Put Health First
It's very easy to think about life in buckets. Work, family, health, relationships, career, spiritual, etc... Most of us compartmentalize different aspects of our lives to a degree, in order to manage some kind of balance.
It's easy to think "have I been spending enough time with my family?" or "have I been neglecting my relationships because of work?" This kind of bucket-paradigm can help trick us into thinking that these are actually separate areas of life, that our life is actually divided in some way.
The truth (as always) is trickier - there are no real buckets. These are fabrications of our mind, as it grapples to process our everyday reality. But let's assume for a second that lumping different aspects of our lives is a useful construct...
I was thinking recently that where this type of thinking goes most wrong is when we apply it to our health. Each "bucket" really affects every other "bucket," but in no place is it more apparent than health. We are tempted to see maintaining our physical bodies in a healthy way as just another area of life about which to barter and negotiate attention - when really that is our life.
It's particularly dangerous to try to "get around" to your health. Every other area of your life suffers if you do not have your health - so it needs to come first, before any other. The other areas of life naturally flow from good health; for example, if you're feeling good, being patient with kids is easier. Another example is that concentration becomes easier when you are physically healthy, so your work improves. Health is not a bucket at all, but rather our only asset that underlies everything we do.
I write this in the particular light of working with startup companies. There is so much stress at startups and so many different demands - it's hard to manage it all. It's tempting to let health slide when time is precious, when in fact a healthy body and mind is the only likely way to have the sheer capacity to pull off a business successfully under high stress and low probabilities.
As always, this is mostly a reminder to myself!