I use the phrase “protect your time” a lot when I’m talking to prospects and clients. It’s a pretty clear phrase, and useful for helping people understand what we do, but something happened when I used it today.
I started thinking about what it truly means to protect something, or to be a protector.
If a person decided to take an old cardboard box from my recycling bin on the curb, I will do exactly zero things to protect that box.
If my child drops a grape on the ground and my dog starts going for it, I will dive across the floor without a second thought to protect my dog from poisoning.
If my child is in danger, I would happily die to protect her.
As humans, we can get pretty active to protect something that matters to us….and those immediate, visceral reactions tell us a lot about where something lands on the priority ladder.
It makes me ask myself the question – how quick am I to protect my time?
How far will I go to protect my time for creative work?
What am I willing to do to protect my time for rest?
What will I happily sacrifice for time with my family?
Where does it land as a priority?
That leads to another question. Protection is by its nature “against” something, isn’t it? Protection is about holding back the darkness. So when we protect our time, what, or who, are we protecting it from?
Turns out, it’s a lot of things. Many people, companies, and even machines are asking for your time and attention constantly.
I watched the Social Dilemma a few weeks ago, and a section stood out to me, when a man revealed the big question undergirding every social network: “How much time can we get you to spend? How much of your life can we get you to give to us?”
We all have that protective instinct in us. My homework for you this week is this: think about what it would look like if you saw your time as worthy of that protective instinct. What matters to you? What do you need? And then, how can you protect it?