Protecting Your Time

Do I Have Time?

“Oh, I’m gonna be late,” I thought to myself. I grabbed my purse and ran out the door to catch the bus. I was heading to meet friends in a nearby city. I looked down the street and could see the bus coming a block away. I looked to my right and could see I was a good three blocks from the bus stop. “I wish they hadn’t moved the stop in front of my house,” I thought as I wildly ran down the street. I felt a mix of embarrassment and irritation as I heard the bus pull up behind me. I could also hear it slowing down as it drove past me. “Cool, he’s gonna wait for me,” but I still kept running. At this point, he was already at the bus stop. I was still a block away.

When I got on the bus, I sat down and caught my breath. I breathlessly motioned to the driver that I was getting my fare. “Looks like you got your exercise today,” he chuckled. Once I relaxed, I responded “I already went to the gym today,” I said. “Oh really?!” he said.

I had mentioned I was getting ready to compete in a fitness competition. “Something I’ve always wanted do,” I said. He mentioned he started training for a similar competition but had stopped. “Why?” I asked.

“I didn’t have the time,” he said.

We pulled up to my stop. I was off running to my next connection. Most conversations I had with drivers were trivial at best. However, our conversation stayed in my mind. “I didn’t have the time,” kept repeating in my head. I found myself questioning whether or not I had the time to do something like this myself. I quickly pushed the thought away. “I am committed to this,” I said. “It’s important to me and I will make this happen.” I walked to my bus stop and made my connection. I looked forward to seeing my friends and discussing my future plans.

Making Time

“I don’t have the time…”

“I have so much to do….”

“I wish there were more hours in the day….”

I find myself saying these things all the time. Like others, I have tried doing what I can to optimize my time: to-do lists, prioritizing, cutting back, etc. When I was studying journalism, I asked mentors how they did it. “You just do,” they said.

In my post “You Are Valuable,” I discuss the importance of valuing our selves when others fail to see our value. It can be difficult because what we value others may not. Furthermore, we spend our time demonstrating our value. It can be disheartening when others fail to appreciate it. We also don’t get back our precious time.

In the same post, I talk about upholding our values. Which means we have to stand up for what we believe in. This can be difficult and at times not fruitful. Others may be too busy to notice or they may not want to give you the time of day (no pun intended). However, how you spend your time is a true reflection of your values.

How You Spend Your Time

In the summer of 2017, I attended the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in New Orleans. I had launched Clever Jam Communications in the prior Fall and wanted to learn how to grow my business. I decided to go to the Media Related Task Force meeting to gain insight from fellow members.

I had the opportunity to sit with a woman who had been a NABJ member for many years. We’ll call her “Elle.” Elle also owned her own communications consulting business. I was excited to learn from her and tell her about Clever Jam. I had confided in her about juggling work, relationships, and a new business. She looked at me and paused before responding.

“You need to know the DIP method,” she said. “You need to be deliberate, intentional, and protective of your time.” She told me I was “doing too much.” I didn’t realize I was wasting my time.. Admittedly, I felt hurt. I didn’t want to let people down. I wasn’t sure how Clever Jam was going to pan out so I hadn’t jumped in with both feet. It felt easier to advocate and work hard for others than it did for myself. After our conversation I felt better and more determined than ever.

I came back home to Seattle and created a new plan. I decided by Summer 2018, I would leave my job. I ended friendships that should have been ended years ago. I committed myself to Clever Jam. I told myself I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. When June of 2018 came along, I left my job. I was excited because business for Clever Jam started picking up.

Till this day, I live my life by the ‘DIP’ method. I wished I’d known about it sooner. It forces me to look at how I am spending my time. Yes, it can be hard juggling everything but I no longer feel adrift. I feel more in control and purposeful. Because of this I feel more happier in my life.

We all get the same amount of hours each day. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet? Why not? What is stopping you?!

In my next blog post, I will be talking about building relationships through social media.

Until next time….