• Joel Schaffer

Don't Trust The Future You

How many times have you started a sentence with, “I will get to that tomorrow”? I must confess, prior to some necessary and meaningful changes years ago, that phrase was a natural part of my everyday language.

I need to prospect…I will get to that tomorrow.

I need to role practice my voicemails…I will get to that tomorrow.

I need to research that customer…I will get to that tomorrow.

I think you get the idea. In fact, this poisonous mindset is so common that in 2008 Nike presented its campaign specifically focused on the concept of procrastination. In addition to their “Just Do It.” campaign, a New York billboard displayed:

Yesterday You Said Tomorrow. – Nike

Simple, relatable, and motivational. Four simple words that remind us of what it really takes to succeed. You have to put in the work now. Today, not tomorrow.

So why do we put things off, and what can we do to avoid falling into this trap? The real question becomes:

Do you trust the future you?

Why do we allow procrastination, or let’s use a much more pleasant word, avoidance? There could be many reasons, but 2 of the most common are:

  1. The task itself is not something we really want or like to do. We think about the time it will take, the difficulty of executing the task or perhaps we simply believe what we are working on instead is more pleasant.

  2. Fear of not doing a good job, not knowing exactly how to begin or the all the steps required, or perhaps even failing at the task.

Regardless of the reason, we are “in the habit” of trusting our well-meaning intentions of doing it in the future but can easily disappoint when it gets pushed to another “tomorrow.” (the future you). At Butler Street, we say

Bad habits are like comfortable beds. Easy to get into and very hard to get out of.

We can all agree that relying on good intentions is a pretty useless exercise as it has proven time and again to be the enemy related to overcoming an “avoidance” mentality. The great thing is there IS something we can do about it if we find ourselves in this cycle.