10 Steps to Productivity for Creatives | Sara Furnal | Skillshare

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10 Steps to Productivity for Creatives

teacher avatar Sara Furnal, Writing, Creativity, and Philosophy

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Productivity Intro

    • 2. Clearing Your Plate

    • 3. Where to Work

    • 4. Setting Up Your Workspace

    • 5. Prepare yourself for creating

    • 6. Giving your mind a chance to think

    • 7. Structuring your day

    • 8. Set goals and plan ahead

    • 9. Incentives matter

    • 10. The clock is ticking

    • 11. When to multitask

    • 12. Course Project and Conclusion

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About This Class

Never have time to work? Banging your head against the wall when you do? In this course, I will walk you through some key time management and organization tips for creatives, freelancers, writers, artists, people who work from home, or anyone that could use some help with productivity. I will help you tackle subjects such as scheduling, workspace issues, goal-setting and incentivizing behavior, planning, and making room for your own thoughts. I combine many practical tips and tricks that I have learned throughout my academic and freelance career to help you get started on the path to pursuing your creative dreams. 

You will be creating a detailed productivity document that helps you set goals, organize your time, and identify barrier to creativity. By the end of the course, you will have a good picture of what distractions impede your focus, what you can do about it, and have a realistic plan for accomplishing your goals.

About the instructor: Hi! My name is Sara Furnal, PhD. I am an academic, writer, and editor. In addition to fiction and children's books, I am the author of a book on productivity and creativity entitled Freelance in Your Jammie Pants

Meet Your Teacher

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Sara Furnal

Writing, Creativity, and Philosophy


I obtained my PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Davis (areas of emphasis: Political Theory, American Politics, Comparative Literature). For the past eight years, I have been an adjunct professor and a freelance writer and editor. My research areas of interest include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Plato, Xenophon, Thucydides, the French Enlightenment, critiques of the Enlightenment, theories of history and progress, political philosophy and speculative fiction. In my non-academic life, I write both non-fiction (productivity techniques, cookbooks) and fiction (poetry, science fiction, fantasy, and children's books.) 

You can find Freelance in Your Jammie pants here: https://amzn.to/2Wxcr8c 

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1. Productivity Intro: welcome to my skill share Class 10 Productivity tips for creatives Every full time or even part time freelance er creative has found themselves in the position where they've spent an entire day at home. Having achieved absolutely nothing. It's not that we're lazy, too busy or not capable. It's a human motivation is sometimes a problematic and complex piece that must be coaxed into cooperating. I'm here to help, and this course will be going through a set of 10 lessons, culminating in a class project that combines your daily schedule in your short term and long term creative goals into a structure plan of action with clear delivery ble results. I call this your productivity project. Take or leave. Each piece of advice is you see fit, but be open to trying out new activities and getting out of your comfort zone. After all, a little bit of discomfort can motivate creativity like nothing else in this course will go over the following lessons. Clearing your plate. Where to work? Setting up your workspace, preparing yourself for creating, giving your mind a chance to think, structuring your day, setting goals and planning ahead. Incentives matter. The clock is ticking and when to multi task. My basic premise is that anyone can carve out more space to create, but it is not about putting more hours into the day. Half the problem is time management and efficiency, and the other half is motivation and inspiration. This course will be perfect for anyone that wants to make something or who wants to use their time more efficiently. This courses for all levels, and you don't need any special equipment to take it. I've been able to help people in multiple fields with this approach field, such as project management art, filmmaking illustration, graphic design, comedy and more. I found that my students are ingenious of taking the advice that I present here and adopting these strategies in ways that are useful to them a little bit about me. My name is Sarah. For now, I'm a part time college professor as well as a freelance writer and editor. I hold a doctor in political science. I'm also the author of several books, including Freelancing You're Jamming Pants, which is a book on productivity and time management for creatives at this course is based upon, as you'll see in this course The most important part is to work with intention, organize and create strategies in your life that will lay the groundwork for productive days. These elements will help you to clear away various obstacles so that you can allow yourself to thrive. Good luck. And I'm pleased to have you join me happy creating. 2. Clearing Your Plate: Let's start with time management. I know, I know. I can hear you groaning through time and space if I had time to do more than I wouldn't have a problem in the first place. What I You can make more time even without sacrificing all the things you love, I promise. But first you have to find out where you are spending your time and where you have room to make some improvements. The number one question to ask yourself is this. Can I limit what I am doing toe? Allow myself a little more time to create? I'm not telling you to quit your day jobs. I am telling you that people can get by on far less in terms of time commitment than they think they can. If reducing waste of time allows you to work less so that you can create more than why not do that? What's more important to you in the long run? For me, it's been getting to a place where I can work for myself, if not completely, then at least partially I value my freedom and independence. Part of the struggle is time management, and the other is motivation and we will cover both. We're going to start right away with an activity that will provide the foundation for your class project. Start by opening a notebook, day planner, time management app or your Google calendar and tracking your daily activities. Write down everything that you do for two days, one week day in one weekend day. Every little thing you dio. If you want to work on this now try your best to recall the activities in the past two days , but I guarantee you'll forget or overlook stuff. It's best to do a fresh new log of possible tracking over the next two days. Now sit down and take a good look at it. Categorized the activities Intelli. The total times Are you being up front with yourself? Did you really put everything you did today on the list? Be honest. How do you really spend your time? How much of it is comprised of work? How much of it is taking care of the kids? How much of it is dedicated to commuting? Well, then ask yourself, How much of your time did you spend watching television? How much of your time did you spend on the Internet on your smartphone. How many buzzfeed articles did you read? Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with television or the Internet. I love them, too. According to a Nielsen study, American adults watch about 4.7 hours of television per day. What could you achieve if you committed to watching just to instead of those 4.7 hours, you could write a book in a month? I think about that now. I want you to carve out some time this week that is just for you. From the time that you would normally spend perusing Reddit or watching the news. Don't worry, the world won't collapse without you. So where can you stash from time from maybe the two hours of after dinner that you would normally spend on the couch in a food coma and do state 1/2 hour before breakfast Sunday morning. Instead of reading the entire newspaper even 15 minutes of your car before you head home for the day. Pick one time this week that you will devote to you and you alone. Use that time to try to some of the strategies in this class and don't feel guilty for doing something for yourself. You deserve it. You're worth it. I'm not trying to take all the way of your pleasure, all of your pleasure, relaxation time. Those things are important. I try to approach productivity and creativity in a way that feeds all of the different parts of your artist's soul. Still, I want to point out that a lot of time gets sucked away into things that are not very productive and, to be honest, not very fulfilling. When you got yourself with television, how much of it do you actually enjoy? There's a numbness that starts to occur around your fifth or sixth episode of Russian dollar game of Thrones. Quit that show while you're ahead and you're still thrilled by it and focus on creating instead of always just consuming. It will make the things that you do consume mean more to you and your old joy life. Overall that much more 3. Where to Work: I have found that working outside the house is more of a hassle than it's worth. Let me paint you a picture of a typical day Working at a coffee shop. You spend time driving to the cafe, finding a parking spot, paying the meter, getting your coffee body, checking people who are between you and the one free table, finding out the tables, not near an outlet for your laptop, stocky, some poor person near the outlet until they do leave. Then you swoop in, only to find out as soon as you have set up your workspace that you have to go to the bathroom and nobody's with you to watch your laptop and all the copy set out on the table while you go. P. Does this sound familiar? I spent a lot of years of my writing life engaging in this struggle at least a few days a week. What became obvious to me was that I was working in Cafe is Not Toe actually get any writing done, but to be seen in the process of being a writer, it was basically the freelance equivalent of the beatnik wannabe that wears a black turtleneck, smokes a clove a pin and has an unopened book of Ginsburg next to their flat white. No writing was actually happening. Even if you aren't channeling a bunch of subconscious pretension, you may go to the cafe with the best of RT intentions and actually achieve little to nothing. The caffeine's music stinks. 14 kids are screaming at the table next to you. The conversation at the table behind you is so engrossing that you can't help but eavesdrop . While these events may fuel your creativity, they aren't great at helping you get words down on the page. So all in all, working in the cafe is largely a time gobbler that could decimate some of your precious productivity. Um, full of distractions. Can you really let your mind go there? Can you really let your creativity flow? If you're so distracted by all of these things, where does your mind have the quietness or the space to wonder? And what are your motivations for going there? Ask yourself honestly. So what? We're choosing a workspace. Try to say, How can I make my workspace at home the most efficient, but also the most pleasant and comforting to me? Um, you know, don't worry. Getting out of the house is still an important part of taking care of yourself. And, you know, we could talk about that too, in terms of getting out walking, allowing your mind having your mind to have a space to create and think. But in terms of sitting down but in the chair to create right draw whatever you're working on, you need to have a place where distractions aren't going toe annoy you where time is going to be used efficiently. So what can you dio make yourself? Ah, Home cafe. Get a kettle. Good. Coffee or tea? Some scone mix. Seriously, it's easy. Scone mix. Add water. Bake bam! Warm scone Heaven all day long. You know there's no better to motivate your way to motivate yourself to work than that. Okay, so now we're gonna talk about in the next lesson how to set up your workspace 4. Setting Up Your Workspace: It's much more economical to work from home if you have the space rather than renting office space even compared to shared office co ops. So it definitely recommend doing that. Still, there are tons of distractions at home. It is unreasonably easy to get distracted by the various alluring aspects of your home. Dishes must be unloaded from the dishwasher immediately. Laundry cannot wait another second. The toilets will get up and crawl away. If they aren't clean soon, it is already time to prep dinner again, isn't it? So how do you avoid all these temptations of home first establishes space that is solely intended for your writing or the creative project of your choosing? One of my favorite writers, Simon Van Buoy, take his class here in sculpture. He's great. Ah, he emphasizes the need for a sacred writing space that is meant solely for this purpose alone. Don't let anything else invade that space. No bills, no male, nothing from your day job. If you have one, allow that space to be solely used for your creativity. Treat that space with respect and reverence. Let it be a shrine to your own value. My self worth Commemorating with this focus on yourself and setting the boundaries of your life mean to you If you don't have a corner of a room to use, you could try to use the dining room table, but it's hard to distance yourself from the workings of the household. In such a centrally located space. Try to find a space separate from the rest of the house just for you. The dining room, like the kitchen, is a natural space for family congregation. This lovely anchor of family life could be a real burden on your creative life, though. Try to find something separate, a space apart. If you have difficult to get in your family to leave you alone while working, consider repurpose ing a walk in closet. As an office, you can clear out the clothes, put in a small ikey a desk for 20 bucks, shut the door and put on noise reducing headphones. Block out the world for a short time. If home isn't an option, consider reserving a study carol or state got a free desk at your local library. Libraries have much of the benefits of working outside the home of a cafe without some of the drawbacks there quiet their inspirational, but they usually don't let you have coffee, and these things matter work in your office space. It may be tempting to work in bed or on the couch leaning over your coffee table. Don't do it. It's a recipe for bad posture and a sore back as well as a number. But every time I decided that it would be a brilliant idea to work this way, I regretted by around one PM as the backs of my stock thought, I start tingling. My lower back aches that my shoulders get rounded. Tens and a key instead work at your designated death space. If you're sick, of course, working in bed will be preferable to not working at all. If you have mobility issues, work where you can work, that doesn't matter. Work what works for you. Just go at your own pays, satisfied with the knowledge that any work done is better than none, and that a sick day is necessary from time to time, too. So don't forget that invest in a decent I Kia desk chair gesture from your cheap, uh, local shops, resale shops, anywhere that you could get one affordably instead of a dining room chair. I purchase mine for about $30 a Nike, and I absolutely love It has arms, a tall back it spends, and the height can be adjusted having arms on your chairs helpful for long writing or desktop computer sessions. Because I started to start, us tend to start sitting in weird positions, dangling my legs over the edge, lounging like a room and Caesar demanding entertainment. I get all weird of my chair, so get something with arms. And remember, a little discomfort could be beneficial to your productivity, sometimes working at a desk and be less comfortable. But sitting upright in the chair keeps you from being sleepy. Sometimes sitting in a chair still isn't enough to spur you want. You may find that standing up working as a way to go for you. Some people find that standing gives their writing a sense of urgency, a driving impetus that gets the words flowing. I think this is fine, but don't feel the need to invest in an expensive writing desk that you could crank up and down. Get a small box or a podium for your normal desk, and perch a laptop on it. Voila! Make sure your workspace is free of clutter. If you wanna have notes or books at hand for research or brainstorming, make sure they're kept off the desk itself possible. I've adopted this notion about a sacred space into an area that works quite well for me. For a while, I usedto use a corner of my bedroom is a workspace. I taped my outlines story element sheets, an inspirational pronounce on the wall behind and above the computer monitor. This way I could see how these things constantly, Um, you have these in my line of vision constantly but have my workspace clear at all times. Now I have a dedicated study that separate from my bedroom, and it was much easier to place a couple bookshelves of violent cabinets in the supply cabinet. In there. It lets me keep my desk is clear as possible. Never do I feel overwhelmed from the sheer amount of crap on my desk. Now, this idea of establishing a dedicated and sacred workspace has been one of the most helpful to me in my writing path. I also found that it's nice if I bring a cup of tea, the or light a candle. When I start working in my space, the candle smell could be soothing, and the little flames can mesmerize your thoughts when you're brainstorming or working through a particularly rough portion of your work. Most of all, having very few objects in your workspace signals that this area is off limits to the other parts of alive of your life. That your work is something special. Don't treat it is something you'll get to when you can treat it with reverence. It's a safe space for self exploration and reverie, not for the concerns of the world. You show up, you're there and your present. 5. Prepare yourself for creating: on a daily basis. Prepare yourself for creating. If you freelance from home, it could be particularly difficult to treat your home is your office, especially when it's so easy to sit on the couch for an extra hour in the morning drinking your coffee. If you treat your day in a structured manner and prepare yourself for the day in the same way that you would treat getting ready for a job outside of the home, then you'll be miles ahead of the productivity race, so get ready for work. Step one. Make your bed. If the sheets aren't opening and calling it with their siren song, you won't be attempted to lie down for a tiny little catnap that turns into a two hour nap . The routine nature of making your bed also helps get you in a productive state of mind for the day. Step two. Take a shower and get ready for work. If we can do this before even drink your coffee or eat your breakfast, by all means wear comfortable clothes at work. Even those beloved Jammie pants. Still, the act of getting dressed make sure feels if you're starting a work day because you are. Don't think that just because you're a home, you don't have to show up. So put on the different para jammie pants than the one you woke up in. Just make sure that you get dressed for the day. I like to put on some workout clothes for my work day yoga pants or stretchy and comfortable, and so are sports bras and tank tops. These are my go to close. But no matter what, I put on different clothes than I would sleep in, even though my clothing choices air comfortable getting dressed in a different outfit signals to my brain that is time toward no and don't take forever for breakfast. While it may be tempting to sit down and watch Good Morning America or the Golden Girls on INL asleep on the Hallmark Channel tryto have your morning times stick to a specified amount of time. You don't want to find yourself watching the fourth episode in a row. Have your tea or coffee or Jews e breakfast and then move on. Don't dawdle all morning or half the day will disappeared. There's nothing more frustrating than feeling that you've let all your time slip through your fingers before you give him the gun. Now it's time to work. Think of your walk to your workspace as your commute. Once you start down that road, you're going to work. Don't veer off and sort the laundry. Wash the dog. That's the bookshelves. Go to work. And once you sit down at your workspace, your workday has begun. You've scheduled your specified block of time to be there, and you will focus for that amount of time free from guilt, distraction, writer's block or lack of focus. Easy enough, right? No, indeed, it's not that easy. In the next section, I'll turn to the motivational strategies that will help you be productive throughout your workday, or even a small chunk of work time that you've carved out from your busy schedule. So take my hand, dear students, into the darkness of the creative doldrums. Be brave. We're moving on 6. Giving your mind a chance to think: being a productive freelancer is not just about finding more time in the data work, but instead is about finding ways to be more efficient with your time. It is undoubtedly possible to get at least two or three times the amount of work done and half the time if you are attentive to elements that impede your focus. And if you have a strong structure instead of checking your email when you're in line at Starbucks and Chipotle, allow yourself time to think about what you're working on creatively. Instead of listening to the radio on your drive into work, turn off the dial and tune into your thoughts. Instead of going to lunch with colleagues, take a solitary lunch in the park, accompanied by some time gazing of the clouds in this guy. Instead of driving to the grocery store, take a walk there and let your mind wander the entire time. Follow it wherever it goes. Let the side the shower be your brainstorming chamber. Let your car be your creativity pod. Lead your backyard, be your Waldon and let the silence creep in. Don't spend all of your time trying to fill in those quiet spaces with noise. The quiet spaces are already trying to say so much. Give them a listen. This is the most important thing you could do. Teoh. Increase your creativity. In my opinion, when you fill every possible moment with entertainment or busy work or busy talk, you aren't doing what you think you're doing. You're not really bored. You're not really aqap occupying your time you're consuming. You're distracting yourself from free thinking. You're silencing your voice. Let your mind create instead of consume. Let it speak for once and let it have some time to form some thoughts of its own. Try to find a little snatches of time when you can let your creative mind speak to you. If you constantly occupy your mind, then you never let your brain have a chance to ruminate and reflect. These periods of reflection are of the utmost importance to creativity and inspiration. Know that if you calm your inner monologue, your creative side has a chance to speak. Let your thoughts surprise you. We constantly want to occupy ourselves with entertainment, but this constant shifting and consuming and transition costs they kill our ability to focus and what we could get our minds to focus, we could make it sharper. We can hold those ideas and we can make them shine. An inability to focus has been personally my biggest obstacle. Now, in the next lesson, alternative strategies that helped me get over this muddle brained mountain. This is a huge face. Feet, if you could accomplishment. Be proud of that. But I also know that it will be an ongoing struggle. There will be days that you feel less focused, less productive and lethargic, even when you have gotten into the habit of productive behavior. Get a great thing to remember is that if you have internalizes strategies, you could always drawn them. Fall back on them and get out of your red. You know you can, because you've done it before. Remember what the feeling of accomplishment is like and let that guide you 7. Structuring your day: when you work in an office or retail environment, your workdays air scheduled around a typical eight hour day. If you have the liberty to attempt freelance work for this amount of time at least a couple of days a week, I was suggest making a schedule for yourself that breaks down the hours of the day. This way you know what time you need to get started and that structures or time like a typical office day, so that you don't find yourself finally getting done with your morning coffee at 1 p.m. And starting your day at work only to have to quit for hours. Like I found that it is useful to schedule my day by the hour. I post that schedule on the wall right next to my computer monitor and in my daily goal spreadsheet. Here's a sample schedule that I made for myself in Excel. I also copy it into my notes on my phone and my Google calendar. Note that I'm not working on the same project all day long. I don't work on Book one on Tuesday, book to on Wednesday in my Class lectures on Thursday. Instead, I spent a couple of hours on each task before moving on to another one. This allows me to get momentum on that task, but not get burned out by doing it before I get a good break or I'm allowed to switch my attention to something fresh. This moment, um, is also why attended schedule a late lunch. I like to do most of my creative writing before lunch and the accompanying afternoon mental law. You could play with the length of time that works for you. If it takes an extremely long time to get going, then you may want to schedule longer block for yourself or entire days devoted to certain projects. But I would advise against this. It is less about giving yourself long swaths of time to work and more about training your mind to focus on demand. I've spoken about how training your mind to focus is crucial pra to productivity, and one way to train yourself into having a focused mind is to structure your day in a way that forces you to focus more than if you had a nebulous amount of time in front of you. If you know you only have an hour to work on your nonfiction book. You could go into the study, busted out and move on to the next thing on your checklist. Bam! The notification time sink. Identifying your time sinks is very important, so giving your self specified times to check your phone or email is key here. If you don't allow yourself to constantly check notifications or messages that don't matter , then do you really need to see that pizza coupon email right now? Then you don't have to suffer the transition costs at from pausing one activity and moving to another. It might not seem like much, but active activities like this do add up to a lot of time moving back and forth. Even more importantly, you don't have to switch your attention and focus constantly. Keeping your focus is the core of any good motivational strategy, and this tech tactic helps to maintain your moment. Um, more than any other one I have found. Got it good. Don't constantly check your phone email, Facebook or Twitter. Easy peasy. So why is it so difficult to do then? It is hard because we've become so accustomed in checking these items every second of the day that has become a new addiction. This word addiction is not an overstatement for me, and for most of the people I know, it's an addiction of sorts. I can't get through dinner without my friend with my friends. Without someone. Well, maybe all of us checking their phone constantly myself included. Sometimes I realized to my horror, I don't even realize I'm checking my phone. I find that I reached for it on the table and it's suddenly scrolling in my line of vision . Oh, it's my finger doing that are urged to clear. Often check notifications, drugs, A Pavlovian courting us. There's a big red number one of my Facebook icon. There's a notification message of my lock screen. I must check it. This inability to refrain from checking my phone became so pervasive in my life that I had to come up with some effective strategies to get myself to overcome these urges. Scheduling has been the key to this. You can get by checking your email or phone notifications two or three times a day. The world will continue without you. I promise. I have done it and lived to tell the tale did not full of the face of the earth that my friends and family still remember who I am. I will speak more in a bit about tools and methods to help you resist the siren call of the Internet. But for now, I want to you to urge you to consider how much your time is being sucked up, simply checking notifications and email. Every time you do this, you stop thinking about what you're working on and becoming gross in some other topic. Your notification that your sister likes your Facebook post can wait your hopes, dreams and goals cannot. If you schedule the time to check your email social media notifications, then you will get many, many more task accomplished per day. This one trick alone can boost your productivity to an incredible extent. It did for me. Give this a shot for one week alongside creating a daily schedule, which will allocate blocks of your time to specific projects. If you don't get more accomplished than the week before you started, then send me an email. I won't check it for a few hours, perhaps, but I'd be surprised to hear the strategy didn't help you a ton As we all know, the bane of any productive day is the Internet. The Internet affords us an endless variety of things to distract us. Still, we cannot let the Clickbait or the Reddit or the candy crush of the Pokemon go or whatever games people are playing today when we will not be defeated. As I said earlier, you have to identify what your major times things are. Go back to your two day log and identify your biggest distraction culprits again. Is it Facebook? Cat pictures, Texting Now Divide and conquer. Once you know your main obstacles, then you can start to address them. There are a number of methods that you can use to distract yourself from the Internet. I already spoke about only letting yourself check your email notifications a few times per day, but you don't have to do this alone. There are absent will only allow you to log into things like Facebook for a specified amount of time per day. You can even delete that from your phone, although it's still accessible from your computer. Get freedom. Freedom is a fun little app that will let you, um, check the Internet on Lee with the specified amounts of time that you want to schedule per day. It will keep you logged off any of the other times, and you have to reboot your computer to get back on the Internet or on your phone. If you have it installed on your phone. It's a great little program so considered using a program like this. And no matter what, keep track of your progress and log it. It helps to know how far you've come. It will motivate you to keep going forward and keep producing. 8. Set goals and plan ahead: it is more about priorities than about adding more hours into the day. It is an unwritten truth that you will prioritize whatever thing is most immediate. If you have some big, nebulous project that you want to do floating around in the space time continuum, it is not immediate and that for you to want to work on it every single day. What you will work on, however, is the laundry, the current fire you need to put out at work. The kids soccer practice they are that needs to be mowed. It is far easier to focus attention on short term goals than long term ones. The solution is not to find more hours in the day. The solution is not to sleep less. You could have all the hours in the world and still not get five words into your novel. Part of the solution here is scheduling, and the rest includes incentivizing your behavior to motivate yourself, finding focus and allowing yourself to stick to your schedule. I spent an entire year in graduate school trying to get some ground under me on writing my dissertation before it really started moving forward at all. I was finished with classes, but still, the manuscript would not start moving forward. I felt like I was getting much less done over all on my own project that when I was at a busier point in my graduate career, it was so much easier to focus on grading exams for the current class, for which was a teaching assistant, writing papers to president conferences that compiling and filling out my job packet documents. I tried a 1,000,000 different strategies to get my productivity on long term goals activated. What that year really taught me, though, was what worked for my productivity and what didn't. And in all the years since then, I've been honing these skills as a self motivated, self motivated freelance worker. So to start, make a list of what you want to accomplish and then make a spreadsheet to break down those goals. Setting goals is a way that you could know exactly what you want to accomplish and win every quarter of the year or every six months. If you want longer goals, create a spreadsheet that has the following categories. Project word page or count goal, due date, reward punishment. We will talk about these in another section daily goal, current status and research needed, or the categories that you see fit. These categories should be the column heads on your spreadsheet, then in the rows fill in the projects that you would like to get done in that time period. I'll show you an example. In a minute. Be specific with your goals. First, you should set a goal that is detailed. For instance, if I want to write a novel that I put on my works in progress, list the name of the item in the desired word count novel about dragons. 80,000 words. Due date four months from now, research needed dragon types and powers Current status. Zero words. Um, if you're not sure the research needed, you know, leave that call him out for now. But definitely give yourself some sort of word counter target. Um, some sort of specific thing you're working on. Novel about dragons, not just novel. Give yourself some specific goals. Make a due date. If you have a hard due date for your goal, say, a client, due date or a contest closing date. This is the date that you put into the due date section of your spreadsheet or a few days ahead of that. Even if you don't have a hard duty, I would recommend making one for yourself. Then the project won't feel so nebulous and unattainable. Break your goals down into smaller goals on a separate sheet or in a different part of the sheet. Take your goal on dissected into smaller steps so that you have a clear picture of what is gonna take to get there. Um, what you need to achieve in order to finish your Kool Overall, if I want to write down this, if I want to write this dragon novel in four months, I will need to write about 667 words per day. This big project is suddenly not such a daunting task now that I've broken it down into a digestible chunks, which will become even easier after I outlined the plot structure, Um, another goal that you can add on there, by the way, at my current rate, which is neither the fastest or the slowest around, I could probably write this in an hour or two per day if you think about putting in an hour to a day into it, have a draft of a novel completed by the end of four months. That could be really inspiring. You couldn't put those smaller steps that you came up with into your spreadsheet under the category daily goal. Doing this allows you to have specific and attainable many goals when she would. TV to these smaller goals becomes a type of checklist that you can feel satisfaction and crossing off on a daily basis. Believe me, there's a lot of satisfaction satisfaction involved in checking out things from your bigger project every single day. I like to highlight the highlight, the daily goals that I've accomplished in blue. I haven't measured it, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Little Russia serotonin and every time I hit that blue highlighter on my spreadsheet with your goals, you need to be realistic. Once you've made your spreadsheet with your project calendar, you could see if the goals and targets that you've set for yourself are realistic. Or if you need to cut outs in projects, you aren't going to write four novels in one month. Don't even try. Don't set yourself up to fail. For now, start with only one or two projects so that you set yourself up to succeed and finishing a large project of this sort. Don't put too much on your plate yet once you get better at this sort of multitasking, you can add in more projects a few desire, such as a short story poem article, a painting drawing whatever you want to dio. I like to work on two things at a time, at least though, so that if I'm really, truly stuck on one project, I could move on to another by stuck. I don't mean that I sat staring at the page for 15 minutes. I mean, that one project was speaking to me while the other project was sitting silent. No matter how much focus thought I put into that first project in those cases, I'll allow myself to switch over to something that is coming along or inspiring it that me at that moment you could do the same process with other types of goals as well. Whether those goals include research, marketing, ongoing tasks or fitness goals, breaking things into clear goals with smaller daily tests helps to make any large projects seem doable, and you can do this 9. Incentives matter: everyone needs to be spoiled down. Then when you create your goal setting spreadsheet, attach a reward for each goal that you hope to accomplish. This will be the carrot at the end of that race. Sometimes it could be enough to keep you going or given, even make you work that much faster. Who doesn't want to work harder? We're reaching. Your goal means that you get to relax for the rest of the day and eat a neighbor cop Fried pie. One great thing about goal setting is that adding reward section to your productivity spreadsheet allows you to daydream about the things that you really want, things that truly are a reward for your hard work. If you tend to give yourself immediately the things that you want thin, they don't feel quite has earned cupcakes. Taste a 1,000,000 times better when you've been dreaming about them for three days, and when you wrote a short story to earn them close, look much more dapper on you. When you've set off that poem for review, instant gratification becomes unsatisfactory at some point. Attaching rewards to your goals combines the thrilling desire of anticipation. The stoat feeling of having accomplished a creativity goal and a tangible or sometimes more spiritually bonus prize, this combination of feelings cannot be beat. It's the bomb dot com over the years of Try various rewards. So be creative with the types on range of awards that you give yourself registering for a race or running training group. A month of an expensive fitness activity like CrossFit, new clothes, hair highlights, a trip to the movies, a weekend trip away from home, the rewards that seem to motivate me best. Our massage is a nice dinner out, a baked good in my choice, a visit to my favorite farm sanctuary or a new book. It all depends on what your hobbies and interests are, but try to do something creative. A new fridge goal. You should match the size of your award to the size of your creativity. Goal. It may not make sense to give yourself a weekend of the spa for achieving your daily word count, but it makes a lot of sense for finishing your novel. So I like to give myself rewards not only for accomplishing larger goals but for accomplishing daily goals. For instance, when the latest season of a show. I light comes on the Netflix. I'd allow myself to watch one episode during dinner if and only if I achieved my running goals for that day. If I accomplish a particularly large hole that day, then I'd let myself watch two episodes. This may seem restrictive to you, but I am by no means keeping myself from having the things I want in my life When I said this episode is my M point for the day and motivates me to complete my work because there's something that I find exciting waiting for me at the end of each day. You could enact this plan with anything that works for you. Such a zey yoga class, A movie You've been wanting to see your A restaurant. You want to try out a craft brew that you want to sit a game that you want to download. Make sure that big and little goals all have rewards. You don't want to wait six months to give yourself any rewards at all. You need a little daily, or at least weekly surge of a congratulations for all of your hard work to keep you going and keep you creating. And since you were working for yourself here, you don't have a boss to pat you on the back. Not the bosses tend to do those sorts of things. Anyway, You have to acknowledge the hard work you put in and accept your own praise, which could be difficult to do. But just remember, you've earned it. One last thing to think of is that punishments work. Teoh. There an option. Um, if you are motivated by this type of thing while creating incentives for behavior with the carrot can be effective. Don't forget about this other method used that stick. There are ways to place punishments. I go on your whole spreadsheet. For each goal, you can attach an action that you don't particularly like doing. If you don't achieve your goal by your specified deadline, you must do that. Action. Punishments that I have used include no television for one week, no dining out for one week, donating a bag of clothes, even if you still want them cleaning the grout, mowing the lawn or no, no bloody Mary brunch. Obviously, not all of these are punishments, but if there's something you don't particularly want to dio they could be effective. The important thing is to find something that you just like doing more than you dislike working in general. I agree with those who find that rewards or better motivators than punishments tryout both and see what works for you in general. I like spoiling myself, so I find that I will work harder for cake than to avoid something unpleasant. Cake always wins. So here's an example of a productivity spreadsheet that I'm working on right now for your course projects. Start working on your very own right now, with the guidance from this lesson and the previous lesson, we'll come back to this, but feel free to post your progress on the course website. Um, As you can see, I have the different, um, goals that I have set for myself on the left. Different projects a poetry projects, skill share classes, a screenplay, a novel, thes air, the lessons for the goals for the rest of the year. Obviously, you don't have to do this many things. Pick one or two, I would say at minimum two lessons to put on your goal spreadsheet, um, and then make the different categories that we spoke about in the previous lesson. Your progress, your goal, your target date, your reward and different little weekly goals for daily activities. Things like marketing block posts. And we'll talk about those a little more in the next couple of lessons but uses as an example. If you don't like excel, write it down, draw it, paint it, do a bullet journal whatever you like to dio. Um, just get something that you could take a screenshot of and post on the class for your project. Be creative. I've seen people do a watercolor version of this. It's all upto what you feel like doing and what motivates you. I print this out. I stick it on top of, you know, the wall behind my computer, and I use it as a way to motivate myself. So get started on yours now 10. The clock is ticking: use a timer. When I'm actually sitting on to write, I start something called the Pomodoro Method. You turn on a timer and work with complete and utter focus until it buzzes. The timer gives you a short period of work, followed by a short break, and on the fourth break you could take a little bit of a longer break. For instance, you could work for 1 15 minutes session and have a five minute break and so on until your longer fourth break of, say, 1/2 hour. The Pomodoro method works because it helps you to keep absolutely focused for short segments of time. It builds and breaks so that you don't have to switch your attention or focus for too long . When you know that the clock is taking you get over your own inner editor and start busting something out. Those fingers start skimming across the keyboard, and before you know it, you have put one word in front of the other, and something is starting to show for it or whatever project you're working on. You could work in short bursts, followed by a little bit of a break to give your mind a little bit of a break to give your hands a little bit of a break, and it really works. There are several free opposite used the Pomodoro method that you could download your desktop. You could change the settings to make the sessions longer shorter or make the time or tick or be quiet. You can minimize it or keep it open and taking away in your face. It could be as annoying or is quite as you want it to be, Um, or you could just use something like an egg timer. The timer on your phone. My mind is sort of slow in getting started sometimes. So Pomodoro is a good method for me because it allows me to have moments of unbroken focus with short breaks combined. Yet these brakes aren't short enough to divert my attention away from my project in a manner that makes it difficult for me to get started again. I give myself a word goal for an hour, say 500 words and try to make it happen before that longer break. I can start free writing with the timer starts and just keep on trucking until I hear that buzzer. The great thing about this method is that it really helps you get over yourself. If you're like me, you can incapacitate yourself with criticism before you even begin. Give yourself a chance to silence this critic. What a jerk! By making artificial deadlines every 15 minutes, pretty soon you'll be able to come in your convince yourself to start writing in short bursts like this. Even without the timer, the trains you to be productive on command. And that could be immensely useful. If you only have short snatches of time to work on something, say in between meetings and your car before work or a night before bed. Getting something done in a short time is a worthwhile skilled a home. Let's try and exercise together right for five minutes. Break for two, right for five minutes. Break for two. Now take stock. What did you get accomplished? Any good ideas in there? Post one of your ideas in the class discussion, no matter how silly it might seem? Or if you do some other sort of project, do that for a couple minutes and then break for to do you know the five minutes two minutes sessions here whatever you're working on, post a little about about that in the classes discussion and tell me how this method fell to you. Did it feel weird? Did it feel freeing? Did it fill? You know, just so so whatever you think posted in there be kind. Of course, but let me know if this method works for you at all. And then you could gradually start trying longer and longer. Stretches up to 15 minutes or so to see how that feels for you. 11. When to multitask: being about your free time in the evenings is that it isn't hard to multi task. Then, when you're watching television at night, how often do you find yourself with your smartphone in hand, cruising down Twitter Lane without even realizing it all the time, right? Well, instead of just using that time to passively consume multiple forms of media content, how about making some of your own stuff for people to view each evening When you're binging old episodes of The West Wing on Netflix? It's the perfect time to set up your tweets for the next day on hoots, weed or some other app that you use. Marketing and social media can be that simple as an added bonus. In addition to getting loads more written during the day, your free time we'll feel more productive to since you scheduled a whole day of social media posts and events, I like to use some of my unwinding time to check out stories on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Why not throw in a poster to for the evening? Even if it is not prime marketing time, you can always schedule it to with the way that time wise work on most social media sites. Now that is prioritizing when you see post by an algorithm rather than simple chronological order. People may still see your post sometime the next day, even if you don't schedule him. So if you can't schedule posted advance of certain sides or don't have the Absar software to do so, it never hurts to put up a few posts and get your voice and your work out there. If you're always around, people can forget you. This is also a great time to answer emails from the day to or to do research. You could stick a book on marketing, writing or creativity next your night stand or on your E reader and read 20 minutes or so of it before you switch to that mystery novel. Are you writing a book set in Shakespeare's time? Well set a book of Elizabethan drama next year. Bed. Do you want to get inspired by something totally outside of the genre you're writing? Stash from a book of nonfiction like Born to run under your television remote? Grab those research books right when you crawl into bed doing a little research every evening can add up to a lot by the end of the month. Also, it'll help help you avoid doing all your research during the day and cutting into your writing time. I used my Netflix time to make a list to I write down ideas that I had throughout the day, things I need to do, research that needs to be done and contacts that need to be made. Anything that you could do with half your brain. While watching television is something that doesn't have to be done during your work day. It all adds up. One last thing is that exercise time is great for multitasking. To throw on an audiobook or podcast while you're walking, running or riding the stationary bike, it gives you something to distract yourself from the huffing and puffing. And you could take off two things from your list. It once time management doesn't have mean that you have to give up doing all the things you like doing. Believe me, I love binging some TV shows, but if you could do a whole day's worth of marketing while Jane the Virgin is playing, then why the heck not 12. Course Project and Conclusion: Let's focus on your course project. It comes in three parts. Part one. List three things from your daily logs that you could change to make a more efficient or productive work day and post this to the class. Part two. Refer back to the lesson structuring your day and make a daily schedule Cut and paste or insert a screenshot of your schedule. Remember no personal or identifying details and posted to the class. Part three. Refer back to the lessons set, Golden Plan ahead and the other lesson. Incentives matter to make a project spreadsheet using Excel or Google docks or the form out of your choice. Break down your projects in the smaller goals and attach incentives and rewards for these tests, just like in the sample. When I showed you and post a screenshot of your productivity spreadsheet to the class, you should have been working on these things throughout the lessons as I guided you. So you should have a little bit of this at each point of the course. Um, take these things that you've been working on throughout the course. Flush the Mount finished them here in post them to the course. Um we can give feedback. Be kind to your fellow students. But no matter what, know that you're moving towards a more productive and efficient work schedule. I'm very proud of all the work you've done so far. And thank you for taking this course.