My GTD® Bromance with my Future Self - Next Action Associates

I know this great guy–lots of potential, very well-intentioned, full of interesting ideas. I like him a lot. But he’s a bit of a fixer-upper really. He forgets things. He gets distracted. In short, he just needs a good companion to help set him up for success.

I am talking, of course, about my future self. And my desire to see myself succeed in the future is the foundation of my ‘bromance’ with this ‘later on’ version of me.

Indulge me for a moment, and perhaps you’ll see what I mean. Cast your mind forward to tomorrow. Start thinking about some of the things you agreed to do, and some of the things you want to do. Where will you be?  Who are you likely to encounter or speak to during the day? What could go right? What could go wrong?

Now consider: is there one thing you could do today to make tomorrow a tiny bit easier for yourself? Put out the shoes you’re going to wear. Get an earlier night. Send a text to confirm your plans. Check the forecast for rain.

Now imagine that you’ve done that one simple thing, and it has paid off. See yourself having a tiny bit easier day as a result. Feels good, right? Now consider what it would be like to have that feeling all day long–that someone who knows you very well has set you up to win the day.

Remember those signs in the office kitchen reminding you to wash your own mug because ‘Your mum doesn’t work here’? What if that experience of being looked after by someone like your mum scaled up with you–from being sent off to school with a packed lunch full of your favourite foods, to being handed the perfect slide deck right before that important board meeting? Your mum doesn’t work here, but you do.

The idea of being kind to your future self is one of the foundations of the Getting Things Done®  (GTD) methodology, which has helped countless busy people become more effective, and less stressed-out, in their day-to-day lives. Applied comprehensively, using a host of practical best practices refined over many years, this elusively simple concept has led to some genuinely life-changing results.

The aggregation of seemingly small gains is what differentiates elite athletes who make it onto the podium from those who may have worked just as hard, but without the same tweaks. The truth is, you are already setting your future self up right now, in each moment–either to go forward with confidence and clarity, or to bumble around wondering what you’re meant to do.

All this, of course, must be applied in a level-headed manner. Staying up to four in the morning to clear your inbox may seem like a way to make tomorrow more productive, but this may actually be a sign of a dysfunctional, even abusive, relationship with that future you. After all, this is all about paying it forward, but not at the expense of the present moment.

I don’t know about you, but my future self needs help. So do the future selves of some of the brightest, busiest, most dynamic, and creative people around–if a sampling of our client base is any indication. So, if you’d like to have more of this experience, we can help.

In a sometimes topsy-turvy world, there is no better feeling than knowing that you have your own back. Thanks, past me. You rock.

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