Work Less & Make More Money Through Time Optimization | Leighton Smith | Skillshare

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Work Less & Make More Money Through Time Optimization

teacher avatar Leighton Smith, Webmaster & Website Designer

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

22 Lessons (2h 16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Time Audits

    • 3. Happiness Audits

    • 4. Prioritize Your Time

    • 5. Calendar & Time Blocks

    • 6. Phone Notifications

    • 7. Unsubscribe Your Inbox

    • 8. Limit Social Media

    • 9. Declutter Your Workspace

    • 10. Reminders Notes & Tasks

    • 11. Breaks & Celebrations

    • 12. Sleep & Nourishment

    • 13. Systems & Processes

    • 14. Automation

    • 15. Delegation

    • 16. Meetings

    • 17. Deadlines

    • 18. Say "No"

    • 19. Raise Your Rates

    • 20. Collaboration & Networking

    • 21. Passive Income

    • 22. Conclusion

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About This Class

Welcome to this productivity and time management course!

I’m Leighton, a seasoned entrepreneur and freelancer. Juggling owning a business, serving hundreds of clients, and achieving a work-life balance has taught me to be disciplined with my time, and I would love to share these productivity secrets with you.

So let me ask you:

  • Have you ever felt overwhelmed?

  • Over-worked?

  • Too much to do and not enough time in the day?

If you relate to any of those feelings, let’s work together to better understand your time, maximize your productivity and optimize your business.

First, we’ll take a step back and audit your time to get a better picture of exactly how you’re spending it.

Once we know that, we’ll discuss ways to increase your personal productivity by:

  1. Prioritizing Your Time

  2. Using Your Calendar & Time Blocks

  3. Managing Your Phone Notifications

  4. Unsubscribing Your Inbox

  5. Limiting Social Media

  6. Decluttering Your Workspace

  7. Utilizing Your Reminders, Notes & Tasks

  8. Taking Breaks & Celebrating Accomplishments

  9. Getting Adequate Sleep & Nourishment

Finally, we’ll switch gears to optimizing your business: As an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you can optimize your productivity through:

  1. Systems & Processes

  2. Automating

  3. Delegating

  4. Purposeful Meetings

  5. Setting Deadlines

  6. Saying "No"

  7. Raising Your Rates

  8. Collaborating & Networking

  9. Generating Passive Income

This course is designed to be interactive. Each lesson will have homework at the end as well as opportunities to “pause and do something” so you can practice these productivity techniques. The lessons can generally be taken in any order, so feel free to bookmark the ones that you especially want to implement.

By the end of this course, I want you to feel motivated to take back control of your time. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Leighton Smith

Webmaster & Website Designer


My name is Leighton Smith, an enthusiastic resident of East Tennessee. In business, I wear several metaphorical “hats.” I am Pioneer Media’s website designer, web developer and webmaster. Each is a unique role in the process of creating a website. As a “solopreneur” freelancer, I am self-employed and the one-and-only point-of-contact for my clients' websites. I’ve built 100s of websites since learning to code in 2006 and absolutely love what I do. In addition to helping small businesses, I enjoy volunteering, strengthening relationships and traveling the world.

My flagship business course, How to Create a Successful Website Design & SEO Business for 2021, has 20 hours of content divided into 7 sections: Fundamentals of Web Design... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to this productivity and time management course. I'm Leighton, a seasoned entrepreneur and Freelancer, juggling, owning a business, serving hundreds of clients, and achieving a work-life balance has taught me to be disciplined with my time. Now I love to share these Productivity secrets with you. So let me ask you. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, overworked, too much to do and not enough time in the day. If you relate to any of those feelings, Let's work together to better understand your time, maximize your productivity, and optimize your business. First, we'll take a step back and audit your time to get a better picture of exactly how you're spinning it. Once we know that, we'll discuss ways to increase your personal productivity by one, prioritizing your time to using your calendar and time blocks. Three, managing your phone notifications for unsubscribe in your inbox. Five, limiting social media. Six, de-cluttering your workspace. 7, utilizing your reminders, notes and tasks. Eight, taking breaks and celebrating. And nine, getting adequate sleep and nourishment. Finally, we'll switch gears to your business. As an entrepreneur or a freelancer, you can optimize your productivity through one, systems and processes to automation. Three, delegation for having purposeful meetings. Five, setting deadlines. Six, saying No. 7, raising your rates. Eight, collaborating and networking. And nine, generating passive income. Now this course is designed to be interactive. Each lesson will have homework at the end. Well as opportunities to pause and do something. So you can put into practice these productivity techniques. Now the lessons can generally be taken in any order. So feel free to bookmark the ones that you especially want to implement. And by the end of this course, I want you to feel motivated to take back control of your time. Are you ready? I certainly do. 2. Time Audits: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a seasoned entrepreneur. Let's talk about maximizing your profits and productivity by first auditing your time. The key message of this lesson is understanding how your time is spent each day will put you in a better position to optimize it. Let's dive into that, starting with some questions. But what is a time on it? Well, think of the word audit. An audit is an inspection or an examination. Well, your finances might get audited to better understand the taxes you owe. Likewise, your time can be audited to better understand how you spend it. After a few days of keeping track of your time, you will have a clear picture of how your time is spent. Why do you think that would be valuable? What do we do with that information? Will ultimately, our goal is to become more productive as a freelancer or an entrepreneur or a business owner. But before we can optimize our time, we have to understand it. For example, let's say you're feeling overwhelmed in your business. You know, you're working 50 hours a week, but ten hours is spent on accounting, sending invoices, collecting payments, et cetera. Now, if that accounting task is automated or delegated to an accountant, that frees up ten hours that you can reallocate to your other goals. But if you didn't audit yourself, step back and assess how those 50 working hours are being spent. You might not have realized that 1000 hours are being spent on a task that someone else can do. And maybe it felt more like a couple hours. And because you didn't realize there was an issue, you didn't address it. Another example, what if ten of those 50 hours is spent commuting to meetings across town and went out, even cutting out the meetings. They were simply converted to a phone call or video conference, cut out the transit time. That would be an extra ten hours or 600 minutes that you can reallocate elsewhere. Do you think you could use an extra 10 hours each week? How would you spend it? The point is this, accounting is part of doing business. Meetings are part of doing business. But when you take a step back and audit exactly how your time is spent, you can spot these trends and chip away at tasks that might not require as much of our precious time as we think. So how do we perform this time on it? Do you think that this requires any fancy software? Not necessarily. You can do this with just a pen and paper, a spreadsheet, or your calendar or a clock apps. Let's not overthink that part. Here's what we do each day. I want you to write down exactly what you do and for how long. For example, seven to eight morning routine, eight to nine morning e-mails, 9 to 11, client meetings, sales calls, 30 minutes of exercise, 40 minute lunch, coffee runs, naps, jogs, studying social media, editing, writing, emails, television, Netflix, whatever you do, write down whatever that task is and how long it lasted. At this point, please pause the video and prepare your time audit document or spreadsheet. Create one column for the task and one for the duration. Now you don't need to worry about analyzing anything the first few days. Remember, initially you're just collecting data. After you have a week's worth of time data though, you can start spotting trends. Let's analyze those trends. Perform an audit on ourselves. Look at the data and ask yourself, how does your time being spent each week? What's consuming your day? See you as a business owner or freelancer. It's easy to say work. I worked throughout the day. But on a micro level, what does that work involve? Is it mostly emails, meetings, financials, idle time, study your document, your paper, your spreadsheet, whatever you use to perform your time on it. So you can better understand how your time is being spent each week. And think about how empowering this is. By comparison. Did't think that's someone on a diet might be surprised to learn how many calories they consume each day. Or someone in debt might be surprised to find out how much money is being spent on lunches and coffee. Likewise, you might be surprised to find out exactly what's taking up your time. And once you've figured out out, you can start mastering your productivity and aligning your goals with your reality. So we have the best intentions with how we want to spend our time. I think about it. What are your goals? What do you, what would you like to accomplish each week? How do you want to spend your time? Do you want to commit a few hours each week to exercise, landing new clients, networking and meeting new people, volunteering. See whatever you intend to achieve with your time. Analyze what is my time audits show. Is there a misalignment between how you'd like to spend your week and how it's actually spent. The point is this, you can't achieve your goals in life. Your time is wasted or mismanaged. And this course will teach you practical ways to reallocate your time to reach those goals. So let's recap. The key takeaway. Understanding how your time is spent each day will put you in a better position to optimize it. And what's your homework? I want you to perform your time Audit over the next several days. First, collect your data, then analyze it for trends. I'm Leighton and now you know how to perform a time off. 3. Happiness Audits: Welcome, I'm Leighton and enthusiastic freelancer. This time management lesson is about auditing your happiness. The key message of this lesson is recognizing what brings you joy will help you prioritize your time to achieve a work-life balance and do more of what you love. Looking at your own happiness might see off-topic for productivity course at the role. This is not a self-help or self-care class. And happiness is subjective. But let's explore how we can relate your happiness with your time management. Now in the previous lesson, you got a better understanding of how your time is spent each day. So what did you find? Were you surprised by the results? It's empowering to know what's taking up your time. Because once you know that you're in a better position to cut out unnecessary tasks and reallocate your time. But what do we reallocate it to see this course will teach you how to free up your time. But then what can we do with all that extra time? Once you have a couple of weeks worth of data on your time audit. Now I want you to perform a different kind of audit, one that I'm calling a happiness audit. This is not on your time, but on you and what brings you joy. This concept is similar to the idea of work-life balance. What does the term work-life balance means to you? It's finding a balance between your job or career and your personal life. Many people feel that striking that balance helps you achieve happiness. But what if you enjoy your work as a freelancer or an entrepreneur? You might have a passion for what you do. Maybe you're a designer who was a passionate creative at heart. Maybe you're a videographer or director who loves to see stories come to life? Or do you are a business owner and daily get to help people in your respective field. For people who agree with those sentiments, working less is not necessarily the answer. That's why performing a happiness audit goes beyond work-life balance. It goes beyond striving to work an X number of hours per week. Put simply, the happiness audit helps you do more of what you love. Whether that be your work, you're volunteering, traveling, Hobbes, passion projects, et cetera. So how does a happiness audit work? This one doesn't take place throughout the day. Rather, it's in the evening. At the end of the day. Make a note, a calendar, a spreadsheet entry, and list five things that brought you joy that day. Five moments where you felt happy. It's as simple as that. At this point, please pause the video, prepare your happiness audit document or spreadsheet, prepared to record five moments that brought you joy each day of the week, a couple of weeks of doing this, and you'll start to spot some trends. What do you think brings you joy? Is it Creative Projects, connecting with people, volunteering, solving problems, building things, traveling? That data can be very enlightening because here's the goal. Your happiness audit will give you the clarity you need to prioritize the things that matter most to you. Now, let's consider a common objection to this exercise. How can you monetize the results of your happiness audit? Now it's easy to say, Well, I love Gulf, but as a hobby, golf doesn't pay the bills. And that may be true. Some hobbies are difficult to monetize or make money off of. What consider some examples. Do you love to travel? This travel bringing you joy? So can you think of any ways that travel could be monetized? Obviously, you could be a travel agent, travel blogger, child will influencer. These are direct ways to capitalize on your desire to see the world. And if you can do that, great more power to you. But how do you think that you could indirectly fuel that passion through your work? What about freelancing? Writing, copy editing, video editing, web design, web development, coding, graphic design, social media management, marketing and branding. Those types of careers can be done from anywhere in the world needing just Internet access and a computer. Therefore, in our example, you could do what you love, travel and still pay the bills. See that's the goal to find ways to complement what you want to do and what you have to do. There are plenty of careers that can support either directly or indirectly, the lifestyle you want to live and reflecting on what brings you joy. Will help you shape that lifestyle. And if you have the freedom to pick and choose what projects you work on, consider which ones that you accept. Do you have that freedom? Can you set your own rates and control which clients you do business with? Un many freelancers and business owners do. If so, consider which types of projects you enjoy. Inevitably, some projects will be exciting and others will simply be a paycheck. For example, think of the last five clients, projects, gigs, jobs you've had. Which of those five did you enjoy the most? About the least. If you had the opportunity to go back and decline one of those, would you see this is a type of self-reflection and mindset you need to have by reflecting on those projects. In hindsight, you might realize something that you gravitate toward a certain niche, a certain field or type of project that you enjoy the most. And obviously all projects you'll pay the bills. And when you first start out in business or freelancing, it's normal to take every client that comes your way. But if you do have that freedom to pick and choose the ones you accept, focus on the ones that you're passionate about, the ones you're excited to work on each day. Another consideration, how does the happiness audit effect entrepreneurs? Often, a business owner has more freedom to set their own schedule. In fact, that's one of the main appeals of owning and running a business. You have that flexibility to structure your time. Now that's not to say that business owner and you're just sitting around doing nothing more often than not. They're hustling, trying to drum up business and provide a quality product or service. But in terms of choosing when to work and for how long, business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers generally do have that choice. So how can you use that to act on the results of your happiness audit? By focusing more time and attention on the parts of your business that you actually enjoy and delegate the rest, automate the rest, simplify it, cut it out if you can, or at least cut it out of your personal responsibilities. If you have the flexibility of schedule and think about what tasks you're assigning and booking for yourself. But now you might wonder, what if you're too busy with work to focus on what you enjoy? You might be thinking late and I'm swamped with work. I have so little extra time for things that make me happy. Well, first off, understand that this lesson is simply an audit, much like your time on it. You're simply gathering information about yourself. The rest of this course, we'll walk you through clear, actionable ways to maximize your productivity and prioritize your time to increase the quality of your work while decreasing the time spent on it. And when you do this, you'll have more time to focus on what you love, which all goes back to looking within and figuring out how you want to spend your time. So let's recap the key takeaway. Recognizing what brings you joy will help you prioritize your time to achieve a work-life balance and do more of what you love. What your homework. I want you to perform your happiness audits by recounting five moments that brought you joy each day. I'm late, and now you know how to perform happiness on it. 4. Prioritize Your Time: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a passionate webmaster. Today's productivity tip is about prioritizing your time. The key message of this lesson is recognize them focus on the most important tasks of each day and don't get too lost in the details. Expound on this productivity principles. Starting with a question. At the end of the day, have you ever felt like you just didn't get anything accomplished? You were busy? Sure. But the most important tasks remain incomplete. Or you were so busy with the minor tasks than inlets, distractions that you didn't even get to start. The most important tasks. We can all relate to this feeling. See there are so many things competing for our attention. Social media, phone notifications, emails, calls, texts, messages. We can easily get sidetracked. It happens to us all. Today's lesson is about figuring out what's most important on your to-do list. Now remember, this first collection of lessons contains general productivity principles that can be applied to both your professional and your personal to-do list. A busy work day or a day off. Think about it. Aren't there things that you want to accomplish that aren't work-related? It'd be fixed, the faucet, mow the lawn, read your book, Pay Bills, write a card, call a friend, whatever you have going on, chances are there certain things that you would like to get done? And when do you think would be a good time to start planning that? Ideally the night before. So what did we start winding down in the evening? Our minds are typically spinning with ideas and anxieties. Can you relate to that? To laying down and thinking. There's just so much to do and not enough time. And to make matters worse. Stressing about tomorrow can interrupt to night sleep, which inevitably leads to a sluggish sleep deprived tomorrow. But we might think there's so much to prepare for. And there's projects deadlines, meetings. Oh, my how do we possibly organize and prioritize all those thoughts? By offloading them out of your mind and onto your planner. Whether this be your calendar, your notes, app, Reminders, app, time planner, whatever you use, free up your mind by writing down the tasks you need to accomplish the next day. Mini sleep experts will attest to the benefits of clearing your thoughts by writing them down. Now personally, I use the reminders app on my computer and phone. I have a list called today. In your today list, write down the most important tasks you'd like to accomplish the next day. Focus on the three to five most important tasks. The ones that if you didn't accomplish anything else that day, it would still be considered a successful day. In fact, let's try an exercise. In the last few days, what were the most important tasks that you accomplished? And I'm not talking about checking your e-mail, not browsing social media. I'm talking about maybe launching a project. Important cells, meetings, signing up a new client, interviewing new hires, building a website, performing an SEO audit, designing a new logo for a client, whatever it is in your particular field. What were the most important things you accomplished in the last few days? See, thinking on that level will prepare your mind to prioritize tasks for the coming days. At this point, please pause the video and reflect on what valuable tasks you successfully completed the last few days. Next, write down three to five high priority tasks you would like to accomplish tomorrow. Now remember that it's important to limit the number of tasks you write down. Inevitably. What do you think could happen if you add too many things to you today to this? That's right. You could easily get overwhelmed and feel disappointed and not taking care of everything you wrote down to do. Now as a side point, there's nothing wrong with a long-term to-do list. Things that might not get accomplished for another week or month or year. Add as many things that you'd like to that list. In fact, we'll discuss that in an upcoming lesson. But for now, I'm talking about prioritizing your day-to-day time. Focus on completing the most important tasks first, then re-evaluate what's left for the minor tasks. How can freelancers prioritize their time? Well, let's say you're a logo designer and you're generally doing one commission design per day. That's five logos per week. And let's say that each design takes you a couple hours. So what do you think is the number one priority of each day? Get that logo done no matter what your first priority is to complete today's logo design. Otherwise though, Paul up, you'll have four or five logos on your plate. And let's say you're a writer. You're being paid to write web pages, edit documents, proofread book chapters. But you also eventually want to update your personal website, freshen up your LinkedIn biography, or post a work-related social media update. What do you think is the most important? And out of those tasks, the paid content writing and editing work or those back burners side tasks. Clearly, priority number one is what you're being paid to do. In this example, you aren't being paid to update your social media or your website. It's good to get around it, those things eventually. But don't get so caught up in the minor tasks that you fail to complete the projects you're being paid to do. Prioritize your time. And if there's time left than a day, by all means, do take care of those lower priority items. Let's look at one final example. Videographers. If you're in the video production field, you know how long video editing can take. Actually any editing for that matter. Whether you're in Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Lightroom, you can spend some long days and long nights doing editing. And do you think that would be considered a high priority task? For sure, editing is a critical part of the quality, product and service you provide. So yes, it is a high priority task. So for this example, let's look at another productivity principle, the big picture. If you strive for perfection in your editing, your client work, even your personal home improvement project. You'll end up spending far more time than is necessary. And think about it. If you had three videos, you know, you need to edit, but you're stuck holding yourself to this high standard of perfection and can't get the first one just right. You will remain busy, inundated, swamped, missing deadlines and passing up potential work. So ask yourself, will the client and notice the little perfectionist details that I'm stressing over. Did they ask for this little feature that I'm trying to perfect? Now? Please understand that this is not an admission to do sloppy work. It's simply a reminder to not get too lost in the details. Focus on the big picture. In fact, truth be told, nothing is ever perfect. Wouldn't you agree? We can continue editing and refining our work endlessly, but that only causes the projects Apollo up. So do good work by stopping point where the project is impressive enough for the client to sign off on and move on to the next project. So let's recap the key takeaway. Recognize them, focus on the most important tasks of each day and don't get too lost in the details. And what's your homework? I want you to prepare your calendar, your planner. Today lists on your Reminders app, and write down the highest priority tasks for tomorrow. I'm Leighton and now you know how to prioritize your time. 5. Calendar & Time Blocks: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a website designer. In this productivity lesson, we're learning about calendars and time blocks. The key message of this lesson is to be more organized with your time. Utilize your calendar to the full schedule time with yourself to complete certain tasks. So how did we go about that? Well, let's discuss starting with a question. Do you use a calendar? If so, what sort of events do you put on your calendar? If you're faithful to your calendar, you no doubt, but the major events on it, such as a wedding, an anniversary, a party, a business meeting. Those events deserved to be on your calendar. But why? Why do you think it's valuable to add important events to your calendar so you don't forget about them. You likely live a busy life and the busier we are, that easier it is to forget about every little commitment we've made each day. So save yourself the embarrassment of missing an important appointment and use your calendar. Whether this is in print or digital. Although I would say the major benefit of digital calendars is synchronization across your devices. You can have your calendar synchronized across your phone, your tablet, and your computer. So it's always with you. But what have you aren't used to checking your calendar. How can you make sure you don't miss an important meeting? What do you think could help with that? For one, you could set alerts, a life-saving productivity features built into most digital calendars. When you create an event, there's typically an alert option where you can set to be notified five minutes before an appointment begins. Ten minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, two hours a day a week. These alerts are super-helpful to ensure that you don't miss an important appointment. Take advantage of this productivity feature built right into your calendar. At this point, please pause the video, pull out your calendar, and set an alert for an important future event. So what else can you do to supercharge your calendar? You could set up a multiple calendars. Most calendar apps let you do this. Can you think of any appropriate categories for your events? Perhaps personal and work? See mini calendar apps already come with a separate calendar for holidays and one for birthdays. In addition to those, you could create one for personal, one for work, whatever makes sense for your life. And a major benefit of doing this is color coding. When each calendar has its own color, your mind starts to associate that color. Would that type of event, which makes it quicker and easier to figure out how your day or week is partitioned and therefore manage your time better. But all of this comes with a caution. So we're discussing how important it is to put events on your calendar to use it to the full. But what do you think could be the downside of maybe scheduling too many events in your day? Could that end up being counterproductive? Here's the caveat. Beware over scheduling. Let's think on this. If every minute of your working day is preplanned or promise to someone else, how do you respond to an important unexpected phone call, an impromptu meeting, a flash of design inspiration. If you're a designer, yes, you need to allow for flexibility in your schedule to maximize your creativity. As a freelancer or an entrepreneur. You don't want to miss an important meeting or event, but you also don't want to be so busy with back-to-back appointments each day that you feel overwhelmed. So stay on top of your calendar. Let it empower you, but don't let it control you. Finally, let's talk about one more way that you can use your calendar to increase your productivity. Time blocks. And what is a time block? It's when you block a segment of time to complete a certain task. It's kind of like scheduling an appointment with yourself. How would you do that? Well, when you block a specific set of time, like say nine o'clock to 12 o'clock. Your goal for that time is to complete that one task. Now to answer the phone, not to get sidetracked, Not digits, also media, but to complete that task. Let's say you're a videographer, you might schedule time to catch up on video editing, not filming, but editing. If you're a website designer, you could devote a few hours exclusively to one particular website and try to get as much done as possible. And that one particular site. If you're a business owner, you could block out a segment of time to review your monthly or quarterly reports and optimize your business. See you when you're so busy running your business, it can be challenging to find time to work on your business. You make time with people who request a meeting. You make time for your clients. Now, make time for yourself. Take out your calendar schedule blocks of time to be singularly focused on a task. And you'll get far more done than if you just waited around for some free time and build it spontaneously. So let's recap the key takeaway. To be more organized with your time. Utilize your calendar to the full set alerts and colors. Avoid over scheduling and block out time to focus on completing specific tasks. And what's your homework? I want you to review your calendar to find ways that you could use it to increase your productivity. Try creating separate categories for calendars if you don't already utilized that, Richard. I'm Leighton. And now you know how to be more productive by using your calendar and Taiwan. 6. Phone Notifications: Welcome. I'm Leighton, a designer of websites. In this time management lesson, let's discuss your phone notifications. The key message of this lesson is that Emmett your phone notifications to minimize distractions and increase your productivity. I'm very passionate about this topic. So let's begin starting with an example. Let's see if you can relate to this. So you're watching this video and all of a sudden you get a text message notification. Sound familiar. So in that moment, what happened to your attention while you were watching that video? It goes to that notification. Whether you tap on it or not, your focus temporarily shifted. Let's say you swipe up to dismiss a notification. Then minutes later, breaking news, your favorite news app notifies you of the latest breaking news. By the way, since when did every current events turn into breaking news? I thought that was just reserved for the most important news. Well, you're watching this video and if the headline interests you, which it probably does, since the news app knows your preferences, what does your mind do? Are you still 100% laser-focused on this video? So you tap the notification to read it real quick. Let's say you spend five minutes reading the article. While you're in the news app, another headline catches your attention and you end up skimming through two more articles before returning to the task at hand, watching that video. So let's take a step back and reflect on this. What happened in those moments. Whether you dismiss a notification or pursued it, What happened to your focus? It was divided, redirected. You were no longer giving your primary task 100% of your attention. A portion of your attention was unexpectedly stolen from you. Now don't get me wrong. That text message might have been important to you. That news article might have been important to you. But they will be there once you are ready to check them. And that's the key. You aren't deleting the content. Rather, you're deleting the distraction. Remember, you can check these notifications once you're finished with your current task. So in a practical way, how do we do this? How do you take control of your phone notifications? We'll start by going to your device's notification settings. Most modern phones, tablets, and computers have these settings. Depending on the type of phone you have. This is typically in your settings app. Then notifications. On this screen, you can control exactly how you want notifications to display. You'll generally find notification settings, as well as individual notification instructions for each app on your phone. You can select pop-up notifications, temporary notifications, sounds bad, counts, previews, or just turn everything off for a particular app. In other words, for your most important apps, like phone and messages, you might like to see quick notifications. Whereas lesser important apps like a game, you might choose to turn these off completely. In fact, which apps on your device would you consider to be important to you? Which would you classify as less important? Let's consider one example. Games. Games or for your entertainment. For your downtime. There's nothing wrong with having games on your phone. But do you really need those marketing notifications from your games during work hours? Is it necessary to let that sidetrack your focus? Again, there's nothing wrong with having the game, but let u be in control of when you play it. Now, let's talk about notifications for your emails. Do you have a separate e-mail inbox for work and for personal on for your business and another for everything else. If so, which e-mail account would you consider to be more important? Many people would consider at least one of their email addresses to be less important. And in terms of notifications, you can go into settings, notifications male and selectively turn off notifications for certain mail accounts. For example, an account that's full of emails from Groupon, your favorite clothing brand, your favorite local coffee shop. Those are not nearly as important as your valuable working mils. So turn off the notifications for your personal account. So you'll only be notified for the more important ones. It'll be a lot more productive when you aren't being bombarded with marketing emails all day long. At this point, please pause the video, go into your phone notifications, settings, and review all the options available to you. Now you could be dramatic, turn off all notifications across your entire device. Or for a less drastic approach, try this. Each time a notification arrives, evaluate its importance. If it was unnecessary, provided no value or sidetracked, you go into settings and turn it off. Invest a minute or two now to strengthen your future productivity. With less of these unnecessary distractions, you'll be more focused to complete the task at hand. So let's recap the key takeaway, or disable notifications for each app on your device, or turn them off completely. Controlling your phone notifications will increase your productivity. What's your homework? I want you to review your phone notifications, settings, make changes as necessary, and evaluate future notifications for their employment. I'm Leighton. And now you know how to take control of your phone notifications. 7. Unsubscribe Your Inbox: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a search engine optimizer. Today we're going to learn how to maximize productivity by unsubscribe in your email inbox. The key message of this lesson is cut down the distraction of unimportant e-mails on subscribing to anything unnecessary. Very passionate about this tip. So let's jump in starting with a question. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your email inbox? So you are not alone. Email marketing is one of the most popular forms of marketing on the planet. So you're likely bombarded with brands filling your inbox to compete for your attention. In fact, go ahead and pause this video, open up your inbox and review the last 10 email sent to you as part of a marketing campaign. Personal emails sent exclusively to you don't count. So what did you find? How did you feel about those brands in your inbox? Did you find value in the email they sent? Perhaps you regularly receive coupons from brands you're loyal to. Great, that's valuable to you. But what appear on the e-mail list for a company that you don't really care for it anymore. Or you bought a certain products several years ago and you're still getting marketing material from them even though you don't intend to buy again. Why do you think those brands keep you on their list? Well, one, to keep themselves top of mind. For example, if you regularly receive e-mails from a restaurant you enjoy, next time you're looking for a place to eat. You'll recall that particular restaurant that dominates your inbox. They want to keep their brand in the forefront of your mind. And to, to sell to you. Perhaps you bought a product from a certain company. And at some point in the transaction, you entered your email address. And now you often receive marketing e-mails from them. What do you think is the point of those e-mails? To keep you returning as a customer, to upgrade your product, to buy more accessories. The point is this, they don't just want your business once, they once you for life. So what's the point of this conversation? Here's the point. Understand why your inboxes full so you can take control of it. So how do we do that? By not just turning off the e-mail notifications, but removing the emails completely with not the delete button, but the unsubscribe button. So if you just select all of your emails and click, Delete all, clean out your inbox. What do you think could happen over time? That's right. They keep coming. Instead, cut them off at the source. Click the unsubscribe link, the bottom of every email that you no longer wish to receive. It's amazing how empowering this is. You can spend some time doing this once or try this actionable tip. Each time you receive a new email, evaluate it. Am I receiving value out of the sea mill? Do I wish to continue receiving e-mails from this company? If the answer is no, click unsubscribe. Remember, unsubscribed doesn't cut the company out of your life completely. If you want another product or service from them in the future, you can always just go to their website or visit them in person. For example, if you want subscribe from e-mails from your favorite paint company, you can always buy more paint from them. Go to the local paint store when you're ready. When you're ready. When you're ready, Don't let the paint company come to you and tell you when it's time to buy. Take control by waiting until the need for more paint arises, then take action on your terms. And if you need a coupon, you can do a quick Google search to see if there's one floating around. Coupons aren't, aren't always exclusive to email subscribers. There's plenty of coupons sitting around on the internet. And finally, if you're worried about missing legitimately important email from a business, remember that many companies have a managed subscription button so that you can selectively unsubscribe only the types of emails that you no longer want, but still remain on the list for the more important messages. For example, your favorite social media sites would love to email you about every little notification and every little micro interaction. But maybe you only want to know when you get a direct message or something more personal like that. So you can click the unsubscribed link. And it will take you to a screen where you can selectively unsubscribe to only those types of emails. Doing so will cut down your distractions, therefore, increasing your productivity and making your life a little bit easier. Let's recap the key takeaway. Cut down the distraction of unimportant emails by subscribing to anything unnecessary. And what's your homework? Each time you receive an e-mail, evaluate its importance, and click unsubscribes as often as necessary. Leighton. And now you know how to save time by unsubscribed in your inbox. 8. Limit Social Media: Welcome. I'm Leighton, a business owner. Today's time management lesson is all about limiting social media. The key message of this lesson is monitor, deactivate, or set limits on your personal social media usage, increase productivity, and save time. Let's discuss this timely tip starting with a question. Do you feel addicted to social media? Do you find yourself spending several hours on your favorite social media apps and websites? If not, you can skip this lesson. But the majority of us can relate to those feelings to some degree. In fact, did you know that social media algorithms are specifically designed to keep you engaged and spend more time on their app. I'll think about it. When you open up your favorite social media app and go to your home feed, is it in strictly chronological order or are the top posts juicy? Based on your interests and activity? How do you think those posts are chosen for you? Because your activity has proven that you spend more time interacting with those accounts then with others that you follow. Say they want to create the perfect personalized experience for you to keep you engaged. And remember, what's their business plan to show you ads, but you can't see while you aren't in the app, their entire profit strategy is to keep you engaged. So how does all of this affect your productivity? Consider, the more time you spend on social media, the less time you spend working. Unless of course, your business involves social media. If you're a social media manager, marketing manager or advertising specialists, you need to be on social media for work. And that's different. In that case, social media isn't personal time, it's for work. But even so, if you use social media for your business, consider how much of your non-work time is spent on your personal social media accounts. So how do we track this? Are you aware of how much time you spend on social media? Did you know that you can figure this out down to the minute That's right, right there on your phone, you can open up a time tracking app like screen time for iOS. This will tell you how you spend your time when your device. All of these metrics are valuable. But for this lesson, we're focusing on the category social networking. You can see how much time you spend on that entire category, as well as on the individual apps within the category. At this point, please pause the video and open up your screen time. Digital well-being or similar device usage tracker. Review this data, especially the time spent on social networking. So how can we take action on this data? Well, simply beyond tracking your usage, some of these apps let you set time limits. Do you use Instagram? On Instagram, for example, you can go into settings, your activity time to set a pop-up that notifies you after you've spent a designated amount of time on the app, how do you think a pop-up saying that you've spent an hour or so on Instagram today could help your productivity by raising your awareness and understanding of where your time is going. Once you have that awareness, they'll make it a lot easier to make positive changes. At this point, please pause the video and if you have Instagram, go into your Instagram app, go into settings, your activity, time to set a daily reminder. Another consideration, limit notifications. This goes along with the previous lesson. Social networks are notorious for over notifying you of micro-interactions to keep you coming back. Getting a lot of emails from social media. Unsubscribe too many notifications within the app. Turn off the types of notifications you don't want. Remember, someone liking your photo is much less important than a direct message. Consider which notifications you use specifically Wundt and turn off the rest. You can catch up on those little interactions, likes comments on your own time. You don't need a notification side tracking your current task. Finally, let's talk about the more drastic option. If you have multiple social media accounts, can you delete one or more social apps? Which one do you use the least? Which one are you more addicted to? Which one is stealing the most of your time? Remember, you don't necessarily have to delete your entire account if you don't want to start by deleting the app, the distraction. In fact, many social networks have a mobile version that isn't as fun as the app. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles. So most people spend less time on it. Now if you're willing to delete your social app, you can visit that social networks mobile site every now and then to catch up on your friend's posts. Ultimately, this follows one of the most important productivity principles. Remove distractions. If a certain app is taking up too much of your time, delete it plain and simple. So let's recap the key takeaway. Monitor, deactivate, or set limits on your personal social media usage to increase productivity and save time. In what your homework, I want you to review your device usage steps, set a time limit on your social media, delete the app you no longer need or that take up too much. I'm Leighton. And now you know how to save time by controlling your social media usage. 9. Declutter Your Workspace: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a techie. This productivity lesson explores the value of de-cluttering your workspace. The key message of this lesson is remove unnecessary elements from your workspace to clear distractions and improve focus. Phosphor islands or remove your phone while you complete your task and you ready to get organized. Let's get started. First off, what's the value of decluttering? Well, have you ever been stuck trying to find something, unable to locate it amidst everything else in your room or your office. So what did you lose while you were searching for that item? Well, obviously you lost the item you are trying to find a, but beyond that, you lost your time. The time that could have been spent being productive was replaced with trying to find and locate that document, that item or whatever it was you're looking for. Add this up over the course of a week and clutter can really cost you some serious time and energy. So how do you start decluttering? You don't have to go strictly minimalist to declutter, and you don't have to overhaul your home at first. Start with a small area like your workspace. If you're a freelancer or a business owner, this might include your computer or your phone, your notebook, scratchpad, pens, papers, et cetera. So review your workspace. What is in your immediate workspace that's completely unnecessary. I'm talking about old files, documents you can shred pins that no longer work or things that you just really don't need anymore. Either dispose of them or box them up, move them to another room so they aren't cluttering your workspace. At this point. Please pause the video and relocate or dispose of anything around your workspace that you no longer need. Are you feeling better already? Clear in your workspace, frees up your mind so that you can focus on the task at hand without those unnecessary distractions. So let's take this a step further. Let's reverse engineer our clutter by figuring out our essentials. What do you absolutely need in your workspace to conduct business is at a computer, a smart phone, a tablet, a notebook. Figure out the necessities for your unique situation, and let's remove everything else. When we narrow our workspace down to the essentials declutter, the distractions will be more focused on the work that needs to be done. At this point, please pause the video, figure out the essentials for your workspace and remove the rest. One more consideration. Do you ever find yourself unnecessarily distracted by your phone? Incoming calls and texts can easily sidetrack us, let alone the social media notifications and other distractions that we have installed and allowed on our devices. This doesn't apply to everyone since your productivity might actually depend on making calls and responding to messages. But let's entertain some examples. So let's say you're a videographer or photographer and you need to do some editing. You know this editing, we'll take a couple hours. And you know that you need to complete this task in the time that you've allotted for it. And you know, these are these are not social activities. So you might ask yourself, does my phone add any value to this task? In that example, likely not. If you relate to any of these activities in your business, you might benefit from leaving your phone in another room, disconnecting it for a brief period, putting it on silent or do not disturb, or simply powering it off. Complete your task, distraction free, then you can check your notifications. And you will likely have completed that task a lot quicker than if you were distracted by all that clutter and phone notifications. So let's recap the key takeaway. Remove unnecessary elements from your workspace to clear distractions and improve focus. If possible, remove or silence your phone while you complete your task. What's your homework? I want you to be cluttered your workspace, starting with the items you're absolutely no longer need, then remove whatever is not essential for your work. Next, tried temporarily putting your phone on silent. Do Not Disturb or remove it from your space to see how your productivity improves. I'm Leighton and now you know how to declutter your workspace. 10. Reminders Notes & Tasks: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a website developer. In this lesson, let's learn how to maximize productivity by utilizing reminders, notes, and tasks. The key message of this lesson is take advantage of reminders and notes apps to be organized and task oriented. Are you ready to be productive? And let's dive in. But first off, a question. Have you ever forgotten something? Forgotten what you needed to do? Forgotten a password. It's happened to all of us and no age group is immune to the occasional forgetfulness. And there's a reason why do you think it's so easy to forget things, especially nowadays? Because our minds are so overloaded. There's so much distraction out there, so much that we have to keep track of. And we need help. We need to get all of those passwords, contacts, appointments, tasks, lists out of our mind and onto paper, or an app somewhere, somewhere where we can store it and retrieve it safely as needed. So how will this increase their productivity and save time? By not wasting time trying to remember everything that we've forgotten. The information we need will be just a click away. So let's start off with the reminders app. Now there are digital alternatives to just pen and paper. In fact, you might think of the Apple Reminders app, Wonder List, Google Keep. Thanks, Remember the milk, Microsoft ToDo. All are very popular reminders apps. And they all essentially do the same thing. You enter an item to remember, along with an optional day and time. Some let you include links, pictures, locations, colors, categories. But they all basically start out with a list. You put things on the list to free up your mind. So how can you use this as a freelancer or an entrepreneur? Well, one of the many benefits of a good reminders app is the categories or lists feature. Why not have a list of potential clients or follow-ups? Another list for current projects along with their status. If you're in web design, you can make a list of your current website projects. If you're a videographer, maybe you'll want a list of videos to edit and produce. A social media manager might have a list of social accounts and their corresponding content strategy. And all of us might have a list of books to read, podcasts, to listen to, groceries to pick up. The possibilities are endless. And the more you get comfortable with their favorite Reminders app, the more productive and less forgetful you'll become. Plus, you can set a day and time for your task. Why would you wanna do that? Well, have you ever forgotten a project deadline? With most reminders apps, you can attach a day and time alert or deadline to the task. So at a glance, you'll know exactly when something needs to be completed. Mirror that on your calendar and you'll be golden. The way you ever forgiven an important deadline again. And bonus, most reminders apps let you share your list with a coworker, a partner, spouse, so that you can collaborate and synchronize your list. Perhaps you and your business partner one, a synchronized unified list of all current administrative tasks. When he or she adds or completes an item on the list that syncs with yours and vice versa. How helpful. At this point, please pause the video, open up your favorite Reminders app, or download one and create or review your lists. Next up, let's consider the productivity value of a notes app. And these are structured a little differently than reminders. Instead of tasks and lists, you basically get a digital equivalent of a notebook. You can jot down anything you want, just as you would do with regular pen and paper. So why not use an actual notebook? What would the digital notes app? You can attach photographs, web page links, tables, as well as erased and edit with ease. Know whiteout necessary. Digital certainly does have its benefits. So what apps are available for taking notes? Well, there's the Apple Notes app, Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Google Keep Dropbox Paper just to name a few. With notes similar to reminders. You can categorize them however you'd like. Perhaps you want a category for projects, clients, passwords, bids, ideas, business plans, the possibilities are truly endless here. You can have hundreds of notes. And can you think of any other benefits of digital notes over paper? Well, how easy is it to search through a 100 page notebook and find the exact sentence you're looking for. What digital notes, apps, you can search and filter through them in seconds. That's an awesome time-saver. Plus many notes apps let you collaborate by sharing your notes with others. You can share ideas, passwords, timelines, credentials, all secure and synchronized on all of your devices. Take time to master your favorite Notes app, and I promise your productivity will improve. So let's recap the key takeaway. Take advantage of reminders and notes apps to be organized and task oriented. And what's your homework? I want you to review your favorite reminders and notes, apps or download some. So you're utilizing them to the floor. I'm late. And now you know how to use your reminders and notes to boost your productivity. 11. Breaks & Celebrations: Welcome, I'm late to a task manager. Today's productivity lessons, very exciting. It's taking breaks and celebrating wins. The key message of this lesson is breaks are critical for fuel and creativity and managing stress. Celebrating small achievements leads to greater happiness and the completion of larger goals. Well, break time. Let's get started. First off, a question regarding Franks. How did you feel when you're at a stopping point? Maybe you've finished an email, a project, a phone call, and you walk away from your desk. Whether you head to the kitchen, the bathroom, the break room, have lunch, take a walk outside, do a little exercise. How does your mind and body feel after stepping away for a few minutes? Do you feel refreshed? Likely you do as taking breaks can be very beneficial for you and your work. Whether you're taking a relaxation break or a social break. Studies have shown that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, helped maintain performance throughout the day. Reduce the need for a long recovery at the end of the day, and reset your mood, thus promoting positive well-being. Have you seen any of those benefits in your day-to-day routine? And bonus. If you happen to be in a creative field, stepping away from whatever you've been staring at for hours on end is sure to refresh your creativity and give you a renewed perspective on your design. But how do you take a break? If you have too much on your plate? It's easy to dismiss breaks when you have a full workload, you might consider it a luxury that you simply don't have. But think about this. If stepping away for a few minutes actually increases your productivity, enhances your creativity, thus improving your value. Wouldn't that be worthwhile? And furthermore, these breaks don't have to be long. All you need is a few minutes to clear your head, clear your mind, get moving or have a healthy snack, and then you can get right back to your important tasks. But makes sure your brakes are effective. How can you do that? By staying away from things that are inherently cause stress? Remember, your goal is to de-stress, not increase it. For some, not everyone, but for some social media has been shown to increase stress levels, thereby counteracting the benefits of the break. Make sure that however you spin Jailbreak, going for a run, taking a quick nap, you return feeling refreshed. And sometimes you need to let your body dictate when to take your break. What does that mean? Well, do you have different moods throughout the day? Do you sometimes feel alert and focused, whereas other times you feel sluggish and unproductive. If you have the flexibility to set your own schedule. As many freelancers and entrepreneurs do. Take advantage of that freedom to practice self-awareness and use it to your benefit. Notice your mind and body. When you're experiencing flow. When you're in the zone at the height of your productivity, capitalize on that, take advantage of it. But other times, and when you can't seem to get anything done, we're done right? Where you're feeling sluggish. That might be a sign that you need to step away for a moment and recharge. It's like a car that's low on fuel. Sometimes we just need to refill when refreshed to maximize their productivity. Next up, let's discuss some related activity, celebrating accomplishments. What sort of things do you accomplish throughout your day? They in a client, finish a project, completed design, finish a photoshoot, complete a chapter of your novel. Whatever you accomplish throughout your day, your mind and body deserves a, an acknowledgment and a celebration. Why is that? What do you think is the benefit of celebrating your wins? Well, for one, it builds your self confidence. When you acknowledge the skill and dedication it took to complete that task, you're reinforcing your own self-worth and confidence. What you will need as you go to take on larger goals. See, one of the issues is that we tend to brush off our own accomplishments, were conditioned to immediately move on to the next goal without stopping to reflect on and celebrate what we achieved. So if we do that, if we forget or dismiss or achievement, we could be cheating ourselves out of a free confidence boost or worse, lead to burnout. So you might wonder, how exactly am I supposed to celebrate? Does this have to be an expensive or lavish activity? What do you think? Well, from a purely psychological perspective, relatively small and even free celebrations do the trick could be as simple as a pat on the back and a big dance and ice cream break. A special drink or meal. Basically, whatever makes you happy. Whatever your idea of a celebration is, do that and your body will produce dopamine, which is the positive neurochemical in the brain that is fired when you accomplish a goal. This hormone helps promote happiness and pleasure. So how can you hack your dopamine levels? By celebrating as often as possible. Even the relatively minor accomplishments, keep the dopamine flowing so you will feel happier, more confident, and more productive throughout the day. Well, break times up. Let's get to work so you can accomplish something worth celebrating. So let's recap. The key takeaway. Breaks are critical for fuel and creativity and managing stress. Even a few moments of distressing through a walk, I hope snack or social interaction can recharge your mind and body. Celebrating small achievements leads to greater happiness and the confidence to accomplish larger goals. And what's your homework? Start taking effective breaks whenever your body needs. Acknowledge and celebrate both your minor and major accomplishments throughout the day. I'm Leighton and now you know how to take breaks and celebrate your accomplishments. 12. Sleep & Nourishment: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a productivity optimizer. In this lesson, we'll learn a value of sleep and nourishment. The key message of this lesson is sufficient quality sleep and healthy food fuel your productivity. Now these are crucial for a productive day to let's get an overview of them. Starting with sleep. How is your sleep? Do you feel like you're getting enough rest throughout the night? Sleep experts have linked a quality night's rest with a productive day. And it makes sense. After all, how do you feel when you've slept poorly the night before? Are you alert the next day? Focused? Likely not. And by recognizing how you feel when you're sleep is insufficient, you'll be in better shape to make changes. So how do you improve your sleep? Here's some general tips that work for most people. Obviously, do your own research and consult your doctor before implementing any suggestions. One, reduce irregular or long daytime naps to reduce blue light exposure from your devices. Three, the limit caffeine late in the day for don't eat too late at night. Five, limit alcohol before bed. Six, Consider I've relaxing tea like lavender. 7, consider a natural supplement like magnesium or melatonin. Eight sets your bedroom to a temperature that isn't too warm. Nine, limit external noise and lights while you sleep. 10, relax and clear your mind before bed, possibly through journaling. 11, get a comfortable bed, matchers and pillow. 12, tried to sleep and wake at consistent times. Now these are general guidelines. I have helped so many people to improve their sleep. Your personal situation may vary, so you may need to consult your health physician. Before the purpose of this course. The point is, improving sleep has been known to improve productivity, focus and clarity. In other words, tomorrow's productivity might depend on tonight's rest. But what role does nourishment play in your productivity? Well, again, like sleep, How do you feel when you've consumed unhealthy, greasy, fatty foods? Does it improve your alertness or doesn't make you sluggish? For many people, junk food dampens or productivity by putting our brain in a fog. After all, how effective would your car B, if you filled it with water instead of gasoline? The food we consume will either support or hinder our bodies performance. Your health position can help optimize your diet. But overall, Here's some general guidelines. One, limit fast-food to prefer Whole Foods over processed foods. 3, drink plenty of water for increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. 5, reduce fat, salt and sugar intake. 6, eat a variety of foods each day. 7, watch your portions to avoid overheating. Eight and then emit late-night snacking. Again, these are just general healthy eating ideas that have worked for many people. But the point is this, a healthy, nourished mind and body is better equipped for a productive day. So let's recap the key takeaway. Sufficient quality sleep and healthy food fuel your productivity. And what's your homework? I want you to consider ways to improve your sleep quality and eating habits. Notice the mind and body benefits of these improvements. I'm late to him. And now you know the value of quality sleep and nourishment. 13. Systems & Processes: Welcome, I'm late to a time manager. Today's productivity lesson is all about systems and processes. The key message of this lesson is save time on your routine tasks by creating templates and following standard operating procedures. The previous set of lessons were about maximizing your personal productivity using tips that apply to any sort of task. These lessons, however, are specifically about optimizing your business. Each lesson is designed to save you as much time as possible in your day-to-day routine as a business owner or freelancer. So let's kick off this series with one of the most important things that you can do, create systems and processes for your business. To better understand this, let me ask you a question. Do you have any tasks that you do over and over again? Let's brainstorm some examples together. Sending proposals and quotes, sending invoices, sending onboarding and welcome emails, requesting reviews. Do you relate to any of those examples? No doubt there's tons of repetitive tasks that we do every single day when running a business. And think of how much time you're spending, rewriting those same emails, typing the same documents, having the same conversations with people. Now that you have those tasks in mind, let's standardize them. First we'll consider your repetitive tasks. Then we'll look at your standard operating procedure. So what about those conversations you end up having over and over again? The email is you end up writing time and time again. What do you think could be done to save some time here? Try this. Take some time to craft the perfect email based on the one that you end up sending over and over. Whether it's a welcome email, an explainer, a frequently asked question, whatever you seem to always be writing, responding about, make it into a template. Save this as a draft and your e-mail, mailbox as a template, a note in your note-taking app somewhere where you can easily access it. In. Try not to rush this. Take time creating the perfect message, including whatever links, pictures, references, explanations you typically write, then save it and you won't have to rewrite it again. Just copy and paste your template whenever you need it. Of course, you can personalize it as necessary before hitting send. But the basic framework will already be set, thereby saving you time. Let's see how much time this can save you. Imagine your most commonly sent email. Perhaps to answer a question that you frequently get asked, takes 10 minutes to write. Once you include all those references and links and all the friendly, pleasant trees, you're looking at 10 minutes. So if you're sending ten of these per week, you're looking at nearly two hours wasted just on this one particular question. Rather, copying and pasting the friendly pre-written response might just take one minute. So we're looking at 10 minutes per week when you're practicing this efficiency technique by templating common emails. In this example, that's a savings of 90 minutes. Could you use an extra hour and a half each week? I know I certainly good. By investing more time in creating the perfect template emails, you will save time in the future. At this point, please pause the video and create a template for your most commonly sent out a message. Now this isn't just for emails, this applies to documents, quotes, estimates. For example, let's say you have your client sign a contract before starting a long-term business relationship with you? Do you want to have to rewrite that contract each time you need one signed? No, of course not. Rather, to save time, what can you do? Create a template. Have your basic contract terms pre-written. So the all you have to do is fill in the details of your project, like the quoted price, the company name, et cetera. Let's see how much time this could potentially save you writing a contract from scratch each time. This could take over an hour. Personalizing a pre-written contract template. You might only spend five minutes on this. And if you're sending out a few contracts a week, you're looking at hours of time you could be saving. The point is this, by investing some time into creating the perfect template, you'll save time in the future. At this point, please pause the video, create a basic template that the document you send out most often. Finally, let's talk about a standard operating procedure. In business terms, these are step-by-step instructions designed to help workers carry out routine operations. When you have employees, is a super important because you want your employees to do things the right way. Click the right buttons, input the right data, and follow a certain order. An SOP is generally a document, but let's look beyond the document to the SOP mindset. Let's say you're a freelancer and you provide graphic design services. So what's the general timeline of your projects? It might go something like this. Meet the client, provide a proposal, send an estimate, get it approved, downpayment, brainstorm ideas for the design, create an initial mockup, go through a few rounds of revisions, final approval, final payment, and send the deliverables. In this example, that's the general timeline that most of those clients go through. So my question is, is that timeline written down? Is it visualized? How can we optimize each of those steps? First off, figure out what steps your clients go through from inception to completion and write them down. Write down what's involved in each step, what software is needed, what you use to send invoices, how you prefer to collect payment, what Cloud services you use to send deliverables, whatever your system is, write it down as this information is not only helpful for you to be organized, but it's invaluable for your employees. And if you ever decide to sell your business. Next up, visualize your client journey. Wouldn't you agree that data is easier to understand when it's visualized and mapped out. That's why charts and graphs are so valuable. In this case, create a spreadsheet with a column for each step of your customer timeline. You might start with a column for sending proposal for onboarding, final payment off boarding. As a website designer, I have 10 columns. Sin proposal, send contract, downpayment, domain and design. Build a website, finished website, launch website completion payment, hosting and maintenance plan, and the portfolio and collect review. What do you think goes under each column? That's right. The clients that are currently on that step. This might sound silly when you have just one or two projects going on at any given time. But when you're trying to juggle 10, 20 active clients, do you think it would be helpful to map out which step they're currently in. In this case, you're saving mental stress and time it takes to map out all that information. Instead of wasting time trying to recall the state of each and every project, you can just pull up your spreadsheet and it's all right there. At this point, please pause the video and create your client journey timeline and personalize it for the needs of your business. Finally, now that we have written down or processes, Let's see if we can optimize them. Consider each step of your client timeline and ask yourself, how much time am I spending on each process? How can I speed up the steps? I created a template to simplify something. Could I revisit which software I'm using to accomplish a certain task. Perhaps you're using a piece of software that's too expensive or another that requires too much of your time and attention. Are there better solutions out there? See, investing some time into optimizing these processes now can save you time in the future. Work haphazardly. Don't reinvent the wheel with each new client you take on, optimize your time, so you'll have more of it. So let's recap the key takeaway. Save time on your routine tasks by creating templates and following standard operating procedures. And what's your homework? I want you to create simple. It's out of your most commonly sent e-mails and documents. Write down your standard operating procedure and visualize your client timeline. I'm late. And now you know how to create systems and processes for your business. 14. Automation: Welcome, I'm Leighton and enthusiastic freelancer. In this crucial lesson, let's learn a value of automating as much as possible in your business. The key message of this lesson is automate the repetitive tasks that take up considerable time and resources in order to free up your time for higher priority than the big one. So are you ready? Let's dive in, starting with the why. Why automate won't consider an example, which sounds more efficient to you. Manually sending out individual e-mails to your entire list of subscribers. Or setting up one campaign that will automatically go out to everyone on your list. And which time do you think the second option could save? Well, let's estimate. So if you spend 10 minutes creating the perfect email with an automation tool like Mailchimp or constant contact. All you have to do is select your subscriber list and hits it and you're completely done in ten minutes. The automation tool handles the legwork of sending out each e-mail to each individual recipient. Let's compare that to the manual method. If you spend 10 minutes creating the email and it takes a little under a minute to personalize and send each individual email, shoots pin hours, sending to a large list of hundreds or thousands of recipients. That's why email marketing and automation services are so important. It's all in the interest of saving time and energy. Plus, you can reallocate that saved time to more important tasks and think about it. If you're in a creative field, would you rather spend your time generating reports or designing something? Sifting through spreadsheets are creating something exciting. Automation allows you to focus on the higher priority tasks that require your time, attention, and expertise. So now that we've learned the y, Let's talk about the how. How do we automate our day-to-day tasks? How do you think automation occurs? Will ensure the basic answer is software. Most automation is done by some type of software or tool designed to handle that task for you using that direction you provide. Automation software does exactly what you tell it to. For example, let's say you're in the advertising and marketing field. And anyone familiar with that field knows how many reports you have to sift through. So let's say you have analytics and advertising campaign reports that you send to your clients each week. Imagine that these reports that you send, they take five minutes to compile and send. And you're doing this for 25 clients. Now each of those reports doesn't exactly take much time. Five minutes is nothing. But when you add it up, we're looking at two hours per week or eight hours per month spent on that task. Wasted on that task, wasted because you can automate it. How do you do that? With the same software you use to pull the reports, Facebook ads, google Analytics, google ads, they have automation through scheduled reports. In fact, those tools are full of automation by nature, but all those tedious reports can be automated by scheduling them. When you automate, you define what you want contained in the report. How often, who's the recipient, and that's it. So spend a little time configuring these reports once and in enjoy the time you're saving in the future. Another example, perhaps you manage websites for clients and you love to make sure those sites remain online. You don't want to have to pull up your clients websites every time to see if they're online or offline. Do you think that this task could be automated? Absolutely. There are free tools called uptime monitors. Uptime is one example. Software like does automatically pings all of the websites you add every few minutes to see if they're live. If you have 50 websites you manage for businesses, you can test five sites per minute and you would pretty much be doing this task all day, every day to match the production of up-time monitoring software. It's much wiser to outsource says task to software, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Which brings us to our next question. How much does automation cost? Automation sounds expensive, like, like back to rerunning on autopilot with advanced robotics. But that's not necessarily the case on the Internet. Many automation tools have free plans. Some only cost a few dollars a month. Typically, the costs will rise with the volume that you do. Like the number of email subscribers you have. The number of recipients to your reports, the number of monitors. But as your business scales, automation becomes more of a need then a 1D, so that the benefits outweigh the expense. Finally, we've discussed the why and the how and how much. But let's circle back to the what. What can be automated. What do you think is a good candidate for automation? Generally, you'll want to start with repetitive tasks. Look for routine manual processes that take up a considerable amount of time and resources. The more frequent the task, the more you have the gain by automating it. Let's consider a few tasks. First example, email marketing. If you have a sign-up form on your website, there's so much that could be automated. Collecting email addresses, sending a welcome email, follow-up, e-mail, MailChimp, Constant Contact, keep, and many other marketing tools like this have automation built-in. So spin time, researching and configuring their automation capabilities to see how they best work for your business. Example, number 2, social media posts, software like HootSuite, sprout, buffer, and let you schedule posts across all your social channels. All at once. You can schedule a whole month's worth of posts would just a little effort upfront. Example number 3, accounting automation is really important for your business finances. Think about this example. If you have paid subscribers in your business and need to charge them every month, do you really want to individually invoice and collect payment for every single customer every time you need to charge them. So would you rather collect checks? Thank them to the bank for deposit or charged your credit card on file automatically, and have those funds automatically transferred directly to your bank account without you having to click anything. Clearly, their hours and hours of accounting time that can be saved through automation. Those popular invoicing software like QuickBooks, wave FreshBooks, will have read recurring invoices and recurring payment features built-in for you to take advantage of. Example number 4, Let's look at the benefits of an effective customer relationship management or CRM. Salesforce and HubSpot, or two of the most popular CRM solutions in the world. Salesforce has automation solutions available for sales, customer service, advertising and marketing, commerce analytics, data integration, training and so much more. Each of these CRM solutions is designed to save accompany time, increase sales, streamline workflows, and improve customer service. Admittedly, high end software like this can be overwhelming. But once a powerful CRM is properly configured, it can run like a well oiled machine, thus saving time in the long-term. So let's recap the key takeaway. Automate the repetitive tasks that take up considerable time and resources in order to free up your time for higher priority manual tasks. What's your homework? I want you to identify areas of your business and day-to-day workflow that you can automate, research and implement automation options for each of those repetitive tasks. I'm Leighton and now you know how to automate as much of your businesses possibly. 15. Delegation: Welcome, I'm late. Seasoned entrepreneur. Today's time management lesson is all about delegating. The key message of this lesson is delegate the task that someone else could do. So you can focus your time and energy on the tasks that only you can expound on the productivity benefits of delegating. Starting with a question, what is delegation? How would you define it? The root word is delegate to ensure us a task or responsibility to another person. Likewise, to trust that person with that task. Now in the previous lesson, we talked about repetitive tasks and the benefits of automating them. As you recall in the previous lesson, we talked about some commonly automated tasks like accounting, social media management, reporting, email marketing, and so much more. When you automate a task using a piece of software, you're actually trusting that task with the company who built that software. In a sense, you're delegating that task. And why would you do that? Why wouldn't you just handle all those tasks on your own? While none of those tasks are terribly difficult in themselves, we delegate them for the sake of saving time. Shifting that task from your responsibility to someone else's saves your time and energy to focus on the tasks that only you can do. So how did we do this? Let's consider some examples together. Obviously, we talked about automation examples in the previous lesson. And all of those could be considered delegation in its purest form. But let's look at opportunities where we can bring in another person to help with our tasks. First off, that the traditional form of delegation would be hiring an employee, bringing in some help. If you're an entrepreneur, a business owner, or running an agency, you've likely already understand the importance of hiring additional help. Once you scale it to a certain point where you are maxed out, you might need to bring in some help. For example, imagine being a plumber and you're getting so busy that three different residences need you for emergencies all at the same time. You realize that you can't be in three places at once. So how do you solve this dilemma? Well, let's say you charge $100 per hour. Each job takes two hours at $600 profit, but you can't take care of them all at the same time. How can delegation help with this problem? Well, if you hire to employees to take those other calls for $50 an hour, they'll cost you 200. And now you're netting $400 and expanding less energy instead of earning only $200 if he did everything yourself or add three employees handle all three service goals, pay them a total of $300 and collect 300 net profit for yourself while you focus on running, overseeing, and growing your business. Challenges come along with hiring. Sure, but overall, that's how businesses scale. So let's talk about applying this to freelancers. Consider an author, a blogger, or a content writer. If your passion is writing, you might not be inclined to delegate that joy to someone else. But what part of the writing process could be delegated? Many writers get into that field because they enjoy writing. But what about the technical side? Editing, proofreading? And it might not be as fun for every freelance writer has the writing itself and maybe vice versa. Maybe one enjoys editing more than writing. But by delegating that task, outsourcing it to a specialist who only does editing and proofreading. You're accomplishing three things. What do you think are the benefits of offloading this task to someone else? Here's some ideas. One, your time and energy is freed up of that task. Do with that new availability, you can take on more writing jobs. And three, by delegating that task, you're spending more of your time doing what you enjoy and less of what you don't enjoy. Those benefits sound good to you. And that's just one example. Every industry in every job has some opportunity to delegate. A podcast creator might record an episode and then send the audio to their editor to produce it. This allows the podcaster to focus on the big picture, the interviews, the education, the meat of the content, and overwhelmed business owner might hire a VA or a virtual assistant to handle emails, scheduling, whatever else is taking up so much energy. A YouTube content creator might send the video file to an editor to add a title, description, publish and promote the final video. This frees up the YouTuber to focus on the big picture, preparing and creating the actual content, and not spending so much time on the little details. Now, let me clarify something. If you truly enjoy a monotonous task, like editing in Adobe Premiere Pro or color grading, then great. No need to pass off something you're passionate about or that brings you joy. But if a task is truly overwhelming, even if you enjoy it, could you share that task? Split the time between yourself and your team, and delegate certain accounts to your team and keep other accounts for yourself. This would free up your time. It would save a little money and still allow you to do the work that you enjoy. Finally, let's consider where to find help in order to effectively delegate tasks to a person. You have two options. One, hire an employee, do hire a freelancer. You already have an opinion on which of those you prefer. Usually tasks lend themselves to one or the other. Let's look at the differences though. An employee is generally paid for a set amount of hours each week and expects to be paid regardless of the workload. Freelancer, on the other hand, can be hired and paid as needed. By hiring a freelancer or a subcontractor, you can specify a certain task or amount of hours that you're paying them for. If you're hiring out graphic design work, one month, you might send your freelance designer 10 hours of work, while another month you might send them 20 hours. This option generally keeps expenses lower than having full-time employees, although circumstances may vary depending on the business. So where can you find help? Where do you think would be a good place to go? Well, there's traditional options like word of mouth, posting on social media, LinkedIn. But where can you find quality freelancers that aren't already in your personal network? Some of the most popular websites to find quality freelancers are Upwork, top towel, freelancer, Fiverr. Generally these websites allow you to post your needs which freelancers will contact you if they feel that they can help you. If you find a perfect freelancer to help you, you can build a long-term relationship with them. Sending them work on a regular basis. Otherwise, if the quality doesn't meet your standards, you can finish the contract and move on to another freelancer. But ultimately, all of this delegation is in the interest of what? Protecting your time. So let's recap the key takeaway. Delegate the task that someone else could do for you. So you can focus on the tasks only you can do. Delegation is a key to scaling your business in one place where you can find quality talent is through freelance marketplaces. And what's your homework? I want you to find a task in your own business that you can delegate either to a piece of software and employee or a freelancer. I'm late on and now you know how to delegate. 16. Meetings: Welcome, I'm late to a website designer. Today, let's learn how to increase the productivity of your meetings. The key message of this lesson is limit unnecessary meetings and stay on top of the length and agenda of your meetings to keep them as productive as possible. This is a topic that most people can relate to. So let's get started first with a question. Do you like long, unproductive meetings? Of course not. No one does. But what is it about those meetings that affects our productivity? Let's look at four points about meetings and how to overcome them. One, some meetings might not be as important as others. To meetings take you away from your work. Three, meetings can run longer than necessary. And for meetings can lose focus. And before we tackle the first, let's define a meeting. This can be a phone call or a video conference, remote coal, or in-person meeting where you and one or more people come together to discuss a mutual topic such as the Project, a deadline, or a networking opportunity. For our first, we must acknowledge that some meetings are more important than others. To illustrate this point, which sounds more important to you, scientists and engineers meeting together to discuss an upcoming rocket ship lunch or a client of yours meeting to discuss something that could have been resolved in a few minutes through a simple e-mail message. The rocket launch is a more pressing matter and likely required an active conversation rather than an e-mail thread. Now to be fair, the client's requests might have been important to them as well. But ask yourself, could this be handled through a text or email message, a quick phone call? For example, think of a website designer. Now a client might have an important update to request onto website. Perhaps saying to put out in an announcement on the homepage to inform their customers that there'll be closed for the next couple of days. That is a very important requests. Indeed. The actual task, though, of updating the website might only take 10 minutes with or without a meeting. So let's think about the two ways that this request could be communicated. Then you could decide which is more productive. So the client could request an in-person meeting, especially if they prefer face-to-face interactions as many people do. They want you to come by their store or office. Imagine a 20 minute drive round trip plus 20 minutes of casual conversation and 20 minutes discussing the actual request, totaling 60 minutes or one hour. Now contrast that with one e-mail message requesting the website update and one email message stating that it's been completed. Let's call that five-minutes, which sounds more productive to you. The 60 minute option or the five-minute option. Clearly, the e-mail is the more efficient means of communication in this example. So here's a practical tip. If a client requests a meeting, especially an in-person one, you can gently enquired the purpose of the meeting. If it sounds like something you can just discuss why you're on the phone or in a written message. So just that. Save time by reserving your valuable meeting time for the most important discussions. And if respectfully possible, skip the meetings that can be dealt with more efficiently. But our meetings really that bad for productivity. What's the risk that brings us to our second meetings can take you away from your work. I think about this logically. If every client or a customer of yours, once a meeting and in the midst of friendly conversation, those meetings take about an hour each. Do you think that could rob you of time that you would otherwise use getting work done? If you're a freelance video producer, can you be shooting film and discussing project details at the same time? Can you be editing footage at the same time that you meet to discuss a proposal? Likely not. See these meetings can take you away from your necessary work, the work that pays your bills and your employees. Now of course, some meetings are critical to obtaining work, such as initial consultations and project briefings, and those can't be avoided. What do we need to keep in mind for those meetings? And let's look at a third, the length of the meeting. Have you ever attended a long, boring meeting that never seem to end? One that dragged on and on and took you away from your workload. Well, what do you think could be done to help alleviate this problem from the start of the meeting or better yet, before the meeting even begins, set a time limit for the meeting. You can respectfully acknowledge that each of you values your time and set a limit for the discussion. It could be as easy as saying that you've budgeted 30 minutes for the meeting, which you feel it was more than enough time to discuss the topic at hand. This will instill a healthy sense of urgency in the ones you're meeting with and avoid losing focus. Which brings us to our fourth staying on task. So let's illustrate this point by looking at what to avoid. Imagine your team has come together to discuss a project. Of the core of the discussion. The necessary details that mockups, the deliverables that might take one hour to hash out. But during the meeting, someone needs a break. Someone has a funny story they want to share. Someone read aloud a recent news article. Someone has breaking news to share. Someone else wants to bring up the weather. All in all, the entire meeting took two hours. Can you see the issue? Ultimately, there was a challenge, staying on task. How can you overcome this? By continually reinforcing the agenda and going back to the task at hand. When the conversation gets sidetracked, there is nothing wrong with kindly reminding the group of the purpose of the meeting. So let's recap the key takeaway. Limit unnecessary meetings and stay on top of the length and agenda of your meetings to keep them as productive as possible. And what's your homework? I want you to implement the suggestions in this lesson, in your next meeting. Consider whether or not the meeting is truly important. And if it is set a timeline for the meeting and respectfully keep everyone on tech. I'm Leighton and now you know how to have more productive meeting. 17. Deadlines: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a webmaster. In today's lesson, we'll talk about improving productivity by setting deadlines for your tests. The key message of this lesson is setting a due date for your tasks will promote a sense of urgency and importance. Let's explore the value of deadlines, starting with a question. When you think of a deadline, do you think of an important or unimportant task? Likely unimportant one. Deadlines give projects a sense of urgency. For example, think of a deadline you had to reach recently. As you approach that deadline, did you start taking the project more seriously? Kick yourself in gear. Dare I say if you procrastinated, how did approaching the deadline affect you? It probably encourage you to finally get started. See that feeling of urgency that this project is important and needs to get done is how we want to approach every task. Now some tasks and actually already have due dates or deadlines. Think of tests, reports, and homework that you hadn't school. Don't then they usually have a due date. Why do you think that is? Well, what the majority of students even turn in their assignment if it wasn't due. The even at a young age, people are taught the value of completing tasks. And we can apply those same principles of urgency and deadlines to our projects. So let's look at some examples of deadlines that freelancers might use. If you're a social media manager, you'd likely have a calendar of your posting schedule. Those are deadlines for your posts. As a photographer, you would set a date for your photoshoot and you would want to have your camera and gear ready at that time. But what about after the shoot? After the photos have been taken, they still need to be edited and that can be tedious work. So do you think setting a tentative deadline for yourself could help speed up the process? Set an attainable goal, and at the photos aren't ready by then, you could always move the deadline back a few days. Suppose you're in the graphic design field and your client requests a mock-up. Maybe they want a logo, a web-page, an advertisement, or a brochure. That mock-up isn't going to design itself. And you likely have other graphic design projects that you're juggling. So do you think setting a deadline for that mock-up could help? Those due dates will help you prioritize your time and work through your project systematically, instead of simply waiting around until you feel like designing their mockup. So how can you make a habit of this? Put your deadlines on your calendar, regularly, review them to keep those due dates fresh in mind. And one final note. If you knew your customer or client expected something on a specific day, would you feel more inclined to deliver on that day? Certainly. So even if they don't have a certain day in mind, you can increase your accountability and productivity by mutually setting a due date and sticking with it. And remember this, deadlines can be flexible. There is no shame in extending a deadline, but agreeing upon one, we'll keep both parties accountable and productive as possible as you work together to meet that deadline. So let's recap the key takeaway. Setting a due date for your tasks will promote a sense of urgency and importance. And what's your homework? I want you to use your calendar to set some deadlines for your upcoming tasks. Even if they aren't inherently time sensitive projects. Regularly reviews your calendar to keep those tests pression mind. I'm Leighton and now you know how to increase productivity by setting deadlines. 18. Say "No": Welcome, I'm late to a builder of websites. Today's lesson is about the incredible value of saying no. The key message of this lesson is when we say no by declining clients and projects, accounts and meetings, we free up your time as well as our physical and mental energy. Are you ready to say yes to learning this skill? Let's do it. First off, a self-reflection. How do you feel about saying no to people? Does the very idea of saying no give you anxiety? For many, that's a difficult thing to do. But why? Why do you think that can be challenging? Because ultimately, we don't want to disappoint whether it's friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances. We don't want to let people down or upset them. But think, when people ask us to do something, we feared their disapproval. But are we so sure that they would be upset if we decline? See oftentimes, the fear is in our head. When someone respects you and your time, they understand you have to pick and choose how you spend it. And if they don't respect it, well, that's another thing entirely. So that's the fear of saying no. Now let's talk about the benefits of it. Let's illustrate the benefits with an example. Suppose you are busy all day, every day with meetings, meetings with clients, meetings with coworkers, meetings with people whom you network with? With all of those meetings, consuming your time. How do you get any work done? Or if you're a wedding photographer and you can shoot and edit a max of three weddings per week. How much quality could you provide if you took on eight weddings in one week? Or if you're an accountant and you can handle the financial books for a max of 20 businesses. How wise would it be to say yes to being the accountants for 50 businesses? Do you see the point? The point is this, we have limits physically, mentally, and definitely with our time. There's only 24 hours in the day. And if we say yes to every opportunity that comes our way, we will burn out. We will expend all of our energy and mental bandwidth. Yes, it is absolutely in your best interests to pick and choose how you spend your time. So now that we've addressed the benefits of saying no, let's apply this to business. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, there will always be a steady stream of people and things competing for your time. What sort of things could you say requests for your time? On a micro level, as we've seen, particularly in the early lessons of this course. There's notifications, emails, social media, all sorts of distractions that we can say no to by just turning them off, limiting them and subscribing to them. But on a macro level, Let's look at a few examples. One, meetings. We talked about this a few lessons ago. What happens when meetings go on and on longer than anticipated? How is your time affected? It's lost. Meetings eat into your valuable time. And of course, some meetings are valuable, like discussing an exciting new client relationship or brainstorming an important project. We want to say yes to those because they're valuable to our business. But in your personal life, can you think of some meetings that are less important than others? What about meeting a stranger for a networking opportunity? Would that be on the same level of importance as your best, highest paying client requesting a meeting. Now, if you have the availability and desire, networking is fantastic for business building. But if you accept every Meet and Greet, every coffee or lunch with someone, what time is left? Often, we have to pick and choose our engagements. Respectfully saying no or rescheduled meetings that you can't fit in your schedule. So you can focus on the more important tasks. Do, projects and accounts. So when you're first starting out in business, it's common to take any bit of work that comes your way. All in the interest of gaming experience and paying bills. We might say yes to everything. But as time goes on, why do you think it could be valuable to decline certain projects? What sort of accounts might we pass on? Thinking about your own situation? Do you have clients, accounts, or projects that you prefer? Do you have ones that you absolutely did not enjoy that were more of a headache than anything else that weren't worth the money. So if you could go back in time, would you decline certain projects? Hindsight is beautiful. When we look back on the past, we see things so clearly. But in the moment, when someone is offering you money for your services, it's tough to say no. But saying no to projects that don't feel right before initiating a business relationship can save you a lot of headache in the future. For example, in your business, Is there a certain industry that you tend to steer clear of? Perhaps you've had a bad experience with businesses within a certain industry. So how could you learn from that experience and prevent that in the future? Do you pass off that work? Say no or better yet, refer it to someone else in your field, saying no, declining the opportunity before entering into the business relationship will be so worth it in the long run. So let's recap the key takeaway. When we say no by declining client's projects and accounts and meetings, we free up our time as well as our mental and physical energy. And what's your homework? Next time, a low priority meeting or project comes your way. Respectfully decline. So you can devote that time to something else. I'm Leighton and now you know productivity value of saying no. 19. Raise Your Rates: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a time optimizer. Today's business and productivity lesson is all about raising your rates. The key message of this lesson is by raising your rates and accepting fewer clients and you will increase the value of your time. Are you ready to learn this timeless business lesson? Let's dive in starting with a question. What is the value of your time? How do you even calculate that? Well, a simple method would be to take your net profits, which is the money you take home, divided by the number of hours you worked. This formula works for any currency. For example, if you deposit 2000 dollars into your bank account and worked 100 hours that month, what would be the value of your time? $2 thousand divided by 100 is $20 per hour, spending 100 hours working and generated $2 thousand. So let me ask you this. Let's say you're capable of setting your own rate and you raise it from $20 to 30. You work the same amount of time, 100 hours. How much money does that generate at the end of the month? Well, 100 hours times $30 is $3 thousand. That's a $100 profit increase for working the same amount of time. That's called working smarter, not harder. So that's based on an hourly rate, which a lot of businesses use. Now, let's consider project-based building. For example, a freelance photographer might charge $500 for a photoshoot and do five photo shoots and month. This totals 2500 dollars between the photography in the editing that takes quite a bit of time and energy and a photographer is feeling maxed out. How could a rate increase solve this problem? What do you think? Well, let's say that photographer raises the rate to $625. Now they only book for photo shoots this month instead of five because the fifth customer couldn't afford that higher rate. How much money do those for photo-shoot generate at $625 each? $2500, the same amount as the five. But what's the difference? Precious, valuable time is saved by doing only for photo shoots instead of five, the photographer has saved time that can be repurposed to marketing, networking, learning new skills, or just more personal time with friends and family. Doesn't that sound appealing? All thanks to the beauty of raising rates. How do we go about that? How do you raise your rates? Do you think it would be wise to dramatically increase your rate all at once, perhaps doubling or tripling them. Why or why not? Well, the answer is, do what works best for you. And this requires field testing. The people or businesses you pitch your product or service to will tell you if your rate is acceptable or not. If the majority of sales calls in successfully, then your new rates are acceptable. Otherwise, if both people decline your quote, you might have raised your rate too high. Think about large corporations with subscriptions like Netflix. Did they double or triple their rates overnight? Or do they gradually increase them over time? To keep up with inflation and increased operational costs. They raised their subscription price gradually, usually not substantially, to minimize the amount of people who cancel at their knee increase. Now ultimately raising rates as a valuable business practice to work less and make more money by increasing the value of your time. So let's recap the key takeaway. By raising your rates and accepting fewer clients, you will increase the value of your time. And what's your homework? Raise your rates. If you had the flexibility to set your own rates, give them a slight increase and measures the results. I'm Leighton. And now you know the productivity benefits of raising your race. 20. Collaboration & Networking: Welcome, I'm Leighton, a productivity maximizer. Today, let's talk about the productivity benefits of collaborating. The key message of this lesson is networking and collaborating with professionals in your industry will increase leads and referrals, as well as decrease the time needed to learn new skills. Collaboration is key to success, but also to productivity. And we're about to find out why. Starting with a question. Why did you choose this course? To learn from a professional? You're seeking the advice is someone who's experienced in a certain topic. This one being productivity and time management. So how does asking for help save time? Well, mastering a skill completely based on your own time and experience can take years. Why go through the trial and error on your own when you could either ask for help and learn from someone more experienced than you, or where possible, simply delegate the task to that person. Here's the point. When you learn from someone more experienced than you. You're bypassing all that time they spent making and learning from their mistakes. In science class. You don't discovered the periodic elements on your own. You learn from the scientists who spent years researching them. In math class. You don't invent the mathematical formulas. You simply learn and follow them. Don't reinvent the wheel. Learning from others is a far more efficient use of your time. So how can you collaborate with others? Now of course, the examples we just mentioned are more indirect methods. When you watch an instructive course or take a class, you're learning from someone's experience, but without much face-to-face or hands-on interaction. How can you, as a freelancer or an entrepreneur, collaborate with experts in your field? One way is through networking. Think of the types of people in your immediate contacts sphere. The types of people in businesses who regularly come across opportunities to pass you business. Some examples. If you're a website designer, you might network with an advertising agency or vice versa. If you're a search engine optimizer or SEO, you might partner with a marketing firm. Photographers and videographers naturally benefit from connecting and collaborating with each other. Let's, let's talk about that last example. Imagine you're a photographer. You might have a small interest in video production as a hobby, but not enough to call it a marketable skill. How could you benefit from collaborating with a high-quality videographer in your local area? Well, in your photography business, you might regularly come across opportunities for video work. Since video production is not your expertise, creating even a low quality movie or video ad might take significant time and energy. But if you pass the business to your videographer referral partner, your client gets the best service in a timely manner. How does this turn out profitable for you? Well, in addition to your client appreciating you connecting them with the right videographer. Who do you think that videographer you collaborated with is going to recommend the next time they come across an opportunity to pass some photography work you. And that's the point. They'll pass to you. The type of business you prefer, the work you make the most money off of using the skills you have refined. By networking and collaborating with professionals in your industry, you're maximizing your productivity and your profits. Finally, where do you find local professionals to collaborate with? Aside from your personal friends and cold calling local businesses on the phone or on social media. You can join a local networking group. There are international organizations like BI and AI, Business Network International. Or there's more local ones. See what networking opportunities exist in your area. For the most part, networking events are onetime, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Be and I is at 90 minute weekly meeting with professionals, come together to pass business to one another. Other networking possibilities are meet and greets or your local chamber of commerce, where you can get introductions to other professionals. Whatever the structure of the networking function is, focus your time on building quality relationships with people in your context, fear, or the businesses with whom you can pass referrals. These relationships will pay off in the long term as you mutually build trust and respect for one another. So let's recap. The key takeaway. Networking and collaborating with professionals in your industry will increase leads and referrals, as well as decrease the time needed to learn new skills. And what's your homework? And make a list of the types of businesses in your context sphere. And make at least one personal connection with a business in each category. Also attend a local networking events in your area. I'm Leighton, and now you know how to collaborate and network. 21. Passive Income: Welcome, I'm latent and enthusiastic entrepreneur. In this final lesson, let's learn the gold standard of maximizing productivity, generating passive income. The key message of this lesson is maximize profits by creating passive income instead of trading time for money. This is one of the most exciting ways to maximize your profits and optimizer productivity. So let's dive in starting with a question. Just what is passive income? Well, it's the opposite of active income. Active income is money earned when you perform a service in exchange for a paycheck, a salary or commission. Passive income, on the other hand, is generated on its own without your continual time and effort. Passive income is commonly known as earning money while you sleep. Traditionally, no one pays you to sleep, nor do you earn active income while you sleep. But passive income is generated without your intervention, which means you could be earning it day or night with little effort on your end. So how is passive income a time management strategy? Well, let me put it this way. Which requires less time, working 40 hours per week as a magazine editor for $20 per hour and generating $800 for the week. Or working just a few hours promoting your book while earning $800 in book sells for the week. 800 is earned in both examples, but which takes less of your time. The book cells, that money is earned regardless of how you spend your week. Of course, is your book going to write itself? Well, no, it's not. Creating that passive income opportunity requires time and effort investment upfront, but it pays off in the long run. Once the book is published and promoted, the income continues to flow as long as the book stays on the market. In short, passive income is the number one best way to free up your time, work less, and make more money. So let's discuss some possible passive income opportunities for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Number 1 for photographers, consider uploading your best photography to stock websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, Getty, I stock, et cetera. There are tons of stock photography websites and they pay you a small commission whenever someone downloads your image. Spin time, shooting, uploading, and organizing your assets, and let the commission's role in as people discover and appreciate your amazing work. Or if you're a higher profile artist, you can also sell your photography directly using services like SmugMug to create your own portfolio website and online store. Number 2. For videographers. Note that most popular stock websites have expanded now to sell video assets as well. That means even if you aren't keen on taking photos, you can upload and sell your stock videos and bonus. Videos are much more expensive to download them photos, which means your commission will be higher. Number three, for freelance writers, you've probably considered publishing a book, but there are other options in addition to traditional print and publishing. You can write and publish a digital book, one for Kindles and e-readers, or an e-book. You can create a blog and monetize it through advertising and affiliate links. The more popular your blog, the more advertisers are willing to pay you to advertise on your website. And you can monetize your recommendations by promoting products and services using affiliate links, which will pay you a small commission anytime someone clicks through your link to buy the product. Number four, for web designers and webmasters, considered website hosting and maintenance plans. This is where you charge a business, a small fee to host and manage their website. And if you set up your hosting account and services properly, this will require minimal ongoing effort since most of the hosting services can be automated. Number 5, a human authority in your space. If so, consider teaching between online courses and YouTube videos. If you have knowledge and experience to share, consider recording and uploading it. On free sites like YouTube. You can make money off of ads. And unpaid course sites like Udemy, skillshare, Coursera, LinkedIn Learning. You can make a commission each time a student buys access to your course. Number six. Entrepreneurs can also generate passive income through more traditional investing methods like stocks investments, real estate. Ideally, investing methods like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate property, retirement accounts, and interest earning accounts will increase in value over time. Setting up and funding the account takes time and money. But once it comes time to sell, ideally, the investment account will be more valuable than it was initially, thanks to compound interest, appreciation and inflation. Overall, trading time for money requires that you continue working to pay your bills and provide for your family. Whereas passive income allows you to free up your time to spend it in areas that bring you more joy. So let's recap the key takeaway. Maximize profits by creating passive income instead of trading time for money. And what's your homework? I want you to brainstorm passive income opportunities in your field based on your expertise. I'm Leighton, and now you know how to increase productivity by generating passive income. 22. Conclusion: Welcome, I'm late to a freelancer. I want to thank you for taking back your time by watching this course. By spending a few hours watching and implementing these lessons, you're investing into saving time in your future. Did any of the tips mentioned in these lessons particularly resonate with you? And you've saved your bookmarked in adolescence. Time is one of your most valuable assets. So I encourage you to be purposeful. We do time. Don't let it escape you. And remember your happiness on it. Work might not always be fun. But when you figure out what brings you joy, you're in a better position to shift your focus and create the sort of lifestyle you want to live while still providing for your family. Every one of the productivity tips mentioned in this course is designed to free up your time. Even if each adjustment frees up just a few minutes, that's time that you can reallocate elsewhere, hopefully through a more enjoyable activity. Thank you for watching and I hope that you are inspired to take back control of your time.