I’ve felt like recording some thoughts on why our undivided attention matters so much in building a small business. I’ve had more time to think than I’ve had for a while in March and I realised that I really want to give myself more spaciousness in my work. Not only because it feels nice, but also because it simply is a more effective way of being in the world. Here is what I talked about:
- How I decluttered my home, digital space and business
- Where I see the value in giving undivided attention to some things and not to others
- Where I am at after leaving social media for good three months ago
- What I think we need in order to be able to learn, create and adapt now and in the future
Here is the Questioning Social Media Class I mentioned: https://yarrowdigital.com/questioning-social-media-class/
You can sign up for the free web design workshop on April 13th here: https://yarrowdigital.com/intro-do-diy-web-design-workshop/
and here is more info as well as the waitlist for the Embodied Business Community: https://yarrowdigital.com/diy-business-school/
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⋒ Hi, my name is Yarrow and I am your host.
My Embodied Business podcast explores what it means to build a small business with integrity, joy and anti capitalist values. I interview other small business owners and offer solo episodes in which I am answering questions around tech, strategy, more ethical marketing and creative livelihoods.
You can learn more about my web design, tech support, mentoring and community offerings at YarrowDigital.com
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Hey, my name is Yarrow and you’re listening to the embroidery business podcast. Thank you for joining me for Easter weekend, Happy Easter, if you’re celebrating, I’m, I’m just home. Because I am most of the time these days, my leg is healing well, and I had some time today after hanging out in the garden. And so it’s actually this episode has been on my mind to record a few weeks now. And I think it’s time. So I want to talk about why your undivided attention is so precious. And before I do, I just want to make a few announcements. The first one is, if you haven’t heard, on April 13, I’m running a free workshop on getting started with your web design project. I’m very excited about this. And one of the things I think that this accident I’ve had an epidemic and generally has changed in my business is that I want to make good web design more accessible. And that’s always been important to me, of course, but I think there’s been so many more people this past year who either want to bring their blog to the next level or start something completely new, or just express themselves in a way that they hadn’t before. And not everyone necessarily needs to work with me one on one. And that’s cool. But I have re recorded my web design and branding courses. And I’m excited to share this workshop as a preview, you’re 100% welcome to come and check that out even if you don’t want to take the pay process. But I really hope that it’s going to give you a good foundation, an overview of different software systems, the chance to ask me anything and meet other like minded people and just kind of have an opportunity to map out your web design project and get clear on what you want from it so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming. The other announcement is that on April 12, the embodied business community is opening 15 spots. That happens three times a year, it’s a year long group experience. And it’s a programme that I’ve been running for three years now, really proud to say that I really do feel it’s become better this year. Because I have we recorded the course for example, I’ve just done a big feedback round with everyone who’s currently in the programme. And people seem to love it. And I’ve been able to add more things like co working spaces, a better archive for for our recorded workshops from the last two years. And just generally, I think it’s it’s become easier to navigate and better to take in. So that’s really cool. Because we see, we want to implement and have things be effective and not just kind of swimming an endless stream of information overload. That’s really important to me. So yeah, you can get on the waitlist. I’ll link to that in the show notes. And please consider joining us, the price is $360, you can pay in instalments if you like. And that gets you a whole year of membership, including our course, the monthly group coaching calls, the monkey themed workshops, co working spaces, Monday, accountability pose, the network on mighty networks and many other things. And I really think it’s an amazing package. If you are in the first say three years of your business, you want more company and more strategy support a bit of tech training space to ask your question, and most importantly, to connect with other people who are in the same boat as you. Okay, so let’s talk about your undivided attention and why it is so precious. I’ve come to think about this a lot in March because a client project that was scheduled for that time was rescheduled for summer. And I kind of jumped at the chance to not rebook something immediately but taking a bit of time off, a to recover because I’m still having a physio therapy and just a lot of healing to do with my leg. And also because I felt like I hadn’t really, through the pandemic had a chance to fully step back from my work and take more of a bird’s eye view. And obviously, that is something that I’m preaching all the time. So I should really be listening to my own guidance. I do believe it’s so important that we make regular time and space to work on our businesses and not just in them. And that is often easier said than done. If especially if you have other commitments, or when you’re just starting out.
It’s tricky to do and I feel most of most of the time, I have a really good rhythm of taking time every week and every month to really check in with myself and to see how my projects are developing. When I add with my cash flow, what’s happening next and so forth. But it’s not very often I have a whole month of client work, where I really dive super deep and think about the next year to come. So moving forward, I’m actually going to do that. Every March now, and March seems like a great time of the year because you’re transitioning out of winter into spring. So you kind of, for me, at least, you’re emerging out of your winter cave, and this deep reflection, and rest, and then this is tingling feeling of wanting to go out there and share with the world again. So yeah, I’m excited to see how that’s gonna play out. But that’s a really big commitment that I’m definitely making. And so yeah, not being distracted that month, has really allowed me to do so many things that I have been having kind of at the back of my head for a while now. So for example, as I mentioned, in the last episode, I touched every single piece of content, I re recorded all my courses. And there’s four of them at the moment. I also captured all of them, which was a lot of work. I mean, that was a lot of work. But it was so worth it. And I mapped out my next launch, which is coming up in April now for the live round of the web design course in May, and then the embroidery business community, I also really looked at restructuring my web design packages, I moved that around a little bit. And now offering a website and a day package. And then there’s the Do It Yourself chorus, I finally put up an affiliate page, you can find it out under get started. And it’s called what I things I use in my business. And the thing is, it’s you know, people ask me for recommendations all the time when it comes to software. And I had kind of shaved my legs here and there, but never had one place that I could send people to. And I think that’s because on some level, I didn’t really feel totally sure about affiliate marketing. I’ve been in other people’s funnels or newsletter sequences that felt so intense where they were just everyday reaching out to promote high end programmes that felt really overpriced to me. And I think that made me hesitate to put my own affiliate links up. But having had this deep focus now I really sat with this question. I was like, you know, in a way, that’s really silly, because people literally ask me for recommendations, signing up through mailing doesn’t cost them any more. The only person that I quoted, the only kind of entity that pays for this, or for me getting a lot of money from these things being used is the bigger tech company. And actually, I think I quite like the idea that bigger companies support smaller businesses by allowing them to become affiliates. There’s certainly more to say about that. And it’s not perfect as as nothing really is under capitalism. But I came to the conclusion that I’m totally happy to have this recommendation page. And it’s already made me a bit of money. And that’s given me a bit of headspace. And that’s making my work better. And that means I can make more free stuff and show up more in my community. And those are all really great outcomes. So yay. And I needed undivided attention to really get to that conclusion. And I bet that this stuff in your business as well that maybe you just haven’t really had a chance to really think about yet. And so how can we reclaim some of that attention span. I also left social media at the end of last year, I did a big break in 2019 of six months, but I now deleted my profiles for good. I am on Pinterest, which I don’t consider to be social media. I think to me, that is a visual search platform. And I share pins for my podcast episodes on there. But it’s all pre scheduled. So I don’t really need to hang out and kind of monitor that it’s a very different feeling. And it doesn’t feel as distracting as Instagram did. There’s still so much love I have for the time that I did spend on Instagram, I met amazing people, I was distracted in ways that I really needed at the time. And I got a lot of inspiration that was kind of bite sized. And that was good for me sometimes. And and also there came a point now where I just realised it was taking too much of my time and attention. I had this feeling of often comparing myself and never really doing enough or posting enough. And so I decided it was time to really leave for good. And if you want to hear more about that story and explore that for yourself, I have just recorded a class called question questioning social media,
which is 45 minutes long, it costs $13 and you can find that on your digital COMM And I hope that’s a resource for people. That isn’t dogmatic, because I’m really not in any way saying that. We should all leave social media or that there’s nothing good to gain from it. But I think social media is a really big piece to consider when you’re thinking about expanding your attention span and investing kind of more deep focus into your business and I would recommend if you are curious about how much you’re actually using it to use an app like zenscreen, for example, where you can track how much time you’re spending on the different apps. And that might be really insightful. I know that for me, that really just blew my mind, basically. And then, of course, the documentary on Netflix, this social dynamic, I watched it twice now. And it’s been really eye opening to think about how our attention has become this commodity that’s being traded, and how nothing is really free. In that sense, I think we, we tend to think or that’s something I heard in the beginning of my business a lot, you know, like social media is free marketing. But actually, you’re paying with your attention and with your free content. And that might be worth it for you. But it’s good to be really intentional and clear about. The other thing that I’ve done in March is to Marie Kondo my whole life and my business, basically. So if you don’t know Marie Kondo has written several books, one of which is called the life changing Magic of Tidying Up. And I think she’s super sweet and has so much to share about why decluttering can be really powerful. I think for me, there are some pieces missing and her approach that I would love to talk more about, for example, why some of us just find it harder to let go than others, how we can recycle things better, and how that maybe shifts our relationship to the way we consume. I think that’s really important. But anyway, this is her book and her resources are definitely great if you’re, if you’re feeling attracted to this idea of decluttering, as well. And I did my whole fad again, which To be fair, it’s not big, and I don’t have a tonne of stuff, because I’ve done this process many times before. But the idea is basically that you touch every single piece of stuff that you have, and you decide if it gives you joy or not. And if it doesn’t, then it goes. And I think I also I always learned so much about myself and where I’m at in my life when I do this. And I’m happy to say that I have never missed anything that I’ve let go of and that process, which can be something that people worry about. And I think that’s understandable. But I just treasured the things that I do have and the stuff that I’ve kept so much more and I feel more clarity in my life overall, which I really appreciate. And I did the same thing on my MacBook, I deleted 70 gigabytes of information. And I can’t even really say what that was to be totally honest, I think a big piece was a lot of downloads that I never really deleted from my downloads folder, a lot of kind of audio recordings, I really didn’t need any more dub, dub, the kids have images and videos for examples, I really took a day to the clutter or that and I have so much bicycle, and it’s amazing. And then finally my business. So really looking at my processes and the systems I have in place. I switched my contract invoicing, bookkeeping, and forms to 17 hats, which they had a really great deal last year. And so I took advantage of that. And I might step a bit easier, and also just really touching every single piece of content every way that we express ourselves every way that we work with people again, and asking if it gives us joy. And of course, you know, those things sometimes have a functionality beyond joy, we need to make money. That’s, you know, no question. But you, I think there’s still something to gain from the clarity of knowing that a piece or a thing that you’re doing in your business is just to make your money and not to give you joy. And that’s information at least right? Like maybe you can change that right now or not immediately. Or maybe it’s not the time to let that go yet. Or maybe there isn’t a budget to hire that out. But just to touch I really hold in your hand and say, Hmm, actually doing my emails is not something that gives me joy. And I would let that go if I could afford that.
And that’s something that I’m working towards. Or maybe there’s really gentle acceptance and you’re like, it doesn’t really give me joy, but I can see it as a piece in the bigger picture. And that’s why I’m just keeping a holding that for now. And I’ll revisit a year from now to see it how it feels then that was really interesting for me to do and I think an overall theme in relationship to my attention span and why I really realised how precious that is, is also eliminating those micro decisions. So even small stuff like when is the time to publish the next episode, by the way that is when I feel like it. But what underwear Am I gonna wear today so I bought a big set of really soft, organic underwear So I’m pretty much learning the same stuff every day. At this point in the pandemic, I’m just owning that loungewear is where it’s at. I mean, we’ve known that for a long time. I love these jokes around like, will we ever wear hard trousers again, I don’t think so. At least not me. But I’m just yeah, making myself more comfortable, because my life is in a lot of pain. And there was a necessity to that, that in a way, on some level, I do appreciate because it forced me to really think about what I value and feel good with. And it’s eliminated so many decisions for my life that I didn’t need to make every day. And that cleared up more space for me to really dive deep and focus. And, and put my attention where I wanted to be. I’m going to say something that sounds a bit cliche. And I just really don’t have a better way of talking about this yet. But it’s also given me a chance to slow down and realise where we’re speeding unnecessarily, in my business like and we, I think we all have these feelings. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t done enough or like, this isn’t quite perfect, or the way I wanted it yet. And I think the more I really got intentional with my intention, the more I realised where that wasn’t necessary to feel. And it slowed me down in a really positive way. And the other thing that felt true for me was that expanding my attention span, from from just calling on my phone all the time to actually being able to read a full book in a week or watch your whole film without being on my phone at the same time was that I’m better able to learn, adapt and be creative. And these the things, if I’ve learned anything from the pandemic are so important for our businesses to thrive into the future, whatever future that is, right. Being able to learn new stuff, and being able to be rested enough to be creative and adapt to change, that’s going to be the most important thing, I think beyond the pandemic, for the rest of our lives in our businesses. And that has so much to do with attention span and our undivided attention. And then finally, I think it really allowed me also to celebrate the things I have already done because I’m able to pay attention to them. So for example, I starting having started a blog six years ago now having these older pieces that I’ve updated, was like, oh, wow, yeah, you know, like, this has been a long time in the making. This has been not been an overnight thing. And that’s, that’s good. I think when we’re speeding, we so often just run past all the beautiful things we have already created. And actually could really spend more time just, you know, logist revelling in this feeling of like, this blue might want to do Yes, and I always have more ideas, but I have also have already done some stuff. Well done, you know. So I hope you get to pause this spring as well and just to feel but grateful for what you have already done and to appreciate your undivided attention and where you put it. I think that can be so powerful. Okay, I think that’s all I wanted to share. But I will say again, please join us for a free workshop on April 13. Check my course on questioning social media out if you like and get on the waitlist for the embody business community, if that’s interesting to you by