What can you do today that will make tomorrow easier? If you want a fighting chance of making headway on any of those new year’s resolutions, that question is your North Star. For too many, their to-do list focuses on just getting through the day and fearing tomorrow will be worse.
Today, I give you a personal example of doing the kinds of things tomorrow that make your future self say, “thank you.”
We bought a new refrigerator a little over a year ago. This one is not one of those like we might have bought in 1980, the kind that will outlive you, your children, and your children’s children. It kept cold food cold and frozen stuff frozen and did it all with little fanfare.
No, ours is the kind of refrigerator that has all sorts of bells and whistles and lights and an instruction manual to help you navigate it all. I am good at immediately searching online to find a PDF of a digital copy so I can throw away the paper copy. I have all those digital copies saved.
At some point, my past self must have been smart enough to read through the user manual, know that at some future point I would need to change the filter, create a note in Evernote, and take a photo of those instructions to save inside that note.
So here we are a year later.
I approach the refrigerator and a light comes on to “change the filter.” At that moment, I had no recollection of how to change the filter or even where to look for the location of the thing.
So, I searched Evernote for “change refrigerator filter,” and guess what it found? The note even told me about “flushing the system” with a few gallons of water afterwards. I never would have thought of that one!
I ran into a second issue. After following the directions and changing the filter, the “change filter” light was still on. So now how do I turn the thing off?
Guess what was ALSO included in the note my smart past self had saved? It wasn’t anything I would have figured out on my own without a great deal of trial, error, and frustration. With the Evernote note on my phone, it took only a few seconds.
And one last problem
Yes, I had a replacement filter on hand. But that was the only one. Where in the world do I get another one and exactly what specs do I look for so I get the right one?
Evidently, my past self must have figured it out, and after ordering the last one, copied the Amazon link and pasted it in the same Evernote note. At that point, I was thanking my past self for having left tracks.
Your “Second Brain”
Today, you’ll solve little problems. You’ll face many of those same little problems again in the future. How good are you at taking a little time now to leave tracks for your future self?
Today, plenty of information comes your way. It’s a function of living in 2024. Some of that information will be valuable in the future, and there’s no way any of us can keep it all in our heads. It’s almost like we need a “second brain.” And indeed, over a decade ago, that term was being kicked around.
Where do you keep the information for which your future self will thank you? For me, it’s Evernote. For others, it may be in Google Drive or Apple Notes. Those tools all have incredible search capabilities and are available on your computer and phone alike. Pick one and use it.
Nobody is smart enough to remember all they know. Grab the information while it’s in front of you. Put it in that “second brain.” Your future self will thank you.
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