Daily planning, as useful as it is, can create tension between Present You and Future You.

Present You makes tomorrow’s plan, but Future You will have to carry it out. So in planning tomorrow, it’s easy for Present You to sign up Future You for some unpleasant experiences.

  • "Five hours straight on the hardest report of the year? Sounds good!"
  • "Lightweight emailing all morning, with the last two hours of the day dedicated to mentally taxing data analysis? Check!"
  • "Important meeting with no prep time scheduled? Don't mind if we do!"

Don’t set up Future You for misery or failure—he or she isn’t any more interested in those experiences than Present You. Think about what it would take to make tomorrow’s work seem perfectly doable: 10-minute breaks every hour, an extra coffee run, or a mid-afternoon meditation session.

Be nice to Future You, and you’ll both be a lot happier.