Defeat Procrastination: Design Your Own Personalized Creative Workflow | Sarah Edwards | Skillshare

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Defeat Procrastination: Design Your Own Personalized Creative Workflow

teacher avatar Sarah Edwards, Art Director & Creative Success Coach

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

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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Power of Process


    • 3.

      The Secret Sauce


    • 4.

      Debunking 3 Common Productivity Myths


    • 5.

      Our Class Project


    • 6.

      Part 1: The Importance of Workflow


    • 7.

      Exercise 1: Identifying Your Superpowers


    • 8.

      Exercise 2: Identifying Your Kyptonites


    • 9.

      Part 2: The Start of Our Workflow Journey


    • 10.

      Exercise 3: Brainstorming with a Chance of Lightning


    • 11.

      Exercise 4: The Brain Dump


    • 12.

      Exercise 5: Building The Framework


    • 13.

      Exercise 6: The Little Details, To Do List, and Schedules, Oh My!


    • 14.

      Bonus Details


    • 15.

      Part 3: Discipline, Grace & Redefining Failure


    • 16.

      Exercise 7: Exhaustion, Burnout & Mental Health


    • 17.

      The Finale: Workspace & Distractions


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About This Class

Do you have unfinished projects? Are you procrastinating, anxious or feeling unproductive?

As creatives, the first thing we throw out when we’re stressed is ideas. We abandon our work because we don’t know what we’re trying to achieve, how to handle doubt, or the detailed steps to reach the finish line. I believe success is possible for every creative, the question is, do you have YOUR process to get there - not just a process? Process, workflow and success is not a “one size fits all treatment,” so we go beyond just the deadlines, but the inner workings of who you are as a creative person. This class will be an investment for yourself, your creative spirit, and your future.

Together, in this class packed with extensive tools and a workbook, we’ll help you:

  • Build a strong, lifelong, and personalized workflow that can change your life.
  • Give you a daily system that will guide you to success and alleviate mental pressures.
  • Learn new methods of brainstorming so you can turn thoughts into big ideas.
  • Become your own project manager who can handle all types of creative endeavors big or small!
  • Teach you the secret sauce to creative success to crush procrastination.
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses and make them your superpowers!
  • Overcome burnout and overthinking once and for all!
  • Incorporate your personal needs and mental health into all your project planning.
  • AND most importantly, get you to your next finish line.

Not only will you get a 35+ page workbook, but I’ll also introduce you to an optional new software that I currently use for all things creative - such as personal projects, professional clients and even my own wedding planning! IT'S MILANOTE!

As a bonus, we’ll also cover workspace tips; eliminating distractions, having grace and redefining failure and success!

Oh, and hi, my name is Sarah - and I wear a lot of hats. I am a professional Art Director, writer, entrepreneur, creative educator and mental health advocate! (At the end of the day I am an all enthused neurodivergent to-do list fan, and very caffeinated creative!) 

If you learned something today, please help me on my mission to become a full time educator by reviewing this class, or contributing to our discussions! Thanks a bunch!


This class is for every human, as we are ALL "creatives." Whether you are an aspiring interior designer or the mom who loves setting a good dinner table. Let’s make your dreams a reality.

You can personally say hi to Sarah and see more content, including; free classes, downloads, vlogs, a podcast, a magazine and even motivational apparel by clicking here or visiting Set Apart Company!

Meet Your Teacher

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Sarah Edwards

Art Director & Creative Success Coach


Pairs with my newest class: From Overwhelmed to Organized: Design Your Daily Simple Structure with Notion

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1. Introduction: I'm back. Hello Skillshare, I've missed you. I'm so excited. I had been working towards this day for five months. Welcome to the class that puts an investment into the thing that matters most. You. You are the change-maker, visionary creator, designer of your life, and therefore, you are your creativity's most valuable asset. If you've been hitting some creative roadblocks lately, trust me, you're not alone and this class is definitely for you. Let's be honest as creatives. The first thing we throw out when we're stressed is ideas. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to work through doubt. I didn't know how to plan out all the detailed steps. I didn't know how to separate my mental health from my creative health and how to make sure I was assisting myself all the way to the finish line, not just certain parts of the finish line. As a neuro divergence, I discovered really quickly in childhood that I didn't process information, ideas, or even how to complete a thought in the same way as other children and still other adults. I grew up with severe generalized anxiety disorder, harm obsessive compulsive disorder. I now, I'm in recovery for complex post-traumatic stress disorder and I'm suicide survivor. From childhood to adulthood, I can confidently say that every one of us needs their own way of processing information. There's definitely universal truths out there, but when it comes to creativity, it's not a one-size fits all solution, and regardless of your background, your age, your makeup, the way you process, your diagnosis sees or not, we all need to find our own personalized workflow. If you're finding that you're hitting a pattern or continual roadblocks, you really want to cut out that investment for yourself, and we're going to do that in this class. What I discovered is that we are put in educational systems, in career and workplace systems, and we are tasked to try to change ourselves, change our ways of thinking to meet a universal standard. I wasn't actually seeing the core root of maybe why my creativity was suffering, why I was hitting burnout, why I was having anxiety when I came to the point of creating, why I procrastinated when creating a project. Once I realized that the education system, my career system, designed by other people, designed for other intentions, might be a foundational root as to why I was struggling. I decided to dedicate six months of my life to research, sorting it out, doing trial and error, and I found that process to alleviate most of my mental stress when it comes to creation. It's something I use today for every project, and I want to share that with you and I put it together so that you can build your own process that's just for you. I promise you that this is a one-stop shop. It's all that you need and I really hope you learn something from this process building today. 2. The Power of Process: When I was young, my parents were advised to keep their expectations low about my future. I was testing well below average in reading and comprehension. I had other disabilities, so I'm partially paralyzed on my left side. I have minor cerebral palsy and that also impacted my intellectual side. I didn't process things as quickly as other students. I needed extra help and then of course, I also had the mental side with my emotions, with anxiety and panic attacks and needing extra aid than the average student. My parents, myself are continually told that we just need to accept the standard that I'm at and not really reach for anything above the set bar that was placed for me. There was a really powerful moment that I got to witness with my parents sitting in front of these professionals who honestly had good intentions. But my parents had a really simplistic response and it stuck with me to this day, and that answer was no. Oftentimes, we hear the word no and we're a little bit jarred by but it's something that we see as a negative. But I think no can be a really good word. When they said no, it wasn't with the intention of adding pressure to me saying no, she's going to be at that above average bar. The no was that the process that was being set before me and the way I was going about being tested or learning or in that environment, just didn't work for me. They were saying no to the ecosystem I was put in. When we reshifted our mindset from no, we're going to be explorers instead of acceptors, that changed me as a student. It changed me as a young child and it's changed me as an adult. If you're in an ecosystem, whether that's your workplace, whether it's your home with your family or your school, or anything professionally for you, know that you can use the word no. You do not have to accept the way that you're doing things now, it might feel like it's out of your hands. But I promise you that if you put on your explorer cap and you promise yourself that you're going to find ways that work for you individually and not just accept the standard that's placed for you and the path, you're going to discover amazing and awesome things about yourself. The exercises we're doing in this class are going to do just that. When we have to change our mindset to exploration, it's going to require us to have new conversations with ourselves, with others. A lot of trial and error. These exercises are going to help you begin that process and start exploring your mind and creativity, as well as really jarring words like failure and rejection and success in a completely new way. Look, if you've had setbacks, if you'd had struggles or doubts, you're right there with the rest of us, congratulations. You are human. Suffering and struggle and failure is a part of our build and nature and design. Why not build a process that contributes to healing and getting over those hurdles? Why not create a process that helps really budget time for failure and setbacks? I think today we have such a go mentality, which is awesome in some ways, but it doesn't let us really be mindful of burnout, of these rejections or setbacks. I wanted to redefine the process workflow scenario and how I built it. In this class, we're going to be making sure that we're attributing and accounting for suffering and things like that. When I did that for me personally, it really changed not just my short-term goals, but it really impacted the long-term goals and all the hits I was taking, I just kept getting up and getting up because I can lean back on my process as rest and know that I was still making really good progress. 3. The Secret Sauce: Now I'm going to introduce you to what I like to call my personal jar of secret sauce. This is three things, three mantras that I have personally developed over the last couple of years. That I lean back into and remind myself of when things get tough, when I start something new, like building a whole process or undertaking a project. Having little mantras seem small, but I want to share these things with you and encourage you to steal them or make your own secret sauce mantras. We're getting into this before the exercises because I really want to lay the groundwork as to how we're thinking about ourselves, our creative process, and our goals. Jumping right in, the first one that I love to lean into and remind myself of is doing, is succeeding. What that does is when we have to explore and create our realities through choices and goal-setting. That is the pivotal first step from taking something as a thought, as an imaginative idea, and moving that into reality so that we feel empowered to create and layout actionable steps. Take it from an idea to a completed project. The problem is as creative is we're really good at doubting ourselves as human beings even. We'd like to use statements like, I think I might, or I'm going to become, or I hope to be. I love to erase all of those things and just say, I am a writer, I am a content maker, I am a chef. What that does is that it reminds you that you have all the tools you need at whatever season or stage of your life you are at. Of course, you're going to get better. Of course you're going to hit new milestones and you're going to evolve and create more and that's awesome. But we want to make sure that we are actually constantly reminding ourselves that we have the power to take those ideas and make them a reality and know that we have everything it takes inside of us and with a good process to make it happen. My second secret sauce definition is when I fail or get a no, it just means not yet. This might again seem like a super small mindset to have, but I used to take rejection really poorly. I used to take the nose or the pause points in my projects and just take it as a sign from the universe that I was not meant to be insert, title, or project person. It's really helped me again rely and lean into the foundation, the hard work I put into my process. Just go back to that every day and chisel away at the marble until the statue is revealed and not think about all the emotional ties of a hiccup or a no or an opinion from someone else. You have to remind yourself, that when you pursue something if you put energy into it, you will get an outcome. It just might not be the outcome you expect or want immediately or maybe it doesn't line up with your expectations, but it's still an outcome. Friends, if you are chiseling away every day or every week at your dreams, your goals, your projects, your creativity, you will get somewhere. My last mantra is probably the most important, and it also is the most basic. Isn't that true that the trickiest things are the smallest little pieces in the puzzle? That is, I define success. The reason that that statement is so impactful, especially today because as creatives were very exposed to the world through technology, through social media, we have a lot of access to inspiration, which is awesome. I love Pinterest. I love Instagram. But it also creates a space in our minds and mindset that we need to shift and evolve and reform our definition of success constantly. We're moving that bar around. We're shifting our expectations. I need to have this done by this age. It needs to look like this. It needs to have this award. It needs to have this type of reaction. Otherwise, it's not successful. When we make that shift around constantly, we start to lose what our original intentions are behind the project. Most likely you're pursuing a project because it has meaning to you. It means something to you. Later in this course, we're going to teach you about how to do that and how to brainstorm well so that it's very tailored to your heart. But the problem when we have different definitions of successes, we don't really know to feel with our processes of working with our success and ourselves. Defining success for you allows you to level set reasonable expectations in the season of life that you're in. Really feel proud of who you are as a creative individual and not with the bar and expectation of the world's because guys, that's so much pressure. The path to success can be your own, not the most traveled. Which is why I like to view myself and you guys as explorers. You are constantly going down this winding road and I want to show you how we can do that together. Again, you can create your own process for any project of any size for your life specifically. With that being said, let's jump into the next section so we can get started. 4. Debunking 3 Common Productivity Myths: [MUSIC] Before we dive into the class project, we got to get something out of the way. I mean, I hear this all the time and it is myths about productivity. I'm going to take you through my top three myths about productivity and I hope it lays the groundwork before we dive into our class project. Number 1. In order to get a project finished or to be successful as a person, you need to maximize every second of your day. There's a huge difference between being efficient and productive than having to buy into hustle culture and thinking that you need to work around the clock in order to define yourself as successful. One, this goes back to that. You define success and what that looks like to your families needs to yours, personal needs to your joyful needs and understand that if you have an effective and efficient workflow which we're going to build today, then you don't need to work around the clock. You need rest. You need to turn off your computer, turn off your phone. You need to go and explore other parts of life and that is where you're going to get a lot of your creativity from. The roll-out, the hustle culture mindset. Yes, it's important to work hard. I worked really hard. I work many hours of the day, but they're impactful hours and that's what allows me to rest the rest of the day, not to be redundant [LAUGHTER]. Myth number 2, you need to set big goals to achieve big things. Look, setting huge mountainous goals is awesome. Everest, the moon, whatever you want, I do it, you should do it. Dream big, think why the world is your oyster. Awesome. However, what happens to some creatives if they set those big, huge goals, but they don't take the time to break that mountain down, crumble it from giant forms of rock to boulders to smaller rocks, to pebbles, to sand and when we set these big goals, we cannot think that success only lies at the peak. It lies at all the trails and pivots and turns and plateaus in the process as we hit smaller milestones. We break it down into bite-size pieces, set big goals. But achieving a goal and success is at many stages of the process and that big goal is more of a guiding point. It also shouldn't be your only point. It's important to have moral goals and emotional goals as well that may be fit into that big project driven goal or experience. But that could change and life changes us and the creative process changes us. Be flexible with that mountain goal and look at other mountains. This is my favorite one because I hear it all the time every day [LAUGHTER]. I myself use to say it quite often and that is procrastination means that I'm lazy. Too often we hear the words procrastination and lazy used interchangeably. They are not the same thing. A lot of people I know, including myself, used to peg laziness as a personality trait and that I'm a lazy person. I don't have a lot of energy and so therefore my procrastination is normal acceptable, it's part of my identity and it's unchangeable. Now, I'm not trying to debunk potential mental conditions. I have many, as I said, that could get in the way of being productive or maybe yes, having fatigue, needing rests. Those are all really important things. Procrastination is a form of avoidance. I do it with lots of things like taxes and money and all the unfun things and hard conversations. If you procrastinate, if you use the blanket statement of laziness, you are not alone. All of us have done it, but just identify when that happens that you're avoiding and last I checked, if you want to achieve something, you can avoid it. We're going to give you a process that makes you feel excited to get up every day and chisel away at that giant big mountain rock thing [LAUGHTER]. 5. Our Class Project: Guys, we are at the best part of why we're all here today and that is the class project. We are actually going to have you build your own template that you can use on big projects, small projects. Guys, I really mean that. I mean from planning a dinner party with your in-laws to literally undertaking the biggest project of your life like a giant speech or a mural painting or whatever big is to you. What we're going to be using today at least for demonstrations is a platform called Milanote. I use it for everything. It's super easy, but you don't have to use it to participate in this class. You can use a blank piece of paper, a Word doc, a Google doc, whatever your preference is. I have friends that have trial runs of this project with me and use bullet journals and sticky notes. You do you, but I'm going to be showing you on a software on my computer called Milanote, and I'd encourage you to check it out. Milanote just for those that are interested is a professional workspace tool that is designed for creatives. It has a bullet journal feel to it. It has all those sidebar tools that your heart desires from to-do list to setting deadlines to creating different mood-boards, sections for brainstorming, for getting inspiration. It can be on your phone, your iPad, your laptop, your computer, whatever you want. It's personally the tool that I use as a professional art director in the industry. It's also something I'm using again to plan my wedding and all the life details even the grocery list and I send it right over to the fiance. Please know that building a structure around your life is the best investment you can take, and you deserve it. You deserve to cut out that time to really explore who you are creatively, what you identify as in the creative realm, and really undoing anything we've learned in the past that might be harming our productive process. Do what sections you feel comfortable doing now, take this at your own pace. To help achieve that, I've even created a giant workbook for you. If you're familiar with my other class and classes to come, you know that I love to tag in a workbook specifically for the class for you guys to use. This workbook has a lot of the digested bits of this course. It has all of the graphics laid out for you. You can pull it up on your iPad, on your computer, on your phone, and it's available to you to work through at your own pace. You can even get it printed if you want. I find that it really helps make this process smoother. Please check that out in the class resources. I will be referencing it throughout the class. 6. Part 1: The Importance of Workflow: Obviously, we need to cover the importance of having workflow. I can pretty much summarize it in one statement. We abandon our work when we don't know what we're trying to achieve or how. Sounds really simple but it's the thing that gets in my way, in a lot of people's way through this crazy thing called life. We want to make sure we're creating a simplistic ideation process for you and to really understand what you're trying to achieve. We can do that through brainstorming, which we're going to cover in the next segment. We can do that through really knowing ourselves. A lot of creatives fail or quit because they're not in their cultivated environment. Today, I want to change that for us. The textbook definition of workflow is the sequence of industrial administrative or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion. I know that sounds like a mouthful and super intimidating, but essentially it is the process to get you from A to B. But here's the tricky part. Creativity is not just one project. Creativity is the thing that reinvents our reality on a daily basis. Wow, that's huge. You might not agree with me at first, but let me frame it this way. Creativity is a living and breathing organism. It requires fuel, it requires conversation, and it's going to constantly evolve. It's going to require lots of different projects. I don't just mean the projects on paper in your painting or with whatever your creative endeavor is. I mean your life projects. Trust me, we're going to unpack all that later. It's super important to really understand what a project is. But for now, we need to best understand that creativity is an evolution, it is a process. We want to make sure that our process that we've built accommodates that. Here's something really cool I've recently learned and I'm so excited to share it with you and it's this. If you have a solid process, you are not going to care about rejection, about doubt from yourself, from other people. I face a lot of doubt. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is the doubting condition that is the nature of how my mind works. But when I have a rock solid process and I'm chipping away at something every day the to do list getting those moments of gratification, well, I don't care what other people think. I don't care what my worries are. I know I'm still making progress and I want to show you how to do that today. 7. Exercise 1: Identifying Your Superpowers: I know in the past when you've probably tried to create a process or workflow for yourself, like me, you started with the details. You started with the big pieces, the things you got to buy, the things you need to learn. Trust me, we're going to get to that. But I actually don't want to start there at all. I want to start with a little thing. I like to call superpowers and Kryptonites. These are your strengths and weaknesses, and first, we're going to start with superpowers. This is really crucial because knowing our strengths, knowing what gets us going, what inspires us, what heals us, is something that we want to be proactive when building the foundational structure of our workflow and our process. This first exercise is going to be exploring what that is for you. One of the things I think is really important is that utilizing your superpowers when we are pursuing any type of project, we want to try to be pursuing something that is new, a little bit new, a lot of new, but it keeps us engaged, it keeps us interested, and it keeps us wanting to dig deeper and dive more into the process and that includes in our strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, by identifying our superpowers and our kryptonites, we are allowing ourselves to set reasonable deadlines and expectations within our process that accommodates us and accommodates our strengths and weaknesses. It is not a failure or a bad thing to look at the weaker parts of our creative selves and acknowledge and understand and accommodate those needs. The awesome thing about superpowers is that this is like the secret element, okay guys? Your superpower does that have to be one technique or skill. You can have a bunch of superpowers. It can be, you have this cool ability of laying a backsplash in your kitchen. I cannot do that by the way, I'm hopeless with most things home improvement. Or it can be how you talk to your kids at night before bed. Your superpowers are endless, they're amazing and they're plenty for whether you're just starting this "creative journey" where you thinking were. Note that your whole life has been building you up full of different superpowers and strengths that you have and we want to uncover that today. You can go into your workbook. There is the prompt there about identifying your superpowers as well as a little bit of a breakdown about what that is, so definitely go and reference your workbook. When you're ready, you can join me. It's as simple as writing it down. Our first step is just going to be making a list. I recommend a bulleted list, something simple, but if you want to take it further and write pages, if you want to write a few words, it's up to you. You get out of this process what you put into it. Superpower, knowing when to pause. Together, we can write down our processes and I actually have mine here in my little notebook. I'm actually going to share a couple with you when you're ready. Feel free to pause this part of the segment and come back or get a lot inspiration from me. It's okay to brag guys, you are awesome. Let it out. Read all your things down. Here just a few that came up for me. Anything to do with writing, it feels like a calming and natural skill. I enjoy checking off daily to-do list items and to-do lists tend to make me feel a little less stressed. I focus best when listening to instrumental score or nonlyrical music. I've discovered that I work best in the early morning before my day job begins. I enjoy speaking and presenting. You guys have seen that. I love being empathetic and focusing on storytelling and everything that I do. Mental health-related projects really drive me and make me feel connected to community. I learned best about my craft when teaching it. Hello Skillshare. I'm great at Photoshop and I love making little doodles to illustrate my posts or stories. I think this is great for adding my personal touch to all types of projects. As you write these down, I just wanted to give you a few more reminders. When we hide or sabotage our superpowers, it probably means we're comparing, and guys, comparison does not just rob joy, it kills creativity. When we compare ourselves to others, when we doubt our superpowers that deep down we know we really have, all we're doing is getting in our own way and this is totally okay normal. I'm the queen of getting in my own way. I constantly need reassurance. But honestly, the reassurance starts with me. By acknowledging our superpowers, we're going to really be able to hone in on not just a process, but really great kick-butt ideas that are going to really aid you in ideating in the future and knowing what drives you and remember, knowing what drives us is the thing that keeps us going. Take the time you need to do this exercise. Do not lean into comparison. Comparison will rob you of your progress and get to it and then meet me in the next segment, which I think you can probably guess what's next. 8. Exercise 2: Identifying Your Kyptonites: You heard me mention it a few times, but now we want to identify and write down our kryptonites. This is super important because this is going to help us build a more structured process, one that accommodates deadlines differently, expectations differently, and even will help us to find success differently. Writing down weaknesses is not in of itself a weakness. You are not defining yourself by these points, you are acknowledging them and acknowledging them is the first step towards progress and change. If that's the case, why would we build a process without acknowledging these truths? It's going to be hard, it's going to be uncomfortable, but you have what it takes within you to do this and know that it's temporary. Most things in life are temporary, including personality needs or physical needs, or emotional needs or technical needs. Please know that this is not defining truths about who you are. Same could be said for your superpowers. Your superpowers are going to evolve and change and strengthen and weaken, it's part of the human experience. We're going to take some time and write that down. Guys, I just want to remind you, this also includes any mental health, emotional, or triggers that you might have. I have a lot of triggers as someone with multiple mental health conditions. The faster I came to terms with defining what those needs are, the stronger I became in my health, which is going to propel what I am in my creative self. Don't be ashamed of writing down some things that you might need, that someone else might not need. This is for you, it's for your eyes only and it's only going to benefit you in the process. Who knows, it might spark new ideas for projects or conversations to help someone else. Here we are again, with the book. I'm going to read a few of my kryptonites. You can do this with me, you can pause, you can come back, you can get inspired by this whenever you're ready, but here I go. Number 1 is, I can easily get overstimulated in environments that are too loud, distracting, and sensory-driven. Number 2, my anxiety often increases at night, so working in the mornings or daytime is best. Sometimes my intrusive thoughts about my appearance prevent me from doing certain types of things like social media and yes guys, even recording this class for me is hard. Here I am using a weakness and making it a strength. Number 4. I really struggle with understanding topography and that impacts a lot of my graphic design layouts. Guys, I literally added like four new Skillshare classes all about typography the second I wrote this down a few days ago, so just know we're in progress. [LAUGHTER] I noticed I need extra time to organize and process when handling multiple projects. I have a tendency to overbook myself during the day and don't meet some of my milestones. If I don't write it down on my to-do list or schedule a time to do part of a project, I might get overwhelmed or not do it at all. I constantly need to silence my perfectionist voices, and I tend to overwork myself and not invest enough time into my physical health habits. As you can see from this list, writing down kryptonites is not just these compromising of facts that we might think about ourselves and our creative techniques, but also includes our emotional needs, how we process information, our technical skill sets, even our circumstances and resources. Also, guys, it's really important to note, just like I did a little bit before, is that these strengths and weaknesses can really change and vary depending on our environment. It's kind of like when you watch the superhero cartoons. I am a big fan of nerd over here. That the superhero or villain performs differently depending if they're in an environment that has more of their strengths and abilities, or an environment that goes against them. Also plotting these things out might help you figure out what environment do I need to be working in. What boundaries do I need to set to be more creatively successful, and how can I crush procrastination now that I know the strengths and weaknesses? With that, let's move on to our next segment and exercise, and I will see you there. 9. Part 2: The Start of Our Workflow Journey: Now we are at the start of our workflow journey. Something I just want to remind us one more time today is that remember that workflows just like creativity is living and breathing, and it will change and evolve through time. So be gracious with yourself. Don't set hard parameters and know that building a new process is huge and there's going to be a lot of trial and error and things you're going to want to adjust. But it's okay because the work we get done in this class is going to set an awesome foundation so you can do all of those things with ease. Now it's time to get started. I want you to pick your area of where this process is going to live. A little thing I want to add that I'll touch on again at the end of this course is try to keep everything in the same space. If you choose to use a bullet journal, keep it in the same journal, a blank piece of paper, have some filing system, a Google Doc, same thing. There also can be said for our Milanote situation. I'm going to give a little bit of an introduction on Milanote. If you are not using Milanote, feel free to skip right by. But if you are curious, stick around because this could be a new creative resource for you, for really any stage of your process or just something you want to check out later on. I want you guys who are using Milanote to open up ideally a computer or an iPad and head over to First. Now that we're at Milanote, we want to create an account. As I said, this account is free. There is a Pro plan that you can sign up for if you want more space eventually. But for the sake of this course, go ahead and do that free account. There is a link in the class resources for you to navigate to Milanote if you want to save it for later. You'll notice when signing up that you're thrown right into the program and that your screen is probably blank after setting up your account because you don't have anything there yet and we're going to change that. It even has this bullet journal like texture, which is super exciting. I personally love that little detail. Let's drag and drop in our first page together, Milanote calls this a board. It's a great way to have a new page or space that's entirely for your process, like a blank canvas. It separates it from the rest. Now, you can click on this to enter, double-click, or you can name the board anything you want. Great. Now that we have our blank space, our canvas, we can begin working throughout this class. But you'll see on the left side there you have note, link, to-do. These are all great things to use, but the main ones we're going to be focusing on is column and to-do. You can click on "Column" and it's a drag-and-drop situation. You drag and you drop. This gives you the opportunity to stack other things within this column, whether it's links or images or notes or to-do lists. I like using columns because I think that's a core part of what we're going to do today. But don't panic if you are working from some journal or a piece of paper outside of Milanote, your workbook is actually going to have everything you need to have resources for graphical examples and things like that. Just use my example demonstration as just a starting point, but know you have everything you need to get started. 10. Exercise 3: Brainstorming with a Chance of Lightning: [MUSIC] Now that we have our blank canvas, we have our superpowers and our kryptonites, so we know what a workflow is and why it matters. We're now going to dive into brainstorming, which is my favorite part. You might have heard me mention that I like to reference ideas, and thoughts, and creativity, like lightning in a jar. We want to be super impactful and intentional. To do that we want to make sure we're brainstorming the best way possible, and as best as we can. A lot of us have learned brainstorming through different means, and that could be with friends, in conversation with family. That can be in school or in higher education, it can be in the workplace but regardless, you've probably brainstormed, even if you don't consider yourself the most creative person in the room. We brainstorm when we're thinking of grocery lists, even how we want to organize our chores, as unfun as that sounds. I really like to pose the question to people, how do we brainstorm better? Brainstorming is not just the act of ideating, but it allows us an opportunity to brainstorm and think of ideas with intention. That word is so important for me. Intention is going to be something that ties to me personally, my heart, my personality, what drives me, and that's most likely going to increase the opportunity and the likelihood that I'm going to reach the finish line. When we are ideating we want to make sure we're bringing that intention in. I'm going to show you in this exercise how to do that best, so that you can be guaranteed that any project you try to undertake, even yes, if it's planning a dinner with your friends, or something smaller, you're going to get that project done. A few tips. Take a moment to remove the critic from the room. This is a judgment-free zone, guys. Brainstorming requires the whole spectrum of good and bad thoughts and ideas. Avoid thinking overlap. Wherever you use the upcoming template, your process, make sure it lives in a separate place from the rest of your process. You want your brainstorming to be a separate part of your journal, a separate part of the Milano. It just keeps that uncontained energy and creativity contained in its own spot, and it doesn't impact any in-progress projects, which I think is really important, because that can create decision fatigue and all those things. Actually moving into decision fatigue, to avoid this, as you ideate you can loosely begin to mentally mark which ideas you are liking the most, but don't pressure yourself to make an immediate or continual decision. Get it all out first, but if you start making those small notes as to what feels stronger for you, it's going to help you avoid decision fatigue. Lastly, feel free to change physical spaces as you brainstorm, we can find new ideas that way. Now we're moving into the next part where I'm actually going to give you my personal brainstorm process and template. Think of this as the prequel to your building your workflow and your process. We've identified some key knowledge, now we're going to move into how to brainstorm better and spark really impactful ideas. That's going to empower us to then move forward with picking our process and defining those structural pieces of our process. I want you to head over to Milano, or whatever section you've dedicated to be your brainstorming zone. You also have some graphical examples in your workbooks. Don't forget that that's there to guide you through this process as well. Over here in Milano, you might notice when you create a new board, which I'm going to do, because again, I want to separate that brainstorming element away from my process board, that it pops up with template opportunities. Feel free to check these out if you want. Now that you have your blank canvas ready, I'm going to have four categories for you here today that I'm going to show you. Category 1 is going to be skills I know and are proficient or do well. Category 2 is skills I want to improve or learn. Category 3 is visuals or images, and words that inspire me or make me feel stimulated, inspired, wanting to learn and dig more. Category 4 is big ideas and things I wonder about. This will all draw and mix together in different piecemeal ways, and these will create my course sparks or thoughts, which I like to call sparks or lightening, because it's more fun. I'm actually working outward, inward. I'm assessing myself first, I'm assessing what values I have as a person, as well as what visually inspires me, my strengths and weaknesses, which kind of mirrors a little bit of that superhero kryptonite talk that we had. This might seem a little bit intense at first, feel free to take the time you need to do this process. You can also skip the brainstorming part of this segment if you want, but I think this is a really new and impactful, and can be fun way of coming up with new ideas. So enjoy this part. This is a piece of the process, even though it feels like we haven't totally jumped in yet, I promise it's important. So head over to that coffee shop, sit in a museum, walk through your garden or sit outside, or just stay at your desk and give yourself whatever time you need to start coming up with filling in these categories. [MUSIC] For example, skills I know are proficient in is listening and teaching. I'm really good at the Adobe Creative Cloud thing, digital drawings and illustrations. Again, this takes some legacy from our superhero kryptonite exercise. So feel free to reference that if you're stumped. Visuals and words that inspire me. I really am loving embroidered stuff right now. I have no idea how to do embroidery, I have some of it behind me, but I'm totally useless [LAUGHTER] in embroidery right now. But I love looking at it. I love the Renaissance color palette, or the springy color palette. I think that those are beautiful coming from nature. I love a freshly set table in whatever season, it just brings me so much joy. Jumping over to skills I want to learn or improve, I am a novice with anything that does not have a digital medium. So oil paintings, watercolor paintings. I am not the best at grammatically checking things. I do have a lot of work-based anxiety. Then jumping down to the big questions, the things I wonder about, I really want to know, how do we visually show burnout? I think it's a huge conversation point in culture right now. I wonder are panic attacks understandable to others who maybe don't experience them. I wonder where can we bring creativity in the world to inspire our healing. These are just a few examples. When I first set out to make this list, it was extremely long, and that's awesome, that's totally cool. You can have one thing in each category, you can have pages. Take whatever time, add to this later. Once you're done with this course, go back to it. This is here for you as a tool. Now we're going to get into the important meat part of this, which is how am I combining some of these thoughts into what I like to consider my core sparks, my big ideas, the things that I could see as a potential project that's unique to me and what I care about. I want to take you through some of my examples today about what I was sparked with. Some of these are in your workbook as well, and then I want you to try to mimic and practice this. I'm going to talk you through how I came up with these things. This is really crucial guys, so stick with me. One of the sparks I came up with was a watercolor depicting what a panic attack looks and feels like, maybe in some sort of historical color palette or setting. There's a lot of different ways in here, maybe the historical nature of it is to really promote that this type of struggle with panic attacks, with high anxiety, is an ongoing thing, maybe we have an archaic conversation shaped around it but also, it's a new way that ties to me from a visual perspective that I think could be really interesting. I pulled this from a few categories. This is in your workbook too, guys. So feel free to look at this but I obviously mentioned that I'm not so great with the non-digital mediums, which is something I want to improve. Doing this in watercolor would inspire and challenge that. I do really enjoy mental health conversations. It's something I feel I'm proficient in and incredible to talk about. I did mention that I want to do a renaissance color palette style that makes me feel visually inspired. I did wonder, are panic attacks understandable to others? So this creates the motivation to go ahead and do that. That's just one example of how I combined all four categories and made one really unique thing that's just for me. I'm actually going to use this spark. I have a second example in the workbook, if you want to check it out, but I'm going to use this particular watercolor concept to build my process and show you how that's going to work today. For me, it's hypothetical; maybe I'll do it. I got lots of projects in the back burner. I want you to take some time, combine your categories, work through this exercise, share it with some of your classmates. Feel free to pop it in that discussion as you go or invite a friend to do this with you. It's super fun. I did it over wine, I've also done it over coffee. Highly recommend that you invite some conversation points in here with your friends and family. When you're ready, come back, and we're going to begin that structural part, the framework of our process. 11. Exercise 4: The Brain Dump: [MUSIC] I know I'm like the hype cheerleader right now when it comes to each segment, but seriously, this is my favorite exercise in the whole class, so I hope you enjoy it. It's super simple, but for me, it totally helps me alleviate my stress, my anxiety, anxious thoughts, and my doubts and just gets it all out. I hope you feel encouraged to use this in other parts of your life, I definitely do, and I'm calling this the brain dump. By now, you're probably wondering, Sarah, besides some of the lessons we've learned so far, truly, what is the method? What is the way of this process you're talking about? Guys, it starts with the brain dump. It is my favorite part, I'm literally so excited. I love doing this. I do it for all different types of projects, personal ones, professional ones, and I really, really recommend that you use this and put it in your tool belt because here's the thing. As human beings, the first thing we have to surrender to with any endeavor is time. Time will be our greatest strength or our greatest weakness. The brain dump, as simple as it is, really helps us save time, be more effective, be more intentional, and honestly alleviate stress. This exercise we're going to do together for me has totally helped me with my anxiety and my intrusive thoughts and my stressors, because, guys, the first thing we throw out when we're stressed is ideas. I mentioned that in the beginning and I'm going to say it again because I want you to stop self-sabotaging yourself because you're not giving yourself proper time and proper alleviation in the brain to get through your process. What is the brain dump? The brain dump is literally the emptying of the mind, just laying all the gritty messiness out on paper. It's fun, it's terrifying, but it gets all the noise out of your head and on here. It's like if you imagine a house that's completely structured beautiful, we're talking polished countertops and painted walls, and if someone was to peel all those layers away, all those interior pieces and just throw them in a pile in front of you, and you're like I know there's a house in here, but I have to find it. That's what we're doing. We're taking our perceptions, our assumptions, our knowledge, and our to-be knowledge, and we're laying all the materials in one big pile. We build that framework. We're taking pieces of it and we're putting it together ourselves, which is awesome. This allows you to have some starting point because I know as a creative, we've been there together. When you get to a project and you're staring at a blank piece of paper and you're like, oh my gosh, I have no idea what to do, I don't know where to start, am I capable of doing this? I want you to know you are capable, you just need to take the right tools and get there. Here we go, the brain dump. I'm going to give you a visual example here in Milanote. Again, you can do this anywhere. In terms of where it should sit in your journal, your Milanote, I really recommend that you head into that process section. I'm going to leave my brainstorming section and I'm going to dive into the process board that we created a few segments ago, that empty, blank, beautiful canvas, and I'm actually going to make sure that my brain dump, this master crazy throw-up of a list is at the leftmost side of my process section board page canvas, wherever that is for you. The reason I have it a part of my process is again, it's going to be the tools and the materials that I put in piece together throughout. Please create that yourselves wherever you are. For me in Milanote here, I'm just going to drag and drop one of the columns over. I'm going to title it brain dump. You can title it anything you want, but I just love thinking about the name. Here's an example of what that looks like when we get into the finished product. For me again, I have my example project idea. It's a watercolor depicting what a panic attack looks and feels like maybe in some historical setting. Taking that title of project type in mind, I just started dumping out things. For example, researching watercolor paper in my budget. What do I paint? What does that look like? Do I need inspiration from Pinterest? Where do I buy practice paper and larger format paper if I want to do some final piece? The main reason for this is that mental fatigue can happen if we're constantly having to reassess and think of next steps, goals, and milestones or constantly try to deviate our minds to think of the smaller details and concern. They can keep us from reaching a state of deep focus. So what we want to do is throw all the stuff down that you have a higher probability of reaching deep focus so you can really lean into your process when we set deadlines and the main structures, and the brain dump just serves as a way to de-noise and reference, and that's the goal here today. 12. Exercise 5: Building The Framework: [MUSIC] The framework. We think of framework, we tend to think of some outer or inner structure that is sturdy. It's the main components of how something is built. I have to say, this is the most crucial part of this class. We want to make sure that our framework is solid, it is intentional. I want you to take some time on this, and don't worry, we have the exercises for you to make sure you're getting it all done. Here are the main components of a framework. I want to remind you that regardless of that strong structure that we hope to build, that it can still evolve and change in time. Know that this isn't a one-time thing. You can adjust this, you can make new frameworks for different projects, but I want you to go back to these main pieces as often as you can. Number 1 is your big pieces, also known as the categories and stages of your process. These are the goals and milestones and will each have its own set of goals and deadlines within them so that we can really start breaking down how to get from A to B for each milestone. Then underneath, you have the detailed steps. Basically, the detailed steps for your stages towards success. These are going to include due dates for each of these details for each of these steps and it will guide you to each milestone, to each deadline. References and visuals are available in your workbook. Don't freak out, I'm also going to show you some stuff here on [inaudible]. Here's a high-level overview of what your process will look like when it's done. This is the template, but it's going to be a template built from you. I'm pretty excited for us to dive in. But going back to the big pieces, the key to a successful framework is successfully identifying the main and big structure. You're like, I have no idea how to do that. Don't worry. We're going to use our brain dump to do just that. I want you to give a glance at your brain dump and see if any elements speak to you. The big pieces are things that will almost always have a lot of mini detailed steps beneath them. Let's go through my example together. Then I want you to spend some time taking a stab at the big pieces in your framework. For me, glancing at my brain dump, I think something that really jumps out overall is that I definitely need some education on watercolor. I ask a lot of questions about how to use tools and materials and paper and how it functions. I definitely think watercolor and sketching, some education category are big pieces definitely needed for me. I'm definitely seeing a lot of questions about who am I drawing and the visual approach her, so I think another category for me is going to be maybe some character story and image structure. I'm also noticing that there is a lot of emphasis on tools and maybe where I'm going to paint. I definitely think that purchasing tools and researching the type of materials to buy is its own big thing. I can imagine a good handful of steps under that. Then lastly, I think a major category for me, and probably for a lot of you guys out there, is some execution stage. Painting execution. When am I finishing these things? How am I blocking out time to actually go ahead and work in that medium? I find that some execution element is probably going to be found in a lot of people's projects. Definitely recommend having that there. Take the time you need, be intentional with picking your big pieces, and then we're going to get into the meat of it. 13. Exercise 6: The Little Details, To Do List, and Schedules, Oh My!: The little details to-do lists and schedules, oh my. This is the muddiest part of your process, but when you have this done, whether it takes weeks, minutes, or days, I know I jumped around there that was not chronological. You are going to be so empowered, so grateful because when you see all of these little pieces laid out under your big pieces, you're going to be like, "Yeah, I can do this." Maybe it will take five years, maybe it will take five days, but you can do this, you plotted it out, you know it's going to change, you know it's going to move around. You're going to build in pieces for your mental health, for anticipating burnout for your life, and you're going to see that project start to come to life on paper. Guys, that's the most exciting and just emotional part. I know that some of us are either like me, super excited about the little details, and some of us are like, oh my gosh, do not torture me for a long time on this. I get it. It's not for everyone. Thinking through ways and things in a detailed manner is not always natural to all, but it is achievable to all. I'm going to walk you through that now. I want you to take a look at the big pieces you've laid out. I'm going to do the same thing. We have our big pieces or you can call them categories, and for some of you, this may be one, for others, it might be many. Therefore, this really should take the most time for you in this processes us constructing how those big pieces are made, reference door brains up. This is a way to glance and start pinpointing and sorting things out. The great thing about Milano is I can actually just drag and drop here, but you can rewrite, you can move around, whatever you need to do in wherever medium you're creating your process. Creating the small steps, I recommend that you try to stay focused on one category at a time and you don't let your mind wander. These are all the steps you'll need to take in order to complete that category. You need to think through the start to finish point. Remember, the more detailed you get, the more research or thought you invest into the small steps, the greater your daily success will be, so definitely, don't rush through this part. Small steps can be a variety of things. From buying a new set of plates to fixing the over-scheduled character on your third page of your graphic novel. Whatever it is, write it down. It's okay if you don't nail the chronological feeling just yet, but I do recommend you try thinking in the ADB format. As human beings, it's most organic for us to think literally, and going from A to B, start to finish. Thinking in that way is going to help you organize that section as best you can for the future. If I actually jump into my completed section here, you can see how I've really filled out all these categories. I referenced my brain dump, I pulled things over and duplicated things just so I could see where each category would lie and where that evolved from the brain dump. I have my watercolor education over here, I have my character story, I have my painting tools, I have my execution, things like that. I've listed out as much as I can think of as much as I've researched, but again, you're going to be adding and changing to this over time, which is totally fine. I hope you're getting the hang of this part, there is a secondary parts of this exercise, so do not run away from me just yet, and that's actually setting deadlines. I know in the creative world, that's the unfun word. Look, I don't like putting a time constraint if I'm in the zone or if I have something else coming up, I don't want to rush through it, but deadlines are super, super important to at least motivate us and have a clear set of understanding of when we're going to get somewhere start to finish. The first place I recommend doing this is starting to set deadlines on your big categories. You can do this first, you can also do this after we set the deadlines for the small categories. I give you this option because some people like to estimate and that makes them feel good to set deadlines for the small things, and some people are like, no way. Let me plan out all the small things and then I'll tell you when I'm finishing that milestone. Each of your big pieces is really like its own milestone and each step underneath are these mini milestones. That's really cool because it gives us this daily, weekly, more frequent gratification that a long-term project wouldn't be able to, so it is really important. Remember what we talked about in Myth 1, in order to be a successful person, you have to do all these things in a day, no. By having all these small steps plotted out, it's going to allow you to achieve maybe one thing in a day or 20 things in a day, and it will fluctuate depending on your schedule. These small steps is going to give you a bite by bite pieces that you can pick and choose when to do when. I think that's so exciting because when I have a crammed day and a family member needs help or I'm serving someone else in my community or friend group, at least I can still choose a way at one part, and that's the beautiful part of having this detailed process. It's defined and breathed in by you. Something that creative people tend to skip over is we only set deadlines for the big things, but I want to encourage you to set deadlines for the small stuff too. Milano actually has this great way of setting these deadlines. Again, if you're using it in a different environment or tool, you can just write a deadline next to it, add it to your planner, whatever you wanna do. But in Milano, you can actually just click on an item, whether it's a to-do item or not, and you can hit Due Date here on the left side. You click Due Date, and then you can select the time if you want and the day about when that is due. I love to do this with my bigger projects and I shift things around, and it really makes me feel like I'm achieving stuff every single week, which is awesome. Did you guys know you literally just did the hardest part of this class? You crushed it, or you're planning on crushing it, but regardless, congratulations. Setting those big pieces, those small steps, and those deadlines is a beast to get through. If you're still not through it, don't worry, you now have the tools and you know what it takes to do it. If you think we're done, we're not done. We're going to be refining, adding in those personalized details like your mental and emotional needs soon, but first, I want to introduce you to one last part of these sections and that is your to-do list. You've heard me mention this a few times and you're like, Sarah, why does a to-do list matter? This is ridiculous. I have a brain dump, I have all these small steps, who needs a to-do list? You do need a to-do list because here's the thing, guys. Life gets messy. You have a random thing break or something you need to rebuy or conversations you suddenly need to have and it's not in your small steps, so you panic. You go okay, and you write it down and you forget about it or you put it off, and procrastination starts to happen. I have a to-do list column, I actually like to add this to my most right side of my process. You can see here in my Milano that I have a to-do list if you scroll over here. I like to do this because it forces me to glance from left to right, like how we process information, and I go through my steps and I'm like, I'm going to add this to my to-do list because it's a sudden and urgent thing. Life is messy. You have your master steps, these small pieces and you really don't want to interact and change that too much. In order to not change my little process Bible here, my to-do list helps me throw down the quick, furious, sudden, or nerve-wracking things that might occur in a day or in a week and really things that add to our mind clutter and cause our brains to wander instead of focusing on the creative process. This smaller last piece really helped me reduce my anxiety. I actually didn't add this into my process until very recently and it's helped and done wonders. I'm really glad I get to show you this today guys and introduce this as part of your tool belt. I am done with this section. We're going to move on to the next segment and really refine the process and make it even more personalized to you. 14. Bonus Details: To make this more personalized each project and you, I really think the small bonus details matter and I'm going to tell you why. You know that I'm a big fan of not adding in that mental mind clutter and really making a clear path as possible towards your goals, deadlines, finish lines, whatever you want to call it. Here are a few things I really like to add to my process depending on the project. This might not be applicable to you right now, it could be in the future. I'm just going to read these off for you. They are going to be in your workbook so if you need the second reference, awesome. You guys know I said in Myth number 2, you need to set big goals to achieve big things. But real big things happen with the small steps and when we're making progress not perfection. Here are some of those bonus details to really make sure we're continuing our progress in an efficient way. We all know even though we're creative people, sometimes we got to crunch the numbers. Here in Milano, sometimes I drag a new board over and add a different space but still within my process board to list out any potential expenses. You can also drag in a spreadsheet here, which is really awesome. I love that I'm able to easily link Google Sheets or anything files that I might need to continually update. The other thing I like to add in that might be necessary for you is anything that requires continual maintenance so if it's not a one-and-done step or projects. For example, something like social media or something that needs to be checked off every few weeks, I like to call this the CPR approach. Things that constantly need to be checked in on and air breathed into to keep it alive. You can have a separate board here just for that keeping it separate from your biggest pieces and small steps, but you still know it's there. You still know it's important to check in on, and hey, in Milano, you can actually set deadlines on those things too. What I like to do is set a reoccurring deadline for things like expenses on my big long-term projects. I'm constantly checking in and keeping those small details updated and it just makes me feel even more buttoned up in the creative approach. 15. Part 3: Discipline, Grace & Redefining Failure: Now that we've laid out all of those pieces which you are a rockstar for doing, that is not easy. But we're going to talk about a little thing called Grace and a big thing called failure. Even though we're incorporating a lot of intentional thoughts behind our brainstorming in our process, it's still important to check in with ourselves and figure out what's working behind our minds and our thought processes when it comes to big things like failing, rejection, not having a to-do list item work out the way we want. I want to spend s one time to talk about that today. Time is our biggest strength and weakness. We give up often or we think we're failing because we're not meeting someone else's timeline or maybe we're setting an expectation that mimics someone else's life. We work in a world where we often need to bend to others timelines and ways of working. I say that because even though you're building an awesome process here with me today, know that you still need to have Grace because you're still going to be put in environments and situations where, you do have to work under someone else's conditions. Sometimes I get really frustrated at my job because I have to work the way that other people think and that's okay. But it's important to have Grace in those situations because it might not be the way we need to work, but there's ways to use our process building tool belt things today to work around that as best we can. Just because you don't learn a skill or a lesson at the same pace as maybe the "average person" or another person, does not mean you don't have the skill at all. In the theme of explorers, again, it's like you have to unearth the gems within yourself and your creativity. Someone else might find something before you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't quit and stop exploring all your potential. I guess time is limited, but there's plenty to explore and there is plenty of success for everyone. I've been saying that this process is for you. Something I'd like to do with us now is, I want you to pull that list back out of your superpowers and kryptonite's. We're going to revisit some of those things right now. We're going to make sure that our process is mirroring and understanding those strengths and weaknesses. That's going to help us put us in better situation, so that when we hit a rejection or failure or misunderstanding or we feel stuck, that we've a process that we know we can depend on. I'm going to give you an example of how I'm going to assess my strengths and weaknesses and I'm going to reassess my process. But this part, I can only give you an example the rest is up to you. Definitely recheck your list, look at your process and see some areas that you maybe can tweak or bend. For example, one of my kryptonite's is I have a tendency to overwork or overbook myself during the day, which means I might not meet some of my milestones. Naturally I'm going to head back over to my steps schedule here and maybe add some breathing room, like doing one thing a day instead of three things a day especially if I know it's going to be a week or a month that has a lot of personal things involved, or for superpowers for example, I know that anything to do with writing feels like a calming and unnatural skill. Perhaps I should try to incorporate this into every project I have even if it's not quite matching the medium I'm working on. For example, we know that my hypothetical project is my watercolor paintings, so maybe something I added is writing about my painting subjects, anxious emotions or who he or she is and really get into the headspace before painting. This might sent me up more for success. In the view of time, I would encourage you also to take inventory of what your best working time is. I know this might have landed in your superpower, kryptonite around here, but I want you to think about this regardless because you're working time in those spaces in your day to efficiently get work done is going to be huge tool in your tool belt. Make sure you're checking in with yourself. Again, you don't have to work the same time someone else does, if you read an article that said 4:00 AM multimillionaire success and you tried it and it doesn't work for you, don't do it. If your job crams you in these working hours and you can't cram creativity in that time, then great, schedule it afterward. I also want to remind you guys that in the nature of Grace and being Graceful, it also can mean putting ourselves in front of other projects, in front of other needs and activities. To be honest, and I swear I'm not bragging, I'm a big service person. I love serving others. I love doing things for others. I tend to feel a lot of guilt and anxiety when I put myself first, when I ask for things, when I don't prioritize someone else. This is not a natural thing I do well, but I've really been working on using time as reward in the sense of rewarding myself that I matter and cutting out these times to achieve the goals I have, even if it's a goal that other people don't understand or totally support, matters. That can be writing in the morning, before your kid has to get ready for school. That can be asking your boss to shift your hours around so it can accommodate you better see you have time to paint or cook or whatever your goal is. Don't be afraid to leverage and re-evaluate the asset of time. It's super crucial. It's how we can stay efficient so that we aren't working all the time. We don't want to be creating constantly throughout the day, and we don't also want to be allocating too much time to other things and not allocating things to our creativity, because that's such a huge part of who you are. If you're watching this, if you're on Skillshare, it means that matters to you. Let's make sure it matters and let's make sure that's built into your process. Go ahead and tweak your small steps, add a big category if you have to, and really go through your kryptonite's and your superpowers and be like, I need more room here. I need more breathing room here, this deadline is unreasonable. I promise you, you're going to have more success if you take the step. 16. Exercise 7: Exhaustion, Burnout & Mental Health: [MUSIC] Take notes, pay attention. This section will change your life. It changed mine. It's actually quite a recent discovery for me. The past couple of years have been hitting just major seasons of burnout. That's when I restructured my process into what you're seeing today, but I still wanted to do a deeper dive. I still like what's going on and why [LAUGHTER] am I always tired and it actually came down to a really simple discovery that I'm so pumped to share with you and I do have an exercise for you so that you can weed it out yourself and that is asking myself the question, what is a project? Guys, I can assure you a lot of us are underestimating what a project actually is and maybe how many we have. By definition, a project is an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim, but many of us have gotten into the head-space that for some reason a project happens in some sort of ecosystem. On a blank piece of paper, on a watercolor work pad, in your art class, in your school with a paper due or a group project, hence the word project. However, projects are happening all around us in our life, and in our many buckets and categories in our life. If you're experiencing anxiety, stress, burnout, feeling tired and exhausted all the time, it could be that you're juggling a lot of balls and you're actually overworking yourself. I wanted to take time today to help you reidentify what a project is. Understand why that matters, and of course, build that into your process in a better and new way. We are constantly working through macro and microprojects. You helping your kid through an emotional episode, paying the bills, making the grocery list, restaining your floor in your house, or helping your spouse or community member are all considered microprojects. You have your main project or projects, stuff that we're laying out today, like that big goal that you have, but the little projects are also being processed by your mind and they also matter and the time for that needs to be budgeted for. I actually designed a graphic of some thought starters for what I consider projects and sometimes I do this little exercise with myself. Sometimes I actually put it in Milanote, but you can do this on a blank piece of paper. You can tack this up on [LAUGHTER] your wall, put it on your mirror, whatever you have to do and you have suffering and weaknesses, and you can't do it all and you need to be graceful with yourself. Grace is not just thrown upon us in abundance. It's something we have to work for and acknowledge and be mindful of. I want you to use this graphic and start identifying projects that might be happening in your life that are adding to time or stress. These are not bad things. These are not things you [LAUGHTER] need to cut out of your life. Please pay your bills and do all the unfun or fun things that you have in your personal space, but know that with all of this going on, it might attribute to burnout, you might need more rest. You might need to put a goal off longer or change the milestone, the deadline and the only way we're going to do that effectively is, of course, we are planning for it and we're acknowledging it. Take some time, it's in your workbook as well, write [LAUGHTER] out what a project is. I was shocked when I did this. I am juggling a bunch of regular creative [LAUGHTER] projects and a million life things. I want to encourage you that part of mental health is fortifying your mental health in your process. So identifying these projects also includes identifying triggers and things that might stress you out that are health-related projects or mental projects that you need to pursue to have longevity, to be efficient, to be healthy, and guys that matters the most. Building fortification around your mental health is not something to be shameful of. I oftentimes move deadlines. I say no to things. I shift things around, I get rid of a section of my projects so that I'm being mindful of my anxiety. If I have a trigger and a random thing that pops up, guess what? Everything shifts around. That's okay. Take some time to do that and when you're ready to feed me back here, we're going to be diving into our last section together. Isn't that crazy? Time has flown by. I am super excited and I hope you are learning things along the way. 17. The Finale: Workspace & Distractions: The workspace, you guys, we either love it or we hate talking about it. But regardless, it is a part of your process. You've done the meatiest parts of the course. We've gone over weaknesses, and strengths, and lessons, and brainstorming. We've really gotten your whole structure down on paper from setting deadlines to the small details, to the to-do list, to the extra bonus details. But if you guys know me by now, you know I love the small stuff and the workspace, it's a big small thing. Essentially, your workspace is going to be the environment you physically sit in to achieve the project or the process we just built together. Assessing where your workspace is at and where you physically are, and what distracts you or what inspires you is really, really important to take inventory of and analyze. Essentially, a workspace should be your path of least resistance. It should be big or small. A room or a four square foot space in your home or public space that allows you to work without having to jump through a million hurdles, without having too many things that get in your path. Really take note if you have that type of space today. If you don't, no worries, you can always make one. You can go on Pinterest and Instagram and be inspired, or you can be held back by that. I know a lot of friends and creatives who look at videos and photos of beautiful studios and apartments, and they think, "Wow, my painting room or my craft room does not look like that. Therefore, I must not be that good of a creative." But the things do not correlate, guys. They're not even related. You can have a little desk under the staircase like Harry Potter and do amazing things obviously. I want you to get inspired a little bit. As you go into this zone, this mindset of new process after what we learned today, don't be afraid to use this as an excuse to come up with a new workspace if you need one. Repainting the walls, fixing the desk leg that keeps wobbling and distracting you, setting boundaries in your family that you need a certain time of day that's considered your workspace in your bedroom, going and exploring new museums and coffee shops, whatever it is, make sure that you feel invigorated by that. Then ultimately, a workspace should inspire new ways of thinking and feeling and be refreshing, but also reliable. Life is super uncertain, as we know. Our stress and doubts can make us really lean into that uncertainty. Having a space that we can almost always depend on can be really crucial to checking off those bigger, small deadlines and small steps in our process. In our last lesson, I do want to touch on eliminating distractions because as a fellow creative, I am like a squirrel sometimes and I get super distracted. My phone buzzes, I get an email, I smell coffee in the kitchen, and suddenly I am breaking my chain of thought and rushing in to things without finishing something I'm working on. Spontinuity is awesome. I'm super, super, super fan of spontinuity, of doing things that are not in your schedule and in your plan that can be a source of inspiration. But ultimately, in the day-to-day grind, we really want to eliminate distractions. So I've composed a few tips for you today just to consider as you work through your new super awesome process, new super awesome structure, new super awesome ideas that you don't have new super awesome distractions to take you away from that. Of course, we talked about workspace. So we want to make sure that our workspace can be a repetitive trigger in the mind. Basically, what that means is you sit down in a similar spot or in a similar way or stand, if you're one of those people, and your mind is triggered to go, "Oh, I'm in a place of work." Whatever that means to you, make sure you have some space that's dependable and reliable. That's a really big first step. Speaking of reliability, I'm sure you haven't heard this word too much in creative chats, but finding an accountability group or partner. If you're dealing with maybe a bigger project that has more of a continuity to it, so something that needs to be checked in on, schedule is very weekly heavy, having an accountability group or partner will allow you to share your goals, share your steps, you can even share your Milanote board if you're brave. I've done that for at least wedding planning, which helps, and have someone that checks in on you. Hey, how are you doing? Hey, did you complete that thing? Did you buy that thing? Do you need help talking through that thing? Is going to make you feel ownable, you're taking steps, and it will help deter the idea of procrastinating because now you have multiple eyes on you. This works in the workplace, it works in the school. So applying it in your own life, big or small, can be super important. Another one, and I cannot stress this enough. I was the worst, years ago, about having a gazillion systems. Part of this course today is to empower you to have one place, one system that you can rely on for any type of project, which is what makes it super unique, but also keeping it in one place, guys. As creatives we have a niche, a special skill for putting things in a lot of places sometimes, at least I did. Jotting down onto my phone, scheduling things on three different calendars like Google Calendar, and Zoom, and Teams, and then writing it down in my planner, but then telling someone and I'm putting sticky notes on the fridge, and then, wait, I'm going to put it in this bucket, in this folder, and I'm going to put it in this ZIP file on my computer. Let me tell you, I'm going to keep it simple. Work in one space, pick one system. Maybe it's Milanote, maybe it's a planner, maybe it is a journal that you keep all those ideas and thoughts in. I know sometimes we need separate things for separate reasons. Totally cool. Pick one system whether it's how you're notified, how you're reminded where you put your deadlines, trust me, you will thank me later. It's helped me a bunch to not jump around and waste time, and then have decision fatigue, which we've talked about. We want to avoid decision fatigue. We want to avoid spending energy. If you only have an hour a day to work on your passion outside of all the other responsibilities that life throws at us, don't waste it on things like tracking down your notes. Trust me. Guys, we have reached the end. I am so grateful for you. You're so rockstars. If you've stuck with me all the way through, you should now have an awesome super solid process that you can morph and change and tweak. Please note, take it and change it. If there's a part you didn't like or love about what I've taught you today, change it. I hope you did learn something and you felt inspired, and excited, and enthusiastic. Ultimately, I really hope that you can see clearly now that you are capable of literally anything. If you have an idea, whether it's writing the next bestselling novel or movie, or if you want to become the next big chef of New York, you are capable. If you have the right process and the right steps, I promise you, you will get there. It might take some time. I'm still working on my big dreams and goals. But one of my big dreams and goals is I would love to become a more full-time Skillshare teacher. I love teaching. I love working with you guys and talking with you. So you can help me on my little mission of becoming a Skillshare teacher by following me on my profile, checking out my other class or classes, and connecting with me through other means of social media as well. But before you depart, this is not a goodbye just yet. I do want to go over with you one thing about how you can share what you've learned today with your peers and other students. On your screen, you have some prompts. Please pick one or all three. I do know that a process can be super personal to each individual. So I don't really want people feeling pressured to share a screenshot or a picture of their written-out steps. I know that can have some personal details to it. For now, I'd really love for you to share one or all three of these prompts. Number 1 is what is one of your kryptonites and/or superpowers? Sharing these can help normalize a lot of anxious thoughts or doubts we may have surrounding ourselves and empower your creative neighbor here on Skillshare. Number 2, how do you now define success? We've talked a lot about the pros and cons of looking at success and what that really means and expectations. I would really love to hear how you now define success. Number 3, what creative project are you excited to do next with your new process? This is the one I'm most excited about. I want to hear what you guys are cracking open next. For you guys that don't know, my name is Sarah. I am so honored to have you here with me today to help refine and define creative success and process. You can find me all over the web. I love giving content. I love educating. I love making stuff like this. Of course, I have a podcast, a YouTube channel, a digital magazine, a clothing line, and a bunch of free resources and workbooks that are going up on my site. I run a company called the Set Apart Company. You can find it, of course, it's All the links are in my bio. Please follow me on Instagram, not even for the follower account. I just love saying hi. I've had a lot of you guys in the past DM me and it makes me so happy. A little bit about me, just to snip in the credibility before we sign off here. I am a professional art director, a professional writer. I'm a mental health advocate. I work with different NGOs around the country. I work in a professional advertising agency outside of New York City. I am available for freelance. I am, of course, at my core, a teacher and educator. Your creative friend, your creative cheerleader. I'm just so honored that you spent time with me today. Please leave a review, drop in the discussion post. Say hi, I'd love to answer any questions. I'd love to become your friend or just cheer you on on your next endeavor. I will see you here next time because we all know this is not the last time you're going to spend time with me on Skillshare. Thank you, Skillshare, for the opportunity, and I will see you all soon.