Bored African American woman surfing the Internet.

I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired…

Hey guys it’s been a while. I’ve had a lot on my plate these days with teaching, school and building my brand as a community servant…it’s been real y’all, but I’m learning to embrace the struggle as a sign of growth. I’ve sulked less, complained less, cried less and I feel less overwhelmed and it’s because I’ve learned to push through whatever it is that I’m feeling.

Anyways…throughout my day as a teacher, I often times will sit in on a class and observe a teacher for tips on how to deliver my lessons and classroom management techniques and I sit in with the music production teacher. He was giving a lesson on the different genres of music we listen to the most. When he got to the gospel genre, he played a snippet of Mary Mary’s “Can’t Give Up Now” and asked the students why a song like that would be categorized at a gospel song and the students said a variety of answers such as “the song had an inspiring message” or “the piano on the song had a church feel to it.” He then asked the students if they knew the original name of the song that version was sampled from. They didn’t. He told them it was “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired.” Growing up in church I’ve heard several renditions of that song, but what was interesting was how he framed it in a way that related back to the black struggle and our ancestry.

He asked the students to share a time in black history where our people could relate to this song and after a bit of prompting the students said slavery. He expressed to them that during Harriet Tubman’s journey with the Underground Railroad she would often kill those who were too weak to finish the journey, who got overwhelmed with fear and were a risk factor, or who became too sick to finish the journey…he said think about why you’re here? Think about the people in your lineage that didn’t get tired, who were strong and who pushed through. I was immediately inspired by that message.

The lines of the by Mary Mary song goes: I just can’t give up now/come too far from where I started from/nobody told me the road would be easy/I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me. 

I’m adopting that chorus as my anthem for the remainder of the year because with everything on my plate, there are times when I just really want to drop the ball on some things and just breathe, but I find that the reward always comes from the push through.

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Creating a Fall Routine for Maximum Productivity

Summer is soon coming to an end. Late nights, long weekends, beach dates, outdoors festivals will soon be closing shop until next time. Pretty soon we’ll be pulling out our parkas, a light hat, fall scarves, boots and pumpkin spice everything will be making its yearly debut. Thinking about the many hats that I wear (educator, writer, freelancer, grad student) I know that my time will be valuable. So lately I’ve been obsessed with all things that scream organization. Go figure right? The scatterbrain has found the beauty in organization.

Beware of the "Pile Up" caused by massive loads of procrastination and lack of productivity

Beware of the “Pile Up” caused by massive loads of procrastination and lack of productivity

I started by thinking of the “staples” of my life, the absolutely unchangeable such as work, pitching three stories a week, and of course meeting those grad school deadlines. Those are the things that must be handled on a daily basis. Breaking it down further, is factoring what and how much time I am going to spend on working on my book and setting deadlines for myself with my freelance job and making sure I stay on top of my grad school deadlines. For someone who absolutely hates routines there were multiple reasons for me putting myself on a time-table. I tend to be a scatter brain at time, if I don’t write down everything I have to do and give myself a deadline, it will get done whenever I get to it which leaves room for missed deadlines, forgetting important tasks and suffering the consequences of a pile up. It was also due to financial reasons. As an entrepreneur, money is a revolving door. It’s constantly coming and going to cover important expenses and this summer proved to me that I have a spending problem and need to learn how to budget more wisely, but more importantly, I need to learn how to save and that’s the plan. I have plans of travel and relocating and I can’t do that on a tight budget.

Life can’t be all work though and no play so when planning and organizing your weekly schedule make sure you leave time for leisure. Don’t feel you have to skip out on those kickboxing classes or miss happy hour with your friends because you’ve created such a tight work schedule. You will burn yourself out if you think all work will lead to maximum productivity.

Building a brand, maintaining a full time job. being in school again and freelancing while also trying to be social can cause a lot of physical wear and tear. You miss out on important sleep trying to hang which causes work productivity to dwindle. While I know my method isn’t for everyone, this is how I am choosing to map out my fall. I need to be more disciplined and systematic about the steps I take. So I found myself searching the web for the perfect agenda and here are a few:

Passion Planner, (prices vary)

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This planner is awesome because it has a monthly, weekly and daily layout in one. It also helps you set monthly goals and at the end of each month offers space to write monthly reflections on those goals that you set. It allows you to map out everything from school to work to daily life and has a section to write out a three year plan and life plan. Click here to purchase.

Erin Condren’s Life Planner (prices vary)

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100% customizable, this planner also comes in a monthly and weekly format. The pages are removable and one you run out of pages for the year you can refill your planner for the next year. This planner comes with stickers, and decorations to make it that more personal. The only thing I didn’t like about these planners is that they are a bit on the pricey side and as a left handed person, I find ringed notebooks, books and journals to be difficult to write on. Purchase your LifePlanner here. 

Moleskine Planners (prices vary)

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I am a Moleskine addict. I love all the different colors and varieties they come in. I’m a stickler for all things yellow. This planner also comes in a monthly and weekly format. They are pretty simple and straight forward and aren’t customizable, but a few do some with decorative stickers depending on if you purchase a limited edition. Purchase a Moleskine here.

Field Notes Planner (prices vary)

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So easy a caveman can do it…this planner is as simple as simple gets. It comes in a weekly format so that you can write out your agendas in detail and it’s extremely pocket sized so it will fit anywhere…even in your designer clutch. Purchase your Field Notes planner here.

Don’t get caught up in the case of the pile ups this fall as you return back to school…or work.

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Why I Don’t Want to Be a Dating & Relationships Writer Anymore…

10402885_10153104856801997_1167179388693634504_nWhen I first started this blog, I had already written and published my first book which was a somewhat autobiographical account of my many experiences and lessons learned in the areas of friendship, dating, my spiritual process, self-acceptance and my climb on the career ladder. I had also picked up my first paid freelance writing gig with Madame Noire. I was writing therefore I was in my element, but somewhere along the way I became branded a dating and relationships writer for the publication and at first it was cool. I had a load of experiences in dating and writing about it allowed me the vulnerability I needed to heal from my own past disasters.

But back to my blog, when I first started this blog, it was supposed to be a continuation of my book, but I didn’t know how to frame things other than sharing experiences of my own, but when I was featured in Quirky Brown Love’s 200+ Black Bloggers List as an “inspirational” blogger it dawned on me that I had to a story to share…stories…and I can share them and frame them in a way that offers solutions and empowerment to those reading them. So I began to do that on my blog, but since Madame Noire had the larger readership I figured I would shift my content there as well, but when pitch days came, I wasn’t getting the feedback that I hoped for. My inspirational stories were often trashed and the dating trends and topics took precedence over everything.

I’m currently going through a transitional phase in my life. I am a recovering over lover, I’ve taken a step back from dating so that I can actually focus on living my life and as I was updating my Digital Portfolio a few days ago, I noticed that other than dating, there wasn’t much substance to my Madame Noire writings. I mean sure I’ve covered other topics, but generally it was all dating, all sex, all relationships…and here I am still single. So I thought, maybe it’s time you focus on something else Dej.

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So I’ve been building. I’ve been working on something that will be of direct service to you all. I’ve been more cognizant of my content and I’ve decided that I don’t want to be a dating and relationships writer anymore. I want more substance, more inspiration, more empowerment, more encourage for women to build themselves and each other up. I don’t want to write about love and dating and sex anymore. I want to write and share inspirational stories of things that matter.