Pattern Shift

#64 - Transform Your Small Business Mindset with the Power of Decluttering

June 23, 2023 Saskia de Feijter Season 3 Episode 64
Pattern Shift
#64 - Transform Your Small Business Mindset with the Power of Decluttering
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Ready to conquer that overwhelming clutter and skyrocket your small business productivity? Join me, Saskia de Feijter, as I reveal the secret to unlocking your mental clarity and focus through decluttering your workspace. Say goodbye to the myth that creative chaos fuels inspiration and discover how tidying up can actually boost your motivation and creativity.   

In this PatternShift episode, we dive into the life-changing Konmari philosophy and William Morris's quote as powerful tools to declutter and maintain an organised workspace. Be prepared to transform your mindset for business success, and learn the importance of looking beyond physical tasks and nurturing a supportive environment. Don't miss out on these actionable tips and expert insights that can elevate your business to new heights!

FULL SHOWNOTES WITH TAKEAWAYS

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BEST QUOTE FROM THE EPISODE

"Mindset is an important factor in achieving a clutter-free workspace and creating healthy work habits."

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Speaker 1:

As small business owners, we do everything and we do it all at the same time. We drain our energy and ask ourselves this question often How do I get more focused so I can do the work that actually grows my business? Welcome to PatternShift. I am Sasketa Feiter and I'm excited to talk to you about the topic of doing focused work. Day-to-day life as a creative business owner can be very lonely and overwhelming, leaving no time to actually grow your business. The PatternShift podcast gives you business insights and actionable tips to help you rise out of that day-to-day swamp and start to become more visible and move your business forward. In this 30-minute episode, i'll inspire you to change your mindset, turn thinking into doing, and have you doing focused work by tomorrow. If you're listening while doing the laundry, waiting outside the swimming pool for your kids to finish their lessons, or while walking the dog, remember to go to PatternShiftfm to have a look at the show notes and sign up for more actionable business tips and tricks in your mailbox.

Speaker 1:

There's an easy way to make a big change, and that is decluttering, cleaning up your space to help you clean up your mind. At the same time And I know, before you start saying anything, i actually know what you're thinking. But wait, i'm a creative person. I need this stuff around me, i need the clutter, i need this for inspiration. It's who I am, it's the core of my being, and I cannot change. Well, that's kind of unraveled out a little bit, shall we? And another thing you might be thinking is I don't even have time to do this. I have much more important stuff to do than to spend hours cleaning up, decluttering and organizing my space. And one other thing cleaning out and decluttering is that even business advice? I mean, i know this already. How hard can it be? Well, my answer to that is are you? Are you organized? Have you tried it? Have you done it, and how are you feeling about it? If you have, that's great. Then come back next time for more business advice. That might be more applicable to you. But if you are in your space surrounded by clutter, if you're constantly distracted and your computer has a desktop that resembles a Greek mosaic more than anything else, then I urge you to stay and listen and see what you can get out of this short and actionable episode.

Speaker 1:

I understand that you might not think you have time to declutter and keep things tidy. However, i will show you why taking the time to do so is important. So I'm sure that you find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about what you need to do than actually doing it. One way to work with this is that you start organizing your workspace, setting aside time to declutter and organize your space. You will be able to turn those thoughts into actions, and I'm sure you've felt that cluttered spaces can make you also feel cluttered in your mind. It might not be that you fully accept that's what's happening, but if you think about it and if you pause in the moment, you will find that when you enter a tidy and empty room or not empty, but a tidy and decluttered room has such a different effect on you than when you enter a chaotic and cluttered room. So the mindset is really important, and we'll talk about that later. And I know how I don't know frivolous It might sound when I'm talking about decluttering, and it also kind of sounds like this is such a daw thing that how am I spending a whole podcast episode about it? Well, we'll get into that.

Speaker 1:

There are so many studies and articles available online that support the idea that a clean workspace can lead to increased productivity and mental clarity. So this is not just me talking from experience. There's actually a bunch of research done about this topic And it's very interesting and also very simple and logical. Look around you What does your workspace actually look like And what is your excuse? Okay, so let's get this going Well. I've done a little research and some articles talk about a clean workspace. That really can lead to increased productivity, but also mental clarity. That's a huge thing, right? Productivity is very important for us people in business, but mental clarity my gosh, that goes beyond. So decluttering can help reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, even anxiety, and it can really help to improve your focus and your concentration. And I don't know about you, but my mind, like, goes in every which way it can if I don't give it some constraints and boundaries, and having a clear workspace really really helps with that. It also really helps you prioritize and manage time more effectively. As we will see, cleaning and organizing really also can help to boost your creativity and your motivation.

Speaker 1:

I get so itchy when people say, yes, but I'm creative. I need my space to be cluttered, because that's where I get my inspiration. I think that's a whole lot of what shall we call it? I don't think that's true. I think that it's an excuse, and inspiration does not come from crap. Inspiration comes from insights, connections, beautiful things, and a cluttered workspace doesn't offer those things. Unless your project is about clutter, i'll give you that much. If you are working with the main topic of clutter and chaos, then I'll let you go. Otherwise, i think it's just an excuse. So, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers, 82% of people feel more productive in an organized workspace. So I guess the other ones are those people working on the topic of chaos. Another study found that the average person wastes 4.3 hours a week searching for papers and items on a cluttered desk 4.3 hoursa week How much is that a month? How much is that a year?

Speaker 1:

By simply taking the time to declutter and organize your workspace, you could potentially save yourself hours and hours and hours of time. And it's not hard. And I know you feel a little bit like I would. I mean, if somebody told me, like go and declutter your workspace, i'm like yeah, um, but have you done it? Are you doing it? That's the point, right. So I'll share my personal experience with you.

Speaker 1:

I think 10 years ago is when I first read Marie Kondo's book and I did a whole bunch of work and it was wonderful and it really worked. But then the years crapped on and I wasn't able to do it specifically as she teaches it. So do the whole house room by room. No, not actually not room by room, but topic by topic. And I wasn't able to do it because I had two young kids, i had my own business and I couldn't get it done. I couldn't get it done at the time. So I firmly believe in flexing muscles, trying the same thing a bunch of times before you say this is not for me. I'm also kind of sometimes allergic when people say that this is not for me. My immediate response to this is have you really tried? And I know I should be more gentle with that, but you know we all have our characters.

Speaker 1:

And so what happened is a couple of years went by and then we were moving house. The first lockdown started. I closed my shop and I had to move a house or the whatever was in the house. The house was actually the only thing that stayed and whatever was in my shop? 12 years of compiling stuff, so much stuff. It was everywhere. And the thing was it was only me and my Oh husband now Still getting used to that. It was only me and my husband and there was no help because everybody was in their homes and we needed to figure it out. So, luckily, i was in this accountability group for a course that I was taking at the time, an online course. Three years on, we are still very dear friends. That was it.

Speaker 1:

It's an amazing group of people and at the time, one of them, nadja. She used to be a Maricondo what is it? Consultant expert for a little while and she knew even more about the philosophy I'd like to call it a philosophy because I think ever since the Netflix series, people kind of chuckle about the whole Maricondo thing. But I think the philosophy and the way this whole process goes, it just works. It really works. It's smart, it really really works. So Nadja, who was a professional, she offered to give us a course and keep us accountable. We could keep each other accountable because everybody was at home and everybody had a reason for doing this and I needed it. I needed support in doing all this work, basically by myself. I really got the time and the practice and flexing all those Konmari muscles and I got it done and it was a huge feat. I'm so proud of what I did and I was exhausted by the end of it absolutely.

Speaker 1:

But to this day it's been super easy for me to tidy things up because this house now has a system. It also has two teenagers and a man, which makes it harder. But things have their place and try not to let too much stuff get in the house that is not beautiful or useful, and useful is not the right word. I like to mix the Konmari philosophy with William Morris's quotes where he says don't keep anything in your house if it's not beautiful or useful. And useful is like a pen is useful, but do you need a gazillion pens? No, so let's call that necessary. I think necessary is better. So after doing this whole tidying process, it's now really a lot easier for me to keep things tidy.

Speaker 1:

However, that doesn't mean that things don't get messy. They really do. As I said, we have two teens in the house and they use their philosophy's gravity Just drop your things and that's it. Drop them where at the moment that you think I don't need this or I see something else, and they just drop it wherever And for some reason. And Do I have to be careful. Can I be honest here? For some reason that also happens to my husband. He does the same thing and he will tell you that it's not true, but it is. But what I then do is, first of all, i'll let them clean up their things and tidy up their own things. But if they're not there and I need the space to be calm and inspiring then I don't have much trouble putting things in their place, because everything has a place and we don't have that much crap. Okay, so that is my story. That is how I do things and how things work.

Speaker 1:

If I look at my desk now, i have my bullet journal. I have a little vase that holds the pens that I actually use. I have a book that I'm reading, a motivational post-its, and two water bottles because it's really hot, oh, and my phone. It's really easy at the end of the day, just close up my bullet journal, put the pen that I was using back into the little vase and take the water bottles and bring them to the kitchen. So it's pretty easy.

Speaker 1:

And also the drawers of my desk. You can hear them. I have an old mid-century wooden desk that has really hefty drawers, and they are also organized in terms of types of things, so washi tape, envelopes, all of that. They're in little containers and it's really easy to put things back, because when you open the drawer, you can see where everything is. So there you go, all right. So that was me.

Speaker 1:

Obviously, i had to make a change and I spent days, weeks to get it done, and I'm fully aware that you might not have that time at the moment. I also hope that you feel inspired to do something, so I don't want to overwhelm you by saying you should do your whole house all at once. No, i'm going to offer you some thoughts and ideas of what you can do at this moment, and we are focusing now on the workspace. So just start at your desk, your sewing table, your shop's till, the work table where you teach. Choose the space where you need to get your most focused work done. So, if you take your laptop to a space to sit and work, choose the spot that you sit most and kind of look at it. Why do you sit there? Is it because it's nice and tidy? Is the lighting great? Is the seating comfortable And what does the space around you look like? Is could it be a little bit more tidy or not Just focusing on the space where you need your most focused work done, and it's just important to get going. So I'm going to give you some steps, how you can go through this, and I guess you already know all of this, but it's still important and we'll get to the point of why it actually is important. So look at the items that are in that space. If you can put them all no, not if you can you really should take them all from that space and put them on a pile or another table, or, if it's a table, put them all together And then you sort them, you go through them.

Speaker 1:

Pens go with pens, paperwork goes on top of paperwork, so you have a stack and so on and so forth. Now this is so important and don't giggle, because it is so true Look at every single item and hold the item for a while, feel it, look at it. Do you love it? Is it necessary? Again, do you know how wonderful it is to write with a pen that you love, instead of just grabbing one of the dozen pens and chucking one every time you find out that it's not working? The difference between using a pen that is your beautiful, wonderful pen, or that whole thing of grabbing a pen and finding out it doesn't work, putting it back where you got it from, finding another one and then going through that whole process again the next day. come on, it makes so much sense just to get a beautiful pen, or choose from all the pens you have and put the other ones out of their misery. Right, i'm just going to say it.

Speaker 1:

So, with the paper, look at the paper work, and it's sometimes so easy. There's so much stuff in there that's easy to throw out and everything else. There should be a folder, a binder, something where you can keep your paper work in a tidy and organized way so that you can actually find it Every time you get new mail in. Take the whole puncture that should be in the spot where it makes sense, put some holes in it, put it in the binder and go on with your life. Right now, doing all of that, looking at everything, choosing what to keep and what not to keep, i want to talk about this thing.

Speaker 1:

I want to talk about this thing that always really kind of throws me. The thought of throwing things away is wasteful. And as I try to live a more sustainable life and as I try to do things better on a daily basis, it is so hard for me to throw things away that are perfectly usable, and this has been a whole process for me where I had to choose What to do. Some things are easy, like paperwork that can go, and that is not private information, just recycle. But if you have looking at my water bottles here, if you have five water bottles and three of them are ugly and still useful, but you only use your pretty one or you only need your pretty one that is functional as well, not just beautiful, functional as well Then what do you do with three ugly water bottles that are still useful?

Speaker 1:

There is different ways that you can approach that. You can make that into a whole different project where you talk to all your neighbors and ask if they need one, go to a soccer club, ask if they need one, but to me that sounds really unnecessary. So, having some boxes for recycling, gifting, donating, but then also don't make it into too big of a deal. So find one spot that you can donate a whole bunch of different items to. Don't make every single item a project, because that will drain you, that will not give you the energy you need to get this done.

Speaker 1:

Another thing to focus on is you come before those items. You come first, so just sit with it. If you feel this whole vibe coming on and you're like, oh, this is so wasteful, just sit down and start thinking I am more important than this crap is. I will do my best to recycle and find new homes, but there is an end to it. I need focused and I will not get that in a cluttered space. So I need to come first Okay, that's important And then just promise yourself to stop buying or accepting things that are not beautiful or useful to you. It is a practice and it's totally doable to learn these skills and you will get better over time, although I haven't fully mastered the skill of not accepting gifts that are not useful or beautiful to me. So I will be the in-between station where I say thank you so much And then from there, i will try to gift it to somebody else. I don't need it in my house and it's okay. It's about the giving, and that is something that is still hard for me to do, but I'm learning. I always think of Rachel and friends. She cannot receive a present because she doesn't like anything, and that was so funny. As you're thinking, i really don't need to learn how to clear space. All that you were saying I already knew. So I think you do, and I want to say it's not so much about tidying We've been talking about the actual action of tidying but it's more about mindset.

Speaker 1:

If you offer yourself the gift of a few hours to do a thing that can provide you with more focus time, aka just more time to do good work, it sets you up for a mindset that is really healthy in business. What actions can you take to make your work more efficient, more fruitful? It's so much about that mindset of taking more time to decide what to do next, what is going to be most helpful to move your business forward, and taking some hours to clean your workspace is one of those things and maybe one of the first things that you can do. That is actually, yes, not that hard, maybe even really easy to do. So quick win for you do this and you'll feel inspired to do better work. Let me just rephrase that one more time. So if you don't think you have a couple of hours to improve the state of your workspace and your work, it will be harder to ever improve bigger things. We need to start small. We train that muscle until we get better. We need to get in that mindset.

Speaker 1:

So, moving on to the state of a clean and lean workspace, now indulge me, close your eyes. Imagine coming in the next morning after a day of hard, hard cleaning or a few hours. Come in the next morning when you start your work. What feeling comes up when you see that empty desk, the empty till the clear table In your mind. Now sit down and what happens? Where does your mind go? What would you have done sitting down at a full desk? What would you have felt at a full desk? And how is it different? I would say an empty desk with no distractions, because that's the key here. I don't know if you got that from all of this, but it's the no distractions part that is actually really important. An empty desk with no distractions will make it so much easier to work on routines and habits, and you kind of need those to move ahead.

Speaker 1:

So your bullet journal is there, with just one pen, that one beautiful pen I was talking about earlier, ready for you to plan your day. Your work table is ready to get going. Your mind finds the time to decide what's the project that needs the most attention, instead of just grabbing what's on top and quickly finish that scene and then moving into this whole thing hours forward. You kind of wake up and you're like, oh my god, this was not what I was meant to be doing today. A clean space gives you the time to focus, to execute a plan. It cuts out the time to be distracted from that plan. Yeah, writing that plan, that's for another episode. So go ahead, get a cloth, a little bit of lukewarm water, a little soapy soap. Put that to decide, have it ready for when you have made your pile. Sort it everything out, put things into the recycle gifts and donate boxes. Put everything in its own place, set the boxes at the door and move them out by the end of the week. And, oh yeah, do the cleaning with the little soapy soap and all of that. Do all of that too. It makes it smell nice, look good and you are ready to go.

Speaker 1:

I hope this episode really helped you to see the difference between tackling something that is seemingly easy and that actually has a much larger value than you would initially think. It's all about mindset. It's about how you look at yourself and how you look at your business, how you take yourself and your business seriously and how you care for yourself and your business. It's about much bigger things than just putting stuff in the bin. Go ahead, have fun with it And please show me the before and after pictures. Find my email on Patentshiftfm or leave me a voice message pushing the button on the episode show notes. And, while you dare, don't forget to sign up for more business tips and tricks in your mailbox. Remember that every stitch counts as we work together to create a Patentshift for you, for business, the crafters and the fashion industry.

The Importance of Decluttering for Productivity
Konmari Philosophy for Tidying Workspace
Mindset for Business Success