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If you don’t pay yourself first, there is a good chance you will never get paid.

This concept has helped me tremendously over the years with my professional development.  Ignore at your own risk!

I initially learned of this concept while reading personal finance books – to help people save more money.  The premise is simple.  When you are paid, put a portion of your pay immediately away in savings, and then after, worry about paying everyone and everything else.  The adage goes that if you don’t ‘pay yourself first’ and instead wait to transfer an amount into savings at the end of the month, magically there is no money left to transfer—whhhhatt?

This is because if you don’t save right when you have the money, you’ll end up spending it on something by months end, you slob.  Why should you pay anyone prior to you paying yourself?  Good question you well groomed person- you shouldn’t.

This concept is not only applicable to finances- it can and should be adhered for personal and professional development.  If you’re not already doing so – you need to pay yourself first in every aspect of your life.  Your job is no exception.

There is a very good chance you’re going to have a different job, with a different employer in next five years.  All that goodwill you built up, all those late nights you worked, and those long painful conversations you nodded through while daydreaming slapping your boss – all worthless in your next job.  No-one in your new job cares that you used to be a hard worker or you were a favorite of the office.  So what’s left?  You.  Your technical, leadership, organizational and soft skills are the only thing that transfers, aka your substance as professional.  How do you build substance?

You have to pay yourself first.  You have to invest in yourself each week before you do all those tasks for the other people.  You have to set aside time for your learning and growth, separate from all your daily job responsibilities.  Instead of finding the quickest answer to get your boss off your back, spend an extra 30 minutes and research/understand the concept thoroughly.  Consider taking a class that helps make you an expert in what-ever-it-is you do, even if it upsets your boss that it cuts slightly into work hours.  You have to look out for your growth because many times you’re the only one who will.

There will always be responsibilities and people demanding your time and effort; make sure you’re the first to get paid.

Eric