Freelance 101: Become a Productive, Efficient BEAST! | Storm | Skillshare

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Freelance 101: Become a Productive, Efficient BEAST!

teacher avatar Storm, Visual Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

5 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Automate Your Workflow

    • 3. How to Stop Wasting Time

    • 4. Optimizing Your Day - Start Strong!

    • 5. Class Project & Wrap Up

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About This Class

Are you a freelancer who’s been in business for many years, or is just starting out? It can be very hard to stay productive when life can be distracting and unpredictable, robbing you of a productive mindset.

In this class, students will learn fundamental tips and tricks to stay productive, like:

  • Optimizing Your Morning Routine
  • Utilizing Keyboard Shortcuts & Startup Tasks to Automate Your Workflow
  • Organizing Your Mobile Devices to Declutter Your Mind
  • Defining Your Priorities and Goals to Ensure Growth
  • and More!

Students of all categories of experience are encouraged to join, since the tips outlined in the class can be applied to any business, and to virtually any skill set!


Be sure to check out my other classes to further your freelancing career:

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image


Visual Artist



Hey there! I'm Storm. 

I'm a YouTuber, and Photographer. Thanks for checking out my profile!

I have a passion for creating professional, unique visual arts using budget gear.


In my classes you'll learn:

|>How to film and edit photos & videos on your smartphone

|>YouTube marketing and branding tips

|>Freelancing guides to help you succeed

...and much more! Let's have a good time!

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Are you a freelancer who's doing everything you can to stay on task, stay on track, and continue making money regardless of how long you've had your own business, it can be tough to make sure you're productive and things get done on time. In my previous skills sre class, I talked about time management tips and tricks for freelancers. So things that you can make sure you do to manage your time well so that you have time for business, but also for your personal life, making sure you're not overwhelmed and overloaded. In this class, which is a follow-up to that class, I'm gonna talk about productivity tips and tricks to make sure you're as productive as possible. And not only is your chi managed well, but you kinda trick your brain into being more productive and less stressed out. Some of the things we're gonna talk about is productivity tips to make sure you get things done faster. How to stop wasting time, things you should cut out of your daily routine to make you more productive and then generally just how to get more things done without thinking about it. So if you're a freelancer and any of that information appeals to you, He didn't roll and let's just go ahead and jump in. 2. Automate Your Workflow: First off, I'd like to speak to you freelancers who were using a laptop, a tablet, or a smart phone all day. If you have to use these things for your work, there are some things that you can do to make yourself more productive. Sometimes it's things you're not even thinking about. If your daily routine is usually the same for business, try to find ways to automate things. So instead of turning on your computer, waiting for it to turn on, opening a program, signing into a website, et cetera, et cetera, down the list until you have all six things open, you can automate all of those things. One of the easiest ways to do that in Windows is going to start up tasks. So what you can tell Windows to do basically open certain programs as soon as you turn on the computer. So instead of trying to find each program you want open, make sure every single program opens immediately. This is a pretty small tip, but it'll speed you up in the long run, I have an idea for three programs I want to open on startup, Adobe Creative Cloud. I also want Google Chrome and I'll also add Skype. So what will do is you can either type in the search bar, the name of your program, or you can scroll and find it. But once you find the program you want, hit the right-click key on your mouse and go to Open file location. And what that'll do is it'll open up the window that'll find the file location of that shortcut. So this'll find where the program is located on your computer. Next up, hit your Windows key and hold down windows are. That's going to bring up the Run menu on the bottom left. And what you want to type in a shell colon startup, and hit the Enter key. This is going to open up your startup menu box. So this is a folder where you can put startup programs in. So what we're gonna do is go back to our shortcut for Creative Cloud, right-click that. And what we're gonna do is copy this shortcut. Go back into your startup window, control V or paste. And there you are. Creative cloud will do the same for the other programs I mentioned. So I'll do Google Chrome, right-click Copy. Go back in here, right click paste. So those two are good to go. Now, this only works for desktop programs. So Windows programs, however, if you wanted to run an app, say Skype. If you notice, if you right-click that you're not gonna find Open file location. But if you go to App settings, that'll bring up the settings for Skype. And if you go down here to runs add login, you can open that as startup. So that's the other way to do it if the app doesn't show up because it's an app and not a program. You can go through this route as well. One seemingly simple way to streamline your workflow is learn keyboard shortcuts. The more shortcuts you can learn in the programs that you use frequently for work, the faster and more proficient you'll be at that work. Just by learning a couple of shortcuts, you can cut down tons of time based on tons of clicks that you wouldn't have to make if you're not sure exactly what shortcuts are available for the programs you use on a daily basis, be sure to do a quick Google search. And I guarantee that there's some you don't know about. This should save you time and make you more productive. Another tip for you desktop and laptop users, we can find ourselves increasingly overloaded when every time we open our computer, we find all of this work-related information. If you're like me as a desktop user. You're gonna have a ton of cabs open almost all the time. But that's kinda been getting to my mental health. Every time I open the computer and see all of these tabs, something I found useful that you might also find useful is bookmarking all of the sites that they need access to a lot, putting that in a bookmark folder. And then the next time I open my web browser, it's empty so it's uncluttered if I need to do something else that's not related to work. But then as soon as I need all that stuff open, I right click on that folder and it'll open all the tabs to the websites that I need. This will help you get rid of all the clutter and then bring it right back when you need it. Here's an example of how to make a bookmark folder and then open up all the tabs you need at once. So what you're going to need is make sure that you have every single website open that you would need in your folder or you'd need quick access to open and separate tabs. So make sure those are all open and tabs. And then there's a couple of different ways you can do this. I'm using the web browser, Microsoft Edge. However, this will work in Chrome and basically any other web browser you can find. So if you have a bookmarks bar viewable, this'll be super easy to right-click and then hit add folder. If you don't have your bookmarks bar available, you should be able to go into your settings are your options, and find a way to unhide it. But let's go ahead and right-click it and add a folder. And I'm just going to call my folder startup tabs. So startup tabs, you see it's currently empty, but now we're gonna go to each tab and just add these websites as bookmarks to this folder. So in Microsoft Edge is there's a little star icon and I know another web browsers, you actually have to go into the menu, but I'll do that. And what folder do we want? We want startup tasks done. Let's just go ahead and do this with every single one. Ok, so now those are all added to this folder. So the beauty of this is if I open a new window and this is what you would see when you first open it. If you right click on that folder, you can hit open all. And all of a sudden every single website that you had is going to open up just like that. So this is going to really streamline your workflow in order to make sure that you're not cluttered. You can close all of these tabs when you need it, but then you can also easily access them as soon as you do need them. The same can be true for you mobile users. So when it comes to the smartphone and tablet users, you can arrange all of your business apps into folders to make sure they're easy to access, but not too far away. And if you're using an iPhone or an iPad and the newer versions of iOS, you're also able to hide different pages. So if you want to make sure that everything's muscle memory mapped out for your business apps on one page and one screen at one time. But then you want to hide those during the weekend or your days off. Do it. It'll help you right here. Here's how to create new folders and pages to help you be more productive on mobile. On an iPhone, it's very easy. All you have to do is hold down an icon of an app and hit edit home screen. This will put everything in what Apple calls jiggle mode, which will allow you to move around your apps. The first thing you can do is make a brand new page for your things that you need for work, but nothing else. So if you don't have another page that's already available, scroll to the right and that'll create a new page for you. So it's not on your main page. Additionally, you can create folders with these apps. So let's say I wanna put Spark Video, VSCO, Cam, Hydra and splice as well as drive in their own folder. If you now hold down in Apple, it's in jiggle mode. You can move that and then tap on other apps to drag them together. Let's move that over to the next screen and drop them on top of dr, which is going to create a folder. This one says productivity. I'll just put work. If he hit done at the bottom right and then swipe up or hit your home button. That'll create the folder. So you can obviously have this folder wherever you want it. I'm going to move it back over here. But if you don't want it on the page with all your other icons, move it to its own page. In addition, in the newest version of iOS, iOS 14, you'll be able to hide this page so that when you're on the weekend or when you're not working, you won't have to see these apps at all. They'll still be available, but they just won't be taking up space. This should make it easy to compartmentalize the work apps you have and leave them until you need them. Next up, I'd like to talk about just how to stop wasting time. 3. How to Stop Wasting Time: How to stop wasting your time. One of the smallest things you can do that will have the greatest impact on your life is getting clear on your priorities. And one of the easiest way to get clear on your priorities is writing them down. What's most important to you in your life and where do you want to be? This will help you have a physical list to look back on when you're trying to decide whether to take on or say no to a certain thing, you'll be able to ask yourself, what will my schedule look like if I say Yes or No to distinct or when I'm on my deathbed, will ever regret not taking this opportunity, or will it not have been a big deal? Of course, if you need the money from a certain project, you can also use this idea to help you see where your priorities are for your time throughout the day. Instead of working 12 or 14 hours on a certain thing, especially if you're a freelancer, It can be easy to kinda let the time get away from you. You'll be able to set limits to make sure you know, when I'm on my deathbed, I would regret not spending time with my family because I worked 17 hours on this project today and for the next 345 months. Next up, if your niche of freelance allows you to batch your caste together, what do I mean by batch tasks? Basically, instead of doing one thing at a time for one project at a time or one thing at a time, try and use one block of time to do a ton of different things. So for example, if I'm a YouTube creator and I need to make a video every week, instead of making one video every week or filming one video every week, you could film five videos in one week so that you're set for over a month. This will keep you from getting run over by the train of content requirements or client requests. That kind of pile up if you're not able to kinda get ahead. But this doesn't have to just be directly related to your business. This can also be true with your errands and things around the house. If you can batch a lot of things together on one day or within one hour or one trip out of the house. That'll help you again just because you're ahead of the game. Another tip is just learning to say no. Are you perpetually busy? We have to learn to say no, so we can get to do what we actually want to be doing. Become mentally okay with saying no. Something to remember is when you say yes to an opportunity, you're incurring an opportunity cost, you're saying yes to this as saying no to something else that could be time, energy, or know to another project or thing. We have a limited amount of time, attention and energy. So we have to reframe our thinking to remember not everything can be done or should be done to get me to my long-term goals. There is a way to turn people down gracefully. And the way to do that is acknowledging the fact that you appreciate someone's asking you for the opportunity of your time, letting them know what it doesn't align with. Maybe you don't have enough time to give this project or this thing, enough attention to do it properly. Or maybe it's something that can be re-evaluated in the future to meet your needs as well. Make sure you ended in a positive way and maybe even recommend somebody else that you think can do better for you. Next up, use the pressure of deadlines to your advantage. When you don't have structure are deadlines, it's easy to just take the path of least resistance, which means doing nothing or not doing your best. Something to remember is discipline equals freedom. So instead of letting things happen haphazardly, having some sort of structure will help you get where you wanna go. Next step, let's talk about daily routines and things we do throughout the day. They can help or hinder us. 4. Optimizing Your Day - Start Strong!: Don't check socials as soon as you wake up. This gives your brain the incentive to say yes to novelty and no to hard work. Instead of training your brain to just get that dopamine hit. Tried to train your brain to do something hard instead to earn that novelty reward. So instead of immediately checking socials, leave your phone over there, get a quick workout in, get some reading in, or do something that gets your brain stimulated. And then later you can reward yourself after you've done your hard work. A couple of other things you can do is bulk prep your meals. So if you find that a bottleneck in your day is finding out what to eat or you're wasting money, which is wasting time. Then make sure to bulk prep and get that done ahead of time early in the week to make sure you have time for the things you need to do. And you're not fumbling around trying to figure out what to eat or not eating. You can also clean your workspace to its neutral state once you're done using it, so that every time you go back to your workspace, it's clean and your invigorated to ready to work instead of dream because it's not clean or you're kind of stuck in that state. It was before maybe before your bed routine add-in, cleaning up. Another tip is plan your next day, the night before. That way when you wake up, you have a concrete plan for how you want your data go. And it's a lot easier to get started on that plan rather than trying to figure out that plan in the morning, wasting 30 minutes or an hour trying to get a game plan together and you've already wasted time. You could've been using on your plan for the day as freelancers where our own boss, we want the best boss we can have, right? When your boss is you, you have to do things that'll make your employee happy. That means taking care of your time, taking care of your mental health, and doing little things that add up to a happier life. 5. Class Project & Wrap Up: For the class project in this class, I'd like you to submit a list of your own priorities. Show us what's most important to you. The beauty about this list is you can keep it handy. So when you're making decisions and large choices, you can refer back to it to make sure they align with your goals. You'll be able to see my example list in my class project below. It'll be really inspiring to see what motivates you to stay on track. I hope you found value in these productivity tips and that they can help you in your freelance business if this class benefitted you at all, please leave me your rating and let me know and also let me know what I can do better. Additionally, if you want to check out the time management tips and tricks for freelancers, feel free to check that class out as well. Appreciate your time. See you in the next one.