Updated: Aug 9
The plane is about to take off. As you settle back in your seat, you hear the familiar safety spiel: “Always put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others…”
This seemingly cliché phrase is really a profound piece of life advice. Yes – we need to take care of ourselves before we can properly look after others!
What we often forget is that this advice applies to all areas of life. If we don’t look after ourselves, how can we do our best at taking care of our loved ones? How can we give our best at work? In our community? In striving for our goals?
Many of us neglect self-care because we’re simply poor at prioritising. It’s a really simple thing, but by learning to prioritise the right things, we can operate at our best.
3 Ways to prioritise like a genius
In a fantastic video, motivational speaker and best-selling author Brendon Burchard shares three ways to become a master at prioritisation. “You have the ability to make your days magical,” he says. “You are the architect of your day.”
Here are his three strategies:
1. Stop prioritising easy
How do you decide what to focus on in your days?
It’s easy to prioritise the things that are easy. It gives us a sense that we’ve accomplished something. The problem is, this makes us less likely to do the things that count. You can end up doing a lot of “busy work” but very little of your life’s work.
“Just because there’s something that’s easy to do, doesn’t mean it must be done today,” says Burchard. “Look at doing things that would support you, your health, your vibrancy, your joy, your real contribution in a more significant way.”
2. Stop prioritizing false emergencies
No, you don’t have to reply to every message and return every call straight away!
This need to be always on, always available, is an illusion of our times. Every request that comes in is a sudden distraction that keeps you from doing what really matters to you. That’s why we need to learn to say NO. Don’t give away every little piece of your day to anyone who asks.
Burchard adds that, if you can accommodate people’s requests, great – but don’t change your priorities based on other people’s false emergencies.
“You owe nothing to anybody but your own health, your own family, your own major true contributions of what you are and what you want to give to the world,” he says.
3. Start prioritizing freedom
Do you have space in your schedule today to do something that makes you feel good? If not, clear up some space!
Prioritise your ability to gain more emotional, physical, social and financial freedom. “If you can have physical freedom from fatigue, you’ll accomplish a whole lot more,” says Brendan Burchard, “What about time freedom? Where are the breaks in your day, and what are you doing with your breaks?”
Making sure we have the freedom to give ourselves the attention we need and to work on what matters to us is really crucial. And to get that freedom, we need to choose what we prioritise.
What are you doing to prioritise self-care?
So, the question to ask yourself is: What am I doing to prioritise myself?
Yes, it can feel like a selfish question at first. That’s why we need to remember that gem of aeroplane safety wisdom. Looking after yourself isn’t selfish: it’s the only way to give your best to the world!
Are you nourishing your mind, body and soul? That may mean eating well, reading books that inspire you, meditating, being creative… whatever it is that nourishes you personally.
Are you making time for strong relationships and social connections? Humans are social creatures, but cultivating strong and healthy relationships takes time and effort. Don’t neglect it!
Are you proactively looking after your health? Don’t leave it until it’s too late. Prioritise moving and being active. Work hard to cut out bad habits. If you’re stressed at work, see if you can find ways to better manage your workload.
Many employers in Australia offer their employees access to various wellness initiatives such as goal setting, work-life balance, stress management and more. All these are aimed at making employees healthier and happier, both within themselves and for those around them – including their work colleagues, family (cat or dog included) and their community.
These are provided in partnership with their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and/or Health Benefits Plan partner.
Let’s not forget about accessing free biannual health checks, annual flu vaccinations, yoga classes and other valuable initiatives. Don’t let these pass you by – make it a priority to take advantage of them.
All of these things are ways of putting your own oxygen mask on first – so you can give your best to yourself and others. Try implementing some of the above tips today!
If you would like to start a conversation about the possibilities of workplace initiatives, feel free to reach out and book a chat.