There's a reason we are comfortable sacrificing it all to make our businesses a reality: We assume we'll get a break tomorrow. To paraphrase Orphan Annie, tomorrow is always a day away--but meanwhile we could end up being useless to the very people we say we are sacrificing everything for.

Consultant Alan Weiss calls this the Oxygen Mask Principle. If you're in an emergency situation on an airplane, you are told to put your oxygen mask on first before assisting a less competent companion. He breaks it down in his podcast, The Way I See It:

You can't help the client or your family, you can't do pro bono work, you can't help others in the profession, you can't help anyone unless you yourself are comfortable. You need a healthy selfishness.

Weiss wrote Value-Based Fees, one of my favorite business books, and it is refreshing to hear such a driven businessman discuss the need for balance. As I share in my new book, The Productive Bite-Sized Entrepreneur, being busy does not equal productivity--and continuous exhaustion will not only make your work sloppy but ultimately wreck both you and your business.

Here are my tactics to put on my oxygen mask:

Ironically, prioritizing your self-care is the best way to take care of others. How are you taking care of yourself today?

Published on: Sep 28, 2016
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