So, I have a four week old. And she is super cute and great in every way. She also can’t do anything by herself. So I take care of every single need or want that she has.

Yesterday, I use the bathroom, go to wash my hands, and I see myself in the mirror. There are bags under my eyes, my hair is oily, somehow my hair is still in a ponytail, but half of it is out-kind of?

As I continue to inspect myself, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t changed my clothes in two days (Nevermind deodorant or makeup!). My toenails still have the same paint on them from when I delivered her-three weeks ago-and I needed to repaint them back then!

But what upsets me most? I need to shave my damn legs!

When I get stressed or “have a lot going on”, my legs are the first thing to get neglected. And my god, were they!

One thing I’m coming to realize is the value of taking care of yourself first. I look run down, and I am run down. Ella shouldn’t be looking at me to model herself after if it’s obvious I shouldn’t be a role model.

This same concept applies to ensuring you’re getting the work-life balance that you need. Working in a high stress environment with unlimited hours to be able to work-I know firsthand how difficult managing the two can be!

Staying late: helps me hit x target. Right now. Immediately. I go home a little more tired… exhausted. But no big deal. I get a little less sleep. I wake up a little less alert. And the next day is just as hard as the day before. I stay late to tie up loose ends, and shit just keeps rolling downhill.

Over time, this causes chronic stress, leading to hypertension, digestive problems, fatigue, and much more! After a lifetime of this, retirement would be no fun! Instead of spending time and retirement money on traveling and fun, I’d have to spend my time and money on doctor visits and hospital stays! No thank you.

Going home earlier: I don’t hit exactly where I wanted to. I have to explain why my team didn’t hit x target. I go home, spend time with my family. Come back to work refreshed. now, alert, I can make decisions just a little bit better. I can see the inefficiencies in our day. I can help my team and myself get more done, in less time.

Over time, my team and I will be more efficient, I’ll learn from having to analyze our day-figure out where we went wrong-and correct for tomorrow. I’ll see my family more. Not miss things in life like sporting events, family gatherings, and just the every night family dinner at the table.

Not only will my retirement be better because I’m in better health (physically, mentally, and emotionally), but I’ll be able to look back at my life and not regret how and where I spent my time.

So, moving forward, I’m going to ensure I am my first priority. By taking care of myself, I’ll be able to take care of everyone and everything else much better.