tickler system*. Happy new year to me!
Every year, all year, I have things I mean to do. I tell myself that in March I'll get my mother's birthday gifts. Her birthday is in May, along with my Dad's birthday, Mother's Day, my brother's anniversary, my nephew's birthday, and our anniversary. Every year I feel like I'm scrambling to get it done.
For all my good intentions, if I don't have the idea written down, along with the means and plans to get that idea done, it's not going to happen. If it's written down on a random post-it note I'll find that post it note two months after it would have been useful. But now! With my handy-dandy tickler system, I should avoid those mishaps.
Already today I put a subscription card from Eating Well magazine in the February file. I'm going to wait until after my birthday to make sure I don't happen to get a subscription for my birthday. I haven't even asked for it for my birthday but still: it seems like bad form to buy something for myself mere weeks before my birthday.
Then there's this blog post about bad habits, such as procrastination.
#5. Your Brain Thinks You're a Different Person.
Brain scans have shown that different parts of our brain light up when we're thinking of ourselves versus when we're thinking of other people. That part makes sense -- your brain is partitioned out into separate regions for yourself and for everyone else because you have to look out for yourself first. But where it gets weird is that in some people, when they're asked to think about their future selves, the region that lights up is the one reserved for other people.
I can't tell you how relieved I was when I read this: I'm not lazy or crazy - it's just my brain! It thinks my future self is more disciplined than my current self. My sweet brain. So optimistic.
From there I found this blog post that was a list of four reasons we procrastinate.
#4 We overestimate our future self. We often have a long list of things we plan to do, because we think we can do a lot in the future. The reality is usually a little worse than we expected, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking the future will be different yet again. For the same reason, we think it’s OK to procrastinate, because we’re going to do it later, for sure. Our future self will be incredibly productive and focused! Except, our future self is also lazy, and doesn’t do it either. Damn future self.
I was thinking about that this morning, early when it was still dark outside and Bella and I were the only one stirring. While I haven't made any official resolutions for this year, I decided that I'll aim to help my future self out. Don't put so much on her. Take a few steps now, right now, not later when conditions are perfect or when it's supremely convenient, but now, just a few little things that come next week or next month or this spring will surprise and please her to no end.
* You know what a tickler system is, right? I don't mean to be insulting but thought I'd ask; Jeffrey didn't know. Then again Jeffrey isn't as enamored as I am of organizing. Wikipedia says, "A tickler file is a collection of date-labeled file folders organized in a way that allows time-sensitive documents to be filed according to the future date on which each document needs action."