“Pay yourself first.” That was the financial planner’s advice. My husband and I were tuning in to a virtual conference about vision and how to create our dream life.
We had sat down, me with a notebook and colored pens in hand, my husband with his laptop propped open. We listened to speakers teach us how to approach 2021 with purpose. I admit, listening to a financial planner wasn’t high on my list. I had come to the conference in search of the latest grass-roots marketing strategies or bit of advice that would revolutionize my business.
Instead, I heard how most entrepreneurs don’t have their financial houses in order. Statistics show that most of us lack any kind of plan that includes savings and financial goals and retirement strategies. Yes, we pay our bills. That’s it.
Most of us are so focused on the big win—the business that gets bought up by some tech giant or an idea that takes off and grows to a million-plus dollars a year—that we underestimate the power of small, incremental savings. He advised attendees to pay themselves before they pay their bills or plan for some business expansion. Make small, regular savings a priority.
He gave his advice again: “Pay yourself first.”
My husband and I finished the session and marched down to our office and began covering the whiteboard and filling out spreadsheets with plans. By the end of our time, we walked away with a sense of accomplishment and a clear vision for the future.
The next morning, as I moved through my morning, the adviser’s words ran through my mind. Pay yourself first. Pay yourself first.
That phrase went around and around in my head like an echo. It dawned on me that it could be applied to other areas too. And for me, a homeschooling mama and writer who spends most of her days taking care of everyone else—kids, husband, home, clients—paying myself first could be a way to achieve my personal writing goals. Was it possible to start my day with my own writing, even if it was only 30 minutes at a time? What if I did it before I cracked a chemistry book with my kids or wrote an email series for my clients or created our next Writing Momentum newsletter?
Like most people, I am busy. This is a common affliction and just when I find myself tempted to roll into a fetal position because of the intensity of my schedule, I look around, take a breath and realize how blessed I am. I’m doing what I love with people I love. That doesn’t mean, however, that making time for my own writing is easy. I often let it slide. Making it happen takes work, that dig-down, deep kind of work that is easier to avoid.
Left to my own devices, I get caught up in all the must-dos on my to-do list and bypass the want-to-dos and the feel-called-to-dos. I let work and busyness distract me from making progress.
So in 2021, I’m committing to Pay myself first with my writing. I may only have 30 minutes at a time, but little by little, if I’m patient with myself and if I get the help I need by way of coaches and mentors and education and productivity systems, I’m sure I can accomplish something.
If you can relate—if your busy life, full of work and serving and volunteering and caring for those around you, sometimes gets in the way of your writing goals—then please join me and Pay yourself first. Whether you’re working on your first book, exploring a new genre like me or just journaling to keep yourself sane during this year, join me. Take the time you have—30 minutes or an hour each day—and write what you want to write. Word by word, we’re sure to get where we want to go.
Please let me know in the comments below what your writing dream is in 2021. What do you want to write? What do you need to achieve it (i.e. coaching, peer support, education, productivity helps)? Could writing 30 minutes a day be the first step in getting you there? I’d love to hear from you…and cheer you on as you go.