TBU Episode 34
[00:00:00] Shelley: So, hello friends. Thank you for joining Rowena and me on Two Booked Up today. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith, and today we're celebrating our one year podcast anniversary.
[00:00:16] Rowena: Yes, we are. It's been a year since we launched the Two Booked Up Podcast. So to mark this auspicious milestone, we are sharing some insights and reflections from our year of collaborative podcasting.
[00:00:29] Shelley: And sharing our favorite takeaways from the books and the ideas that we keep coming back to. So let's get started in this final episode of season two of Two Booked Up.
This is the Two Booked Up Podcast, where we talk about books,
[00:00:50] Rowena: The books that are challenging us to live more intentional lives
[00:00:54] Shelley: the books that are equipping us on our business and professional journeys.
[00:00:58] Rowena: and the books that delight and bring us joy.
[00:01:01] Shelley: So if you want to live life with more intention and you want to be doing work that brings you joy, then come and join the bookish conversation with me, Shelley Tonkin Smith.
[00:01:11] Rowena: And me, Rowena Mabbott here on two Booked Up.
So Shelly, in our last episode, we revisited the ideas we shared in our most popular episode of season two, episode 21. February is the New January. Our guiding words, we shared how those guiding words, or in my case phrase, have been guiding us and what impact or influence they've had in our personal lives as well as in our businesses.
[00:01:44] Shelley: Yes. And now today, this is our 34th episode of Two Booked Up. We are celebrating a full year since we started this podcast, and taking a bigger picture view, and then considering all the episodes we've aired, So we're going big and we're sharing our insights and our reflections as answers to some big questions.
So some of these have been questions that listeners have asked us and others are ones that we've used in our own behind the scenes process. So we are pulling back the curtain today on Two Booked Up, and the first question I'm gonna throw to you Ro is of all the books we read, which idea from those books stands out most for you?
[00:02:28] Rowena: Ah, such an easy one. Uh, it's the magic question, and the question is, what can I do now to make life easier later? Now, this question is from The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi. It is probably my biggest takeaway from that book. So for those of you who perhaps haven't listened to those episodes, they're episodes 6, 7, 8, and nine from season one. Now I use this phrase all the time, every single day. So it's transformed the way I work, like completely transformed the way I work, but it's even transformed how I cook. So I'll be walking to put the kettle on to make a cup of tea at 11:00 AM and I will get something ready for dinner. So like one thing, I'll pull a can of tomatoes out of the pantry and pop them on the bench. And then I feel like, haha, I've started dinner. Um, and the next time I go to make another cup of tea, I might get, you know, the onion out and pop it on the bench as well. So it's crazy, but it's all those tiny things that I can do now that make my life easier later.
It is such a brilliant question.
[00:03:31] Shelley: Yeah, I, I, I I love the magic question too. Uh, it's kind of the opposite of procrastination. So procrastination, you're pushing a task into the future. So instead of doing that, you actually pull in that task into the present. And I also find you handling something when you're probably more in the head space to do it.
So like, and you're like, you're there in the kitchen anyway. You are waiting for the case hold to boil. So you can just be in the head space of being in the kitchen and taking out a few things for dinner. And then when you do come to cook for dinner, it's not like, oh, what should I cook or whatever, and, and let me take all the things out.
You, and then you can just flow very easily into cooking dinner.
So, yeah, absolutely. It's a, it's a great one. And you know, I mentioned procrastination. I think for me, the big idea that really has sat with me. After this, recording year's worth of, of two Booked up episodes is that idea of procrastination specifically becoming a better procrastinator, and that was from Oliver Burkeman's book 4,000 Weeks, which we did in episodes 25, 26, and 27.
And this idea of we have to procrastinate some things, we can't do all the things, so we need to strategically procrastinate, strategically, put some things in the future so that we can free up space in the moment in the present to do the things that matter. So for me, that really captured me. I wrote a blog post about it.
I one day want to get a product out on it. Um, yeah, that really excited me, I think, because I do find myself procrastinating and then I berate myself for it, but now I don't have to.
[00:05:10] Rowena: I love that. And it is, it's about reframing, isn't it? And I love that you say it's like strategic procrastination. I think the word for our audience is intentional procrastination, where we say, well, we are intentionally choosing to leave this for later. And I think maybe my magic question and your idea, actually two bookends, they're almost like the two sides of the same coin.
So I love that. So I wanna also say the other book that really stood out for me, and I think. We've kept coming back to is The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, our very first book of season one. So that's episodes 1, 2, 3, and four. So even though we chose it, so you know, it was a deliberate choice I still feel it was an inspired choice for our first episodes as everything. In all the books we've read since then has been seen through the lens of the four tendencies, which has been inordinately helpful, and it has given us a great shorthand for talking to you, our listeners, but also understanding each other.
So knowing that I'm an upholder and you are a rebel, just by saying that we can kind of, there's a whole lot of implicit understanding and so it's been given, it's given us our own sort of shorthand or dialogue as well around that, which I just love.
[00:06:21] Shelley: Absolutely. I think the four tendencies needs to become some kind of psychological construct. You know, I know it's like just pop psychology as such, but I feel that Gretchen Rubin has discovered something so telling about human behavior there, in my humble opinion. Uh, yeah. So Four Tendencies is a great one and, and also felt.
There was this other common theme coming through with all of the books that we did, and this is this idea of gravitating towards things that matter. I mean, if I think about the Four Tendencies, It's that different things are gonna matter to you depending on your tendency. Um, in The Lazy Genius Way, it was, it was specifically the subtitle is be a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don't.
Then in Essentialism, it's to direct all your energy towards the things that matter to you, and don't be afraid to make trade offs for the things that don't matter. Uh, then, then we did Atomic Habits and my main gripe with that book is that he was asking you to form habits around things that didn't necessarily matter or that were not necessarily enjoyable to you.
So I think that was the, like the hole in the plot for me. And then in 4,000 weeks it was all about using your limited time on the things that matter, intentionally choosing to the point, uh, of even settling, on the things that matter to you and, and really choosing and settling on a choice.
And then of course it was Workstyle. And there it's, it's like you matter, you matter holistically as a person. It's not just what you do as your job. And so customize and curate is your word of the year, to, align your work with your life. And what matters to you as a person. You don't just have to go to a job and do something and then come home, and be a different person.
You can actually customize your work to the things that matter to you.
[00:08:22] Rowena: I love that. And look, that is the things that matter idea, I think I hinted at in our last episode as well. That has definitely been a consistent theme that we. Honestly, listeners, we did not plan that particular theme. It just happened that it has, it's found us. Yeah. And it's, um, it's one that we have both talked about quite a lot, not just on the podcast.
We've talked about it together in the things that Shelly talks about, where we have like a monthly catch up every month. Um, so it's a big one. I love that you've drawn out those, those threads, Shelly, and pulled them all together into a nice bow, beautiful.
[00:08:56] Shelley: So now we talked about things that matter. Let's, let's talk about, one of the things that we say in our intro is that we talk about the books that bring us joy. So my next question for you, Ro, is what have you enjoyed about doing this podcast so far? Um, can I get a bit Marie Kondo here and say, what part of this podcast has sparked joy for
[00:09:20] Rowena: Ah, you know, I love Marie Kondo. I'm big fan, big fan of any kind of, you know, decluttering kind of guru. Yeah. Um, so one thing that I really loved, or let's use the language that has sparked joy about our podcasting process was that we have experimented and trialed different approaches. Or as my very dear friend Angela says, We've had a crack, um, which is a very Australian phrase, you know, have a crack at it.
And we've had a crack at, we've had a crack at a few different
[00:09:48] Shelley: we had a good old crack in
[00:09:49] Rowena: We've had a girl at crack, um, and especially me, 'cause Shelly, you were already an experienced podcast host and publisher, but for me it was all new. Having, being part of an ongoing podcasting situation was brand new for me a year ago.
And so I have loved that we've both learned together. So we've worked out things together, but also that through our collaboration and our partnership we've learnt. Where our individual skills and strengths lie, um, and we've really developed new skills and strengths as a result of that as well.
And we've also worked what I hope is kind of like a divide and conquer approach.
Um, so for those of you listening, you know, Shelly and I have tried to make sure that there's been a semi-equal division of labor. So where I might do one part of something, then Shelly does the other part. So that, no, not, neither one of us feels that we've been burdened too much with it. So that's, that's been, I really loved the collaborative aspect of our podcast. And so, Shelley, how about you? What have you loved or has sparked joy?
[00:10:51] Shelley: Yeah, absolutely. That element of collaboration, as you've said, when you're collaborating with another person, it is important that you both feel you are contributing. Um, Both so that one doesn't resent the other. And, and that you, you can kind of really do feel that this is a, a joint venture. Uh, so if that is something that you are going to be doing, really work on on that and clear communication and that kind of thing.
So the collaboration and podcasting with a buddy, it's really fun for me. Um, and what sparked joy for me is. Also this idea of the conversations that books Ignite. And that's really one of our intentions with the podcast, is to take the conversation further than just the book. You know, we didn't want to be just a Cliff Notes summary, book summary kind of podcast.
Um, so I loved being able to take an idea like. Becoming a better procrastinator or playfulness. Uh, that was one of the chapters of one of our books. And take the conversation further with you and go and do a bit of research myself perhaps, just diving into those, those kinds of topics. So yeah, even my aversion to Atomic Habits, it was lovely talking about that.
And things like reaching out to Lizzie Penny and Alex Hurst to get their personal take on what they were thinking when they wrote work style. I mean, come on. It's just like, lights me up. It's so exciting. So yeah, there were so many things that sparked the joy. I'm sure you can even hear it in my voice of, of getting stuck into a, a podcast, the production process.
And, um, there's just so much joy and benefit that comes out of taking on a project like this. Uh, and of course the flip side to my previous question is a coaching question that I'm gonna throw to you, Rowena, is what was less good or what was challenging? I know that's how you would phrase it. Uh, there's nothing that was bad about a, a situation at all, but, but yes, there were
[00:12:54] Rowena: and I think we'd call it, I think in, um, my corporate life we used to call it, what was your learning opportunity?
[00:13:01] Shelley: Yes,
[00:13:02] Rowena: What's your, what's, what's the development opportunity with this? No, honestly, it's been fantastic, but I think, as I mentioned, we've got a great process now. I think that. Shelley, you and I have worked out a process over this last year, so where our, the process that we undertake to prepare a podcast episode and then record.
It has been refined now to a point that it's working pretty well. But this was a challenge and it's worth noting that it can still be a challenge. And specifically listeners, if you are considering starting a podcast with a partner, be aware that you need to have a bit of a process because you, that that helps with the communication that Shelley mentioned, that clear communication is vital, but also podcast production is quite a complicated process, especially when recording with two people.
Now, Shelley, fortunately, is an absolute guru at this stuff and loves the tech, which is very fortunate for me because that is not my, um, area of strength. But the other complication we've had is that we are in different countries and in different time zones. Um, and that's had added a fair bit of additional complexity.
So the recording logistics are actually quite challenging. So a side note, if you are not aware and you haven't picked up on it, um, you might have to go back and listen to Episode zero, but if this is the first time you've listened to two Booked up. I live in Sydney in Australia, and Shelly lives in Johannesburg in South Africa.
They're two different continents. The time difference varies. So thanks daylight saving. But it means that sometimes it's eight hours difference between us and sometimes it's nine hours.
So generally, I've had a whole day and, you know, I'm thinking about getting dinner ready and Shelly hasn't even had a cup of coffee yet.
So it's, it's, it's, it's challenging. So how about you, Shelly?
[00:14:54] Shelley: Yeah, look, the time zone difference is very much a challenge. And a joint venture podcast has its own challenges.
You know, people might tell you, oh, podcasting is so much easier than like blogging because you can just speak out your thoughts and then publish them. Uh, but please don't believe them. There is so much more to it than that. Um, yeah, some of the challenges that we've had to figure out are aligning recording times.
'cause when you've got reasonable quiet time, you wanna capitalize on it. And now like we've only got a small window of time that we can record together. So that is a challenge. Um, hardware, we've done some upgrades. Get better mics to ensure better sound quality for you, our listeners. Software side of things, as Rowena said, I, I do love tech and I can almost get a little bit lost in it. Um, but yeah, I've had to learn terms like mic bleed and figuring out automatic transcription with South African and Australian accents is sometimes hilarious to see how our accents get interpreted. Um, and then oof, general sound engineering gives me gray hair.
That is why my hair is pink sometimes because I need to cover the grays. But, uh, yeah,
[00:16:10] Rowena: So now, now everyone, you have to go look up Shelly. Go look A picture of Shelly and you can see why she has pink hair.
[00:16:16] Shelley: Yes, that it's not natural. By the way.
I'm not a a Disney hero.
I'll say Rowena, the upholder, one of the challenges for me is keeping up with your efficiency. Like you said, you, you know, we, we play to, uh, each other's strengths and I've had to keep up with Ro's super-efficiency she, she's been amazing.
Um, that's, it's pushed me, it's stretched me. And I think that's also what's wonderful about these kinds of, as you said, learning opportunities. It's stretches each of us, you've stretched out of your podcasting and sound engineering comfort zone. And, um, you know, I've had to be consistent and it's really been also quite nice working with a buddy.
But, you know, that, that comes to some of the things that we've enjoyed. Um, Ro. It's also been figuring out the format of the show. You said. We've experimented with the process and it's also, we've experimented with the format of the show quite, quite a bit, so that it can both work for our capacity. And the time zones and all the rest, and also what listeners want to hear.
So we've played around with the way we've, we've structured our episodes and, uh, just by the way, also on all this podcasting stuff. A lot of this I do cover in my new workshop Podcast Jumpstart. So I'll leave a link to that in the show notes if you are interested in podcasting. And if I haven't scared you off completely, I go through all the lessons that I've learned, and it's a joint venture workshop with Carla Tenzer, my friend, who hosts the Free to Be Curious podcast.
So, I've put all of that in there if you want to learn a bit more about podcasting.
[00:17:51] Rowena: Lovely. And I'm definitely would encourage people to check that out because it is also super affordable. Um, very low dollars, less than like $11 US and less than $17 Australian. And I think a hundred and.
[00:18:04] Shelley: 197 rand.
[00:18:06] Rowena: Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, so very affordable folks, and if you have any interest in podcasting or even if you've got your own podcast, I'm sure you could learn something , so well worth checking out.
So Shelley, you were mentioning some things there, and I would say the other thing I would like to point out is I think we've been quite resilient. So this is a little bit of a, you know, self congratulations, but I think we've been quite resilient in the face of some of these challenges that have cropped up.
But, As we like to say in the development world, these challenges have also presented huge opportunities for us. Which leads to our next question, what have we learned? So for me, I have learned,
no, no, it's not for me. I've learned that podcasting is super fun, um, which I was quite apprehensive about. I thought it would be fun, but I've confirmed now people, it's super fun.
But I've also learned that it takes a lot. And I mean a lot of time and effort. So there is substantial preparation required when preparing a podcast for two people, particularly in the style that we present here on two Booked Up. Because not only do we need to read the books, which takes some time, but we need to consider each of our viewpoints.
So Shelly needs to, and I need to consider mine, and we need to make sure we're not overlapping too much. We need to consider our experiences of those books and if we've been able to apply some of those things in our business and our personal life, but also how we then wanna shape that into an entertaining and informative 30 minute podcast for you.
Audience. So that's actually quite a lot. Like, that's really great stuff. But it's been a steep learning curve initially. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's definitely been a learning. So, Shelley, how about you? What have you learned?
[00:19:51] Shelley: Yeah. Uh, so as you know, I already knew that podcasting was super fun. Uh, but, uh, with the, the Two Booked Up Podcast and collaborating with you, I've, I've learned that there's, there's quite a lot more time, efforts and expertise required in order to produce this. There's quality product. I mean, there's a product that we're creating here.
Um, and, and we do like to believe that this podcast is
And so that's why we have sort of
[00:20:18] Rowena: It
[00:20:19] Shelley: So as we say, self
[00:20:22] Rowena: Yeah.
[00:20:24] Shelley: But yeah, we've made sure that also with our time zone, very small overlap window that we've done a lot of the preparation beforehand, so that then, uh, recording time can be really dialed in.
And also then my editing time afterwards is, Not too onerous. So Ro has done so well. I think Ro in like helping us get prepared beforehand so that, um, the work and there's your magic question. Um, what can I do now to make life easier later? We've magic questioned this,
this podcast. I feel
[00:20:58] Rowena: And we've, I've just changed it. What can I do now to make Shelly's life easier
[00:21:03] Shelley: Yes, I love it.
But I think we've, we've learned that that preparation work can be completed asynchronously. Each of us can work on it when we've got the time. Um, and to sort of plan for that and. As I mentioned earlier, that clear communication is vital, and we communicate on signal and we'll, just message each other to say, I've done this preparation notes or you've posted on social media.
Um, and just to communicate via email as well so that we. On track, even being in different time zones. Um, and really I do believe this asynchronous work is definitely a major part of the future of work.
[00:21:40] Rowena: Hello. Work style. Work style Told us. Work style told us
[00:21:45] Shelley: Yeah. We, we heard it in work style and, but I think we were living it
[00:21:50] Rowena: we were doing it already.
[00:21:51] Shelley: Yeah.
[00:21:52] Rowena: But it's nice to have a name for it.
[00:21:54] Shelley: Yes, it is. It is. Um, I suppose that brings me to like one of your favorite experiences, Ro? Like what did you, what did you love about doing this podcast over the year? I, I've mentioned it in our last episode, that your core strength is, is love. Um, what, what, what did you
just love about
[00:22:13] Rowena: So well, I would be remiss of me not to say, I loved our interview with Lizzie and Alex talking about work style. Um, but my other favorite thing, Shelly, speaking about love, is working with you. So I already knew that we got along well and we'd each been clients for the other. So I'd been a client of yours.
You'd been a client of mine. We'd done a few things together where. But,
Throughout the podcasting process over the last year and talking about it in advance before we kind of launched the podcast.
I feel our friendships deepened, but also broadened so much more than just like biz besties. I think now I'd say quite comfortably that I'm working with one of my best friends and that has gotta be one of my favorite experiences about this, about the whole thing. Just like being able to hang out and work, work and do stuff with you is awesome.
Um, and just again, remind, maybe reminding our listeners. We've never met in person. So Shelly and I have never been in the same country. We've never met each other in person. We've only ever talked to each other via Zoom, or I think in the early days we maybe even used Skype. Um, so we've never met in person, but I've seen her kids.
I talk to her husband, I've seen her dog, you know, like I feel like I'm part of their, I I get her family snaps on signal. I get to see their holiday photos. So it's all the normal stuff. We'll sometimes have cups of tea or coffee over the Zoom things, but so we've never met in person, but we have connected.
Um, and to feel that, Shelly, you are one of my best closest friends, I think that is quite the statement and a big testament to how we can still choose to have friendships, um, and collaborative relationships without necessarily meeting in person. Although that probably has to go on my bucket list one day visit, shell one day, visit Shelly and have a braai.
[00:23:58] Shelley: Absolutely. And there will be no shrimps. I'll come to Sydney for the shrimps and the Barbie. Uh
[00:24:03] Rowena: Okay, sure. No, we call them prawns. In Australia, they're called prawns.
[00:24:09] Shelley: on the
[00:24:10] Rowena: them shrimps. No. cause that was for the American audience only Crocodile Dundee did that.
[00:24:15] Shelley: Oh, oh, yes. Oh, yeah. Look, there's a lot of stuff from the Lion King, which is set in Kenya. That, that, you know,
people want come
[00:24:23] Rowena: So we can say Una matata.
[00:24:25] Shelley: Mm-hmm. It is not one of our languages, but No,
worries. Okay. We're, we're going way off track and I'm losing my, my AirPods and I'm, uh, which is just as well because Rowena is almost making me cry, both laughing and with emotion. Um, because Ro, it's, it has been just so amazing to be able to, to work on a project like this with you. As you've said, like someone that has become a best friend.
It's just been so fun to be able to connect, and to have this project that we're working on together. Yeah, I, I think that kind of collaboration just is so rewarding. So if, yeah, people are looking to do this, I think it is just so amazing to be able to have this kind of collaborative effort.
I've, I've loved working with you Ro.
I'm really proud of the two of us for staying consistent. Uh, you've helped so much with that, uh, for maintaining momentum. And luckily I had that as my guiding word and a lot of that. Ro is, due to you. You, you've kept us on track, you've project managed us, and you've made sure that we get a podcast out, consistently and regularly.
And I'm really proud of myself for that. But I'm proud of us as a team. And yeah, I've done the editing and the websitey techie kind of stuff. But you've kept things moving and I really appreciate that. Um, so yeah, if you're listening there, it pays to collaborate with an upholder, especially when it's nice as you, Ro.
[00:26:01] Rowena: Ah, thank you.
[00:26:03] Shelley: I think the other thing that I've really loved is, is deep diving into the books. I mean like, when do you get the chance to do that? You know, when we read books, we often just read a cupboard to cover and you kind of move on with your, your life. But in doing Two Booked Up, we've managed to get so much more out of the process when we've just dived into the books, had all these ignited conversations that happen and for me, I, I've loved that. It's been a very rewarding part of the podcasts for the duration of this year.
[00:26:34] Rowena: Agree. I think that that's been super fun and also it's expanded and deepened the understanding of the book, which I think is really valuable and hopefully we've shared that with you, our listeners too.
[00:26:47] Shelley: Yeah. So our final question for today, that I'd like us to consider is, what's next for two Booked up. So I can say that we are going to take a little break from the podcast, uh, with things changing in my business and, um, in Rowena's life now becoming a novelist.
Um, we are going to need a bit of a break to maintain momentum with those things, but we are planning to be back with another season at some point. I'm just not telling you when. So the best thing to do right now is to subscribe or follow to Booked up in your podcast player, and then you'll automatically have the next new episode download when, when it is released.
[00:27:29] Rowena: Yes. So in the meantime, whilst you are desperate and you are perhaps missing your Two Booked Up, remember we have an entire back catalog you can go back and listen to.
And play along with our 23 for 2023 Reading challenge. You can download your free copy of the 2023 Reading Challenge checklist at twobookedup.Com where you'll also find the show notes, a transcript of this episode, and of course, the page to sign up and receive your free reading challenge checklist. And so Shelley, where can listeners find you?
[00:28:03] Shelley: Yeah, stay in touch with us, please. You can connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm Shelley Tonkin Smith on LinkedIn. You'll find me if you search that and just tell me you're a Two Booked Up listener when you connect, and you can also sign up for my newsletter at shelleytonkinsmith.Com. If you'd like to learn more about my copywriting services, then head on over to ShelleySmithCreative.com. And Ro where can listeners find you?
[00:28:28] Rowena: Well, once they're finished connecting with you on LinkedIn, feel free to connect with me too. I'm just Rowena Mabbott. I'd love to see you over on LinkedIn and I'd love to connect with you, but you can also find me on Instagram, so if you'd like to, and I'm just Rowena Mabbott, they're too, keeping it very simple.
But if you'd like to learn more about coaching with me, Or about my new novel, Avoiding the Friend Zone, which will be coming soon or download my free other book The A to Z of Career and Life Confidence, which you can get for free. You can do all of that at rowenamabbott.com.
[00:29:00] Shelley: Yes, go and sign up. for Rowena's author mailing list for avoiding the Friend Zone. I'm so excited about that novel, it's just arrived in Rowena's head, and I'm just so amazed that you've, you've written a novel you didn't intend to and you've written a novel. And the last thing that remains to be said is thank you. Thank you.
Thank you so much for listening to Two Booked Up not only today, but for those of you diehard fans, thanks for listening for the last 12 months. This is the conclusion of season two, but we really hope to be seeing you or being back in your ears very soon on two Booked up.
[00:29:38] Rowena: You've been listening to Two Booked Up with me, Rowena Mabbott.
[00:29:49] Shelley: And me, Shelley Tonkin Smith. Please subscribe or follow Two Booked Up in your podcast player, and if you've enjoyed this episode, we'd love it if you'd leave a positive review.