Focus and Priorities

In March, I've been reflecting and doing big picture business work to clarify my values, analyze how I spend my work days and figure out Yardia's focus and priorities. This month took the unexpected turn of looking at my business from a new perspective to discover its next path.

Beliefs and Values

At the beginning of the month, I began delving back into Yardia's five core values to reaffirm and further clarify how I'll use them to take the next leap I envision for the business.

Yardia’s values (nature, creativity, empathy, community and harmony) guide everything I do in business--from the art I create, to my approach to marketing, to the way I strategize for the future growth of the company, to my communication style and philosophy, and to the structures and boundaries that define the work day.

These are values that are embedded in my company and in my personal history: they're connected to my personal values, to the ancestral values of my CHamoru heritage, and to the Pacific Northwest culture in which I was raised.

Rediscovering the nuances of these values was a slow and deliberate process that involved a lot of mind-wandering, journaling, reading and research, and the slowness helped to stay rooted firmly in my foundations in order to grow upwards and outwards.

Learning curve

Delving into values and considering them within the structure of my word of the year, ease, helped me to see more clearly what my priorities need to be, and where I’d been stumbling along without intention.

I rediscovered how much mindset continued to play a role in either clouding or clearing my vision to let things be easeful. It’s like when the weather clears in Seattle and you suddenly realize that Mt. Rainier has been sitting there in front of us this whole time; we just couldn’t see it through the fog and rain.

mt rainier sticker

Sometimes it takes looking at a problem from a new angle and a willingness to experiment to find the solution.

Once I began to define my priorities and give my focused attention to them, solutions began to open up and sometimes even seemed to seek me out independently. All they needed were time and attention.⁠


And that leads me to this question: how do you think an artist spends her work day?

Long ago, I once had a student share with me that she wanted to be an artist when she grew up, so then she wouldn't really have to think about writing or the other school subjects she struggled with. I had to break it to her gently that I actually did way more writing and math in my job as an artist than I did in my job as her teacher.

So figuring out exactly how my work day breaks down using data was an eye-opener, even though I'd been the one experiencing it all. I tracked my time for about a week and a half and this was how my average work day broke down.

jobs pie chart

Shipping & Fulfillment: 38%
Admin, Tech Maintenance & Customer Service: 20%
Marketing: 18%
Meetings with Masterminds: 9%
Photography: 6%
Writing: 6%
Strategy Planning: 2%
Painting: 1%

Considering that my main goals for the year were to spend more time painting, writing and working on the bigger picture from an easeful position (i.e. the three things I spent the least amount of time on), this time data helped me to see that some priorities needed to change.

Focus and priorities

What became clear was that in order to create the ease I desired, I really needed to prioritize three things behind the scenes at Yardia: systems, automation and delegation.

So that's what I started focusing on: how I spent my work hours, researching automations, services and experts, documenting my processes and looking at what was currently getting lost in the shuffle.

Overall, it's been really valuable to prioritize this deep dive of my operations and processes, so that I can make strategic choices for me and Yardia in the future. Eventually, once the pandemic has eased (fingers crossed!) I'll most likely be looking for a part time shipping and fulfillment assistant to help me out in house (if you think this could be you or someone you know, feel free to email me) and in the nearer future, I'll be setting up some automations and hiring a virtual assistant to help me out with administrative work.

In the month of March, one of the biggest hurdles I learned to inch over was the need to trust and let go, and coming to the realization that Yardia had grown enough that I really couldn't do it all alone anymore without dropping the ball on some priorities. It was time to emerge from the previous chrysalis.

So now I'm taking time to re-learn the kinds of things I used to teach: how to embrace my own leadership style, how to hire slowly and with intention, how to understand my boundaries, and how to maintain a mindset of growth and a sense of grace through the ups and downs that will inevitably come up as I take the next step in my business. It’s been an exercise in creating intentional ease.