Have you ever scheduled plane flight months in advance with a departure so early it forces you to get up at 3 AM on what will be a busy and important day? At the time of booking you think, it is a little early, but this will be okay. I will rest, I will pack in advance, I will get plenty of sleep, and I will be fine! The day of the trip arrives, you are feeling tired and ragged, and you find yourself cursing your past-self. This happens all the time, right? We commit to things weeks or months down the road, and when the time comes we are frantically busy all the while, wondering what we were thinking by saying yes?
Every time we:
- Eat too much
- Forget to exercise
- Make too many plans
- Neglect to save enough money
- Do not leave sufficient time in the schedule
We are doing our future-selves a disservice.
Just like we do this in our personal lives, we do this in our professional lives too. We book trips on top of each other leaving no time to think. We plan meetings back to back leaving no time to plan. We schedule too much for tomorrow, and our future selves become disappointed when we cannot do it all.
Additionally, we develop strategic goals we cannot hope to achieve. We hope the environment will be more favorable, and months or years later we are disappointed, maybe surprised when the opposite happens.
But sometimes it is not the action we took but rather the inaction we regret. Our future selves regret that our past-selves did not embrace a trend that became a full on industry direction. We are sad we did not make a change when the change was far easier to make. We are disappointed in all the lost opportunity because we got stuck months or years ago.
It is worth asking, is my future-self going to regret this decision? Is my future-self going to be mad that I did not act now?