We talk a lot about Future You, who has to live with the consequences of Present You’s decisions. Thinking of your future self as different person is a useful way to examine and manage life choices.

I’m a big fan of signing up Future You for beneficial activities like running a 5K. But, as a reader recently pointed out, it’s also possible to fill up Future You’s time to a degree that they will not appreciate—to incur “time debt” that Future You will have to pay.

Managing time debt is particularly difficult when it comes to requests from others, especially when we want to help. It’s easy to say yes but hard to say no—especially if our reason for saying no isn’t a specific schedule conflict, but simply that we’ve reached a preset “busyness quota” for the week or month in question.

Readers, have any of you found success in managing time debt, in either your work or personal lives? If so, I’d love to hear any advice you might have. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog post or simply reply to this email. Thanks!

Hat tip: Garrett.