The Logic of Putting Yourself First

by Tara Fitness

“I confess, I closed my business because I had to put myself first”.


Do you need to go to such extremes? Of course not. In fact, I hope I can help you prioritise your self-care, without having to close your business.

I ultimately chose to pivot away from online fitness coaching because I was living on the brink of burnout. Despite trying to prioritise my self-care, consistently telling myself I would train more and eat better, I simply hadn’t been able to. I tried to implement the tips I’m about to share with you, but I waited too long. Because I waited too long, by the time I had a clear head, I realised I simply wasn’t passionate about pursuing online fitness anymore.

Before I give you some practical tips, I want to teach you the logic of putting yourself first. In other words, I want to teach you the logic that defies the ‘work harder to succeed’ assumption.

The Pareto Principle

Busyness does not build a business. The Pareto Principle is an observation that 20% of the work we do is responsible for 80% or our income (and thus, much of the work we do is an expensive waste of time). Now that isn’t to say that 80% of the work we do is irrelevant; try ignoring your taxes, and it’s going to become very relevant down the track.

But it does mean for business owners; we should focus our attention on higher revenue generating tasks. From a self-care perspective, it also means we should consider whether lesser revenue tasks are worth our time.

For example; say you’re creating content for five different social media networks despite generating 80% of your leads from one or two of those. Is it sensible to create content for the remaining three networks? Or would you be better off using the extra hour or two per week spending some quality time with your family?

I know which one I’d choose.

Parkinson’s Law

Think back to the last time you studied. Chances are, you either studiously worked on each assignment from the day it was assigned. Researching, drafting and editing until you presented a perfectly polished piece of work on the due date. OR you completely forgot about every assignment until the day before it was due, pulled an all-nighter, smashed out a few thousand words and submitted it with seconds to spare.

Regardless of which of these methods you chose, each assignment was still worth the same percentage of your final grade. In each instance, the time and effort taken to complete the task were worlds apart.

Parkinson’s Law states that “work will expand to fit the time which you give it”. Your assignments are a perfect example of Parkinson’s Law in action.

Now I’m not necessarily advocating for leaving things to the last minute. But I am asking you to consider the value you place on your time.

For example, if you have three small tasks on your to-do list, but generally work an eight-hour day, will you complete those tasks in two hours, then take the rest of the day off? Or will you succumb to the fires that are alight in your email inbox, the call of your social media notifications or the hamster wheel of online videos? If you’re in the latter camp, those tasks will likely take all day. Why? Because you let them. And are you truly working harder? Or are you simply filling in time that you could use to, say, exercise?

Hofstadter’s Law

How many times have you thought to yourself:

‘I’ll just finish this; then I’ll finish up for the day;’


Only to look at the clock two hours later and realise you’ve missed dinner with the kids, wasting away in front of your laptop, in the pursuit of a cross
on your to-do list?

Hofstadter’s Law states ‘things will always take longer than you expect, even when you plan for them to take longer than you expect’.

If you take nothing else from this article, take this. When you reach your ‘finish time’, another 5 minutes will always become 15, or 50. So when that time rolls around, ask yourself:

‘can it wait until tomorrow?’


If the answer is yes, regardless of what you’re doing, put it down and pick it up again tomorrow. Because those 50 minutes could be the difference between cooking a nutritious meal, spending some quality time with your family, exercising, relaxing, reading… or not…

And when you get into the habit of passing up all of those opportunities, eventually you find yourself yearning for the things you used to love, but unable to remember quite what it feels like to do them.

Don’t be the person who shuts out the world while trying to build a successful business and ends up with no resemblance of a life.

So, now you understand the logic of putting yourself first, how do you put it into practice?

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