Pretty much everyone wants to be more productive, especially if we can work more effectively or efficiently. Work smarter, not harder. One way to increase productivity is to be kind to your future self. Self-compassion can be a good guide to how and what to do in a day. Take a few minutes to imagine your future self, the one who will be there a week from now, or a month. Then take actions now that will help that person be happier, healthier, or well-cared for.
It might seem like being kind to yourself is just a dodge of hard work. It isn't. You're going to need food, shelter, and all the other necessities of life, not just for this moment, but in the future, too. People can worry way too much, but future planning helps create much better conditions and provide for those needs. So by thinking about how to treat your future self well, you will naturally consider what needs you'll have in the future... and take some steps now, the only time anyone ever has, to meet those needs.
Acting with self-compassion now tends to take away most of the drudgery. Instead of chores and jobs that we resent, the same actions become expressions of kindness. How could I resent actions that help myself, actions that I do out of self-compassion? Also, instead of flailing around without a clear plan, I'm more focused on doing the things that help me the most. Instead of procrastinating applying for a job by doing the dishes, for example, I focus on the most important thing first.
It might seem like this is a rosy, optimistic theory that doesn't stand up in gritty reality. You don't have to believe me. Just try it. Really imagine yourself a week or month from now, as clearly as you can. Then think about what you can do right now to help that person be happier or healthier or well-cared for. Use all the self-compassion you can generate. What's the most important action you can take for your future self's benefit? If the action is clear and you do it, this works.
Gregory Hanks has taught community college for upwards of 17 years. He's helped thousands of students achieve more of their potential, write better, and earn their degrees. In 2017, he left a traditional teaching role to help more people like you get better results, faster.
Copyright 2019 G. Hunter Hanks Media L.L.C.