Most financial experts preach the following principle: Pay yourself first. Essentially it means you need to save money even when things are tight. You have to make your own financial health a priority above others because there will always be more things to buy and more people who will gladly take your money.
The same thing is true with your time.
I can attest to the fact that if you put work before yourself, there will never be enough time for you. There will always be more demands on your time than there are hours in the day. I think this is especially true for creative types who are passionate about their work. It’s easy to overwork when you enjoy it, but if you’re not careful you will exhaust your creativity, motivation, and drive.
So this is what I propose: Make time for yourself first. Yes, I know you’re buried and overworked and facing a tight deadline, but that is all the more reason why you need to put yourself first. Do whatever it is that makes you come alive, and give yourself enough time for it. Schedule it on your calendar and stick to it. If you don’t take your own time seriously then what makes you think other people will?
For the last two weeks I’ve blocked off my calendar from 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon every day. During that time I silence my phone and disable email notifications. For four hours I do something for me. I read books, take pictures, find interesting videos on TED, dream, journal, work on personal projects, write this blog post, draw, etc…
There are dozens of reasons why this is a dumb idea, but you already know that. What you probably don’t know is what might happen if you try it.