Difficult Emotions

How to Ensure a Steady Flow of Gifts to Your Future Self

Thanks to my wife, my kids have largest homework habits than I had. They recently told me well-nigh how many kids in their matriculation were “freaking out” well-nigh an upcoming summative test. “But we,” they explained, “are feeling pretty relaxed well-nigh it considering we’ve simply been paying sustentation and grinding out the homework.”

I couldn’t resist tying this example to workplace performance.

“Wow,” I responded. “What a souvenir you’ve given to your future self!”

I continued: “Who do you think will have expended increasingly total effort and endured increasingly total stress at the end of the year: you or the kids who are freaking out right now?”

“Oh, them for sure, Dad!” they said. “We’re just grinding it out bit by bit each week, but they are putting hours of time and stress into this!”

In fact, I told them, many researchers have discovered that people spend 4-6 times the time, energy and resources on dealing with things they’ve neglected or procrastinated than they would have had they just taken superintendency of the task in the first place.

Think well-nigh the implications of this principle for your work and life.

How much of the time and effort you’re expending on this day is a magnitude of not having made smaller investments withal the way?

Don’t rush past that question too fast. Imagine how this day might have been variegated had you regularly made investments in something, perhaps something boring, uncomfortable, tedious or challenging, withal the way.

As I reflect on that question today, I think well-nigh an treatise I recently had with someone I superintendency about. The treatise happened considering of a lack of planning and poor communication. Between meetings and emails over the undertow of a few days, the treatise probably took us two hours of total time. This doesn’t plane take into worth the poor sleep I got one night as I contemplated the details of the argument.

I wish I could go when in time and do increasingly regular planning and liaison to stave the argument!

What regular investments of time and energy in your past might have relieved you of some or all your work today?

But wait…

You might find this line of thinking to be idealistic and impractical. Yes, of course, you say, I could have been regularly working toward a PhD in Economics, but who would have taken superintendency of my kids when they were young and I was working to pay our bills? I had no spare time to invest in the future when I was trying to survive the present!

That’s real. Everyone has practical constraints and demands that prevent regular investments in the future.

To write that, follow the lead of my friend Andy.

“I strive to be regular not rigid,” he says.

Rigidity is inflexible, less focused on outcomes, and perhaps neurotic.

Regularity is a transferral to wait gratification and alimony putting in the work.

The fear of rigidity shouldn’t prevent falling in love with regularity.

To quote James Clear in Atomic Habits, “The only way to wilt spanking-new is to be unremittingly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.”

Think thoughtfully well-nigh this.

What do you not want to spend 4-6x energy and effort dealing with in the future?

What elapsed gratification do you desire in the future that might happen if you re-committed to stuff regular (not rigid)?

This could wield to:

  • Health
  • Finances
  • Faith
  • Relationships
  • Work performance
  • Career path
  • Education

It’s time to recommit to regular investment withal the way.

As my friend Marla says, “’Tomorrow Marla’ is going to thank me for this!”

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