringing emergency food to an event
- Delaying preparing for a talk because $REASONS
- Not taking a nap
I always wondered how time turners really helped Hermione when she never seemed to use it to sleep, which appears to be the only good reason for a time turner, but I digress.
When making a decision about what to do, it’s as though I have a time bank, which includes all the time from now until the future. Its limit is unknown, since, well, I’m not quite sure when my last day on earth is.
Whenever I decide to/not-to do something, I’m either borrowing time for or from my future self. I decided to go ahead and complete the task? Sigh of relief from future-me. I decided I didn’t feel like doing laundry today? Well, sounds like a job for future-me to deal with.
Because the tasks don’t go away, if they really need to be done. It’s more about moving them around.
The decisions I make now impact my future self, who is both me but also not. I’ve never met her, and yet I become her.
All I know is I usually want to make the best decisions for her, and I hate when she’s mad at [current, past?] me.
Trading time for my future self
The examples I opened with are all past-me’s actions borrowing time from (or making unwise decisions for) future-me.
However, I have some examples of time I trade to benefit, rather than harm, future-me:
- Batch cooking (I’m an enthusiast) so that future-me doesn’t have to cook after working
- Spending the 20 minutes to bike to the coworking space, to benefit from being in my community and using my proper desk set-up
- Writing instead of other activities, spending the next day outside for example
- Drinking an espresso and then taking a nap rather than trying to slog through, benefiting current-me and future-me, although future-future me has some sleep to catch up on
Recovering borrowed time
Borrowing time from one’s future self is a necessary action, at times. In fact, it’s going to happen, because you might do it and not even realize it (future-me hates when I do that).
Recovering borrowed time, most often, involves days where I turn in early and sleep with no alarm set. Naps are also recommended for quick recoveries, such as recovering from waking up for a 6am athletic event and rallying for the evening. Pure rest (sleep, or a lie-down) is hard to beat for recovery.
If sleep/pure rest is not what you need more of, going on an artist date, where you, alone, go to something you find interesting, is rejuvenating. Maybe it’s an exhibition. Perhaps it’s trying out a new restaurant by yourself. Or a hike in the woods. Maybe you’ll see some birds.