Helping your future self is not a new idea. In fact, I’ve heard several bloggers that I follow mention it fairly recently. The idea is to constantly be thinking of ways to make life easier for yourself in the future.
When I’m feeling especially unmotivated, I try to think in terms of what “Future Katy” would want me to do right now. Would she be better off if I rested now? Then I’ll do that. Would she have an easier time making dinner if I spent five minutes now washing the dishes from the morning? Then let’s do that. How can I help my future self?
For me, one of the most common areas this shows up is in the kitchen.
Sometimes I’ll double up on a task I’m already doing to make meal prep easier later on (I learned this from Trina Holden). So if I’m shredding cheese for today’s mac and cheese, maybe I’ll shred the cheese for tomorrow’s pizza night too. Or if I’m chopping peppers and onions for fajitas today, maybe I’ll also chop them up for enchilada chili in a couple days and put them in a container in the fridge. This saves me time (and dishes!)
I make every effort to always have clean counters and a clean sink before I go to bed. I learned this from Kate at Venison for Dinner. Waking up to a kitchen full of dirty dishes makes me feel so bogged down and defeated, and since we have very limited counter space, it means I can’t even make breakfast until I do dishes. I don’t really enjoy doing dishes at a normal time, and I DEFINITELY don’t like doing dishes pre-7AM.
I also appreciate having food already prepped or even fully made when things get really busy. So if I can help my future self with dinner by thawing meat or chopping veggies in the morning, awesome! Or if I can batch cook muffins and breakfast bars so we can eat those for snacks all week, I’ve just simplified something for my future self. (I learned about batch prepping like this from Jessica Fisher). And if I catch extra ingredients before they go bad and can prep them for the freezer, I’m also saving money, along with future time.
Another area in my life that this shows up is in planning. Present time mom-brained Katy is sometimes forgetful. So if I spend 10 minutes planning all of the things for Future Katy to take care of in the next week, Future Katy doesn’t forget important things like doctor’s appointments until she gets a text with a survey asking how her appointment was. That she didn’t go to because she forgot. Not that that has ever happened…
Part of my weekend routine is to get out my planners and write down the basic events for the week – homeschool, laundry, errands, and so on – and then also fill in blog-related tasks for the week, extra home projects, and so on. Then each day I don’t have to think about what needs to get done, because it’s already laid out for me in my planner.
I can help my future self with basic stuff around the house as well. That might mean something as simple as tidying up as I go from one room to another, taking things back to where they belong, or making a pile of stuff for the kids that they need to put away. (Because having everything in a pile instead of strewn throughout the house is just easier sometimes.)
It might mean correcting and putting away the homeschool work from the day. I take care of this as part of my morning routine after breakfast – correct and put away yesterday’s schoolwork and prepare for today’s – but if the correcting part is already done, it makes my morning that much easier.
If none of these reasons have convinced you to start looking for ways to help your future self, maybe this one will: Some days, things go terribly wrong. Maybe you struggle with depression, and you have a bad day. Maybe you just get started on whatever your first task is, and a kid vomits everywhere. Maybe you get sick yourself and need to focus on resting and recuperating.
There will be days where you can’t do what you wanted to do. But if you did something previously to help your future self, it will make things a little bit easier. And those times are worth the extra effort earlier on.
Whether in the kitchen, in your planner, or anywhere in your house, how can you help your future self right now?