Pay Yourself First
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In terms of investing and budgeting, I’ve always heard ‘pay yourself first’. Though admittedly I haven’t quite figured that one out, I have found the joys of paying myself first in terms of habits. Let me explain …
As a woman and mother, I’ve been culturally conditioned to put everyone’s needs before my own- a learned belief I’m still trying to exorcise from my being. Wasn’t it G.I. Joe who said: “knowing is half the battle”?
While this G.I. Jane has asked for her fair share in relationships (plus, tips!), I hadn’t quite tackled how this pervasive belief applies to my work. Since grind culture would have us believe that all we have to do to “make it” is to do all that’s asked of us, all the time, until the wheels fall off.
Now, I’ve been working long enough to know that sometimes the wheels just fall off and we’re left with a wagon that won’t roll. Let me unpack that metaphor.
Often we get stuck in our daily to-do lists feeling like we’re going somewhere because we are checking things off, until one day we find ourselves burned out having not moved from the starting line at all.
Okay, I. I have recently found myself physically and emotionally exhausted while feeling like I haven’t accomplished one dang thing. Because most of the things on my list were someone else’s. They were tasks that would move someone else’s life or business forward, but not my own.
Then, as I was once again renegotiating my schedule, I thought what if I paid myself first? What if I did the things that filled me up first – the things I knew would move my life forward before I did any task for anyone else.
I started to wake up an hour earlier so that I could not only practice yoga and meditation (which fill my soul) but also have an hour to myself where I could focus on the aspects of my work that I truly enjoy and that also move my business forward.
What you’re reading right now is being written during that hour. I truly enjoy writing to you, so I do that before I do any tasks for anyone else. Yesterday, I edited a Wild Wonder Podcast episode, which is something I also enjoy that (figures crossed) makes an impact in our community.
Before I started paying myself first I was attempting to complete these tasks at the end of my work day – after filling everyone else cup. Because I was giving my best, most productive, and energized hour away, I was becoming resentful of my work and feeling frustrated that my life seemed to have stalled out. There was even a moment when I thought, “wouldn’t it be easier just to go back to writing full-time? An office could be nice?” (red flag!)
Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with writing or an office, and I’ve had the privilege of both. But, that’s just it – I’ve done both, and I wasn’t happy. I’m happiest when I’m writing and teaching and sharing with you. Doing just one of them just isn’t enough for me. I’d like to thank yoga and meditation for keeping me grounded enough to see that.
Waking up and doing one thing for myself helps me feel accomplished at the end of the day in a way that checking off twenty to-do items just never will.
So, now I ask you – what can you do for yourself that will make you feel accomplished each and every day?
I felt like I wasn’t getting ahead in my work-life, so I’m focusing on that, but maybe for you, it’s your fitness, mindset, or spirituality. Choose the area in your life where you’d like to move forward and reserve that one magical hour for tasks related to it. Make a list of those tasks, so that tomorrow you know just what to do. Then, come back here and tell me how it’s going.