Productivity for Artists: Organizing Yourself for Success | Brooke Glaser | Skillshare

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Productivity for Artists: Organizing Yourself for Success

teacher avatar Brooke Glaser, Illustrator

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

    • 1.

      Productivity for Artists


    • 2.

      How To Use This Class


    • 3.

      How I Plan and Organize My Life


    • 4.

      Tips for Time Management


    • 5.

      Building Habits That Stick


    • 6.

      Curate an Environment for Success


    • 7.

      Win a Year of Skillshare


    • 8.

      Productivity Shortcuts: Tricks to Get Ahead Faster


    • 9.

      For the Workaholics


    • 10.

      Creating Motivation and Inspiration


    • 11.

      Procrastination, Fear of Failure, Frustration, and Perfectionism


    • 12.

      Distractions: Social Media, Family, and Interruptions


    • 13.

      When You Want to Quit


    • 14.

      Final Notes


    • 15.

      What Next


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About This Class

The secret about people who are super productive? They don’t have any more will-power, self-discipline, or self-control than you. You’re not a lazy person. It's not fair to beat yourself up because you’re ‘not productive enough’. People who are super productive have simply discovered ways to arrange their life so it’s easier from them to do the things they want to: it takes them less effort. And there are techniques and tricks that can help even the most disorganized of us.

Hi, I’m Brooke Glaser a professional illustrator, creative educator, and business owner. I was not born knowing how to deal with procrastination, lack of motivation, overwhelm, or distractions. This class is the compilation of the skills and techniques I’ve learned to deal with those productivity challenges, at different stages of my career.

Work a full or part-time job and trying to start a new career on the side? Oof, I’ve been there. This class is for you. Made it full-time, but struggle with balancing an overwhelming overload of projects? Yikes! I’ve been there too: This class is for you.

You’re going to learn get organized and create a system that will keep your organized.

You’ll learn a system to get organized - and STAY organized. We’ll talk about time management tips and building habits that stick. We’ll go over curating a physical environment to help you be productive. I’ll share productivity hacks to help you get further with less effort (and bust some common work-a-holic myths). You’ll learn techniques for discovering motivation and inspiration when you don’t have any. And you’ll learn to deal with distractions, procrastination, fear of failure, and frustration. 

By the end of this class, you will have tricks up your sleeve to conquer whatever productivity challenges pop up in your way.

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Brooke Glaser


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1. Productivity for Artists: The secret about super-productive people; they don't have any more willpower, self-discipline, or self-control than you, you're not a lazy person. It's not fair to beat yourself up because you're not productive enough. Productive people have discovered ways to arrange their lives so it's easier for them to do the things that they want to, it takes them less effort. There are techniques and tricks that can help even the most disorganized of us. I'm Brooke Glaser, a professional illustrator, creative educator, and business owner. I wasn't born knowing how to deal with procrastination, lack of motivation, overwhelm, or distractions. This class is a practical and comprehensive guide to all the skills and techniques I've learned over the different stages of my career. Whether you're trying to squeeze in a side hustle after your day job or you're struggling to juggle an overload of freelance projects, this class will teach you the skills that you need. You'll learn a system to get you organized and stay organized. We'll talk about time management tips and building habits that stick. We'll go over curating a physical environment to help you be productive. I'll share productivity hacks to help you get further with less effort and bust some common work-a-holic myths. You'll learn techniques for discovering motivation and inspiration when you don't have any. You'll learn to deal with distractions, procrastination, fear of failure, and frustration. By the end of this class, you'll have tricks up your sleeves to conquer whatever productivity challenges pop up your way. 2. How To Use This Class: Well, I've organized the lessons in an order that should be helpful. You don't have to watch it in order, you can jump and skip around. Some of these lessons you may find that you want to watch over and over again. Don't worry, they'll be there to help you. Remember, there's that handy-dandy little 15-second rewind button if you want to review a point. Now, here's a little secret for you. I don't always follow all of this advice all of the time, so please don't feel bad if you can't manage to implement every single piece of advice into your schedule immediately. Sometimes I use this stuff, sometimes I forget, but everything in this class is something that I have personally tried and has worked for me at one point or another. Take what makes sense to you, what you think will help you the most, and feel free to disregard the rest. You'll also find a list of resources and books in the Projects tab. Okay. Are you ready to start? Let's go. 3. How I Plan and Organize My Life: In this lesson we'll go over it, my advice for setting goals, planning to achieve them, and organizing your notes and art files. Now you may say, "I don't like feeling constrained. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it." You know what? That's actually fine. I change my mind and I change what I'm doing all the time. These systems actually make it easier for me to do that and not forget anything. These systems mean I can drop a project and come back to it next month, and I will know exactly where I need to pick it up. I want more space in my brain to be coming up with clever ideas for drawings, not trying to remember what's on my to-do list. I don't plan and schedule every moment of everyday and unless that feels good to you, I don't recommend that you do either. This system is what I currently use, and my system has evolved over the years depending on my needs. You may find that part of it make sense for you, but you may not want to use all of it. That's fine. Use what makes sense for you and skip the rest. This is not an all or nothing system. You know what works best for your life. For example, I organize my life with a combo of digital tools and analog paper. If you prefer a physical planner for this stuff, that's 100 percent fine. Use that. If you prefer to work completely digital, great. Do that. It's the ideas behind what I'm doing that's important, not how you do it. There is only one method that I actively discourage you from using, and I would not advise using your e-mail inbox as your to-do list. When you have to jump to your e-mail to check your to-do list, e-mails from other people demanding your attention can be very hard to ignore. Putting your to-do list in an e-mail form is basically mixing your to-do list with what everyone else wants you to put on your to-do list, and that's not a good way of prioritizing what's important to you. But whatever system you decide to use for yourself, try to stick with it for a month. You've got to trust and actually use the system for it to work. If you keep writing half of your to-dos in one place and a half in another, you'll never feel like you can fully trust the system. You'll be hesitant to write something down because you'll be afraid that it'll get lost and it just turns into a vicious cycle. So try sticking with the system for a little while and then if you need to change it or tweak it, that's fine. Goal setting. The first thing I want you to do is start a list of all of the things you want to do. Write them all down, no need to censor it yet. In fact, in a couple of weeks if you come up with another idea that you'd like to try, write it down on this same list. Writing our thoughts down is an excellent way to get them out of our heads so that we can focus on the tasks at hand. If you've ever felt like you're overwhelmed with ideas and inspiration, this list is a safe place to write it all down so that you don't have to worry that you'll forget about them. It can be really helpful to have a place where you write out really clearly and specifically what your goal is. Having clear goals is going to help you with overwhelm. We'll also address overwhelm and the chapters on being burnt out and procrastination, but it starts with your goals. The more clear that you can be about those, the easier is going to be to avoid overwhelm. Once you've written down all of your goals, we're going to choose the top three or four that we're going to work towards achieving in the next few months. Even the most productive of us can't make meaningful progress if we're split into too many directions. If it feels disappointing to only focus on a few things, try reminding yourself that you're not giving up those other things, you're just putting them to the side for now. You can always do those two just later after you've finished the current goals, and as an added benefit, this might help motivate you to finish the goal that you're on so that you can get to the next exciting dream. Just because you set a goal doesn't mean that this is the rest of your life. You are allowed to change your goals whenever you decide that this is not what you want anymore. How do you choose which goals to go for? One method is to see if there are any goals that would make all of your other goals easier to achieve. If there is, start with that one. Finally, make sure that you're choosing your goals because you want to do that thing. It can be easy to get swept up by seeing another artist doing something super cool and then saying to yourself, "I want to do that thing." But that's no different than trying to keep up with the Joneses, trying to have the best car or the best house. Look, this is your one life to live. Is this what you want to be doing? Is this what you want to be spending your time on? Planning. The first plan that I make is an annual plan. After that, I'll break it down into a plan for the month, the week, and finally, I will break it down into a daily to-do list so that I don't feel overwhelmed. At the end of both the week and the month, I do review to make sure that I'm on track. Let's start with the annual plan. We want to figure out when you'll have time to work on those goals that you just wrote down. If you have a whole lot of family obligations or trips or vacations in a year, you'll want to keep that in mind because you don't want to schedule your artist store grand opening the day before your big vacation starts. So take a sheet of paper and divide it into the months of the year. First, you're going to add all the big life events that you need to plan around: weddings, the times that kids are going to be off of school and that you'll need to arrange care for them, etc. Remember this is basically a sketch. So I don't refer back to this chart everyday, it just helps me plan out any major interruptions and gives me a more realistic idea of what I can try to do in a given month. Next, you're going to plug in all of those goals. Now, is holiday a season where you sell most of your stuff as people are buying gifts? Is back to school a big time of year for the things that you make? If you own a shop, you're going to want to try and plan your product launches around that time. Somethings do require planning a year in advance. For example, an upcoming trade show. But personally, I don't like giving myself a whole year to work on a goal, and instead I focus on what I can achieve in the next 3-4 months. Giving myself too long to achieve something, just gives me permission to slack off until the last minute. I don't always know what I want to do in a year or in advance, how my life or business will have changed since then and I naturally feel inclined to re-evaluate where I'm going in my career about every four months. The monthly plan. We know roughly what we're going to try and achieve this year, now we can transfer this into a monthly plan of action. I use Apple Notes for this, but again, you might use a physical planner or another digital application like Trello. At the beginning of every month, I write down the name of the month in bold and then all of the goals that I need to do and that I want to do in that month. Keep in mind this is not a to-do list, this is a goal list. I'm not going to write down every little step of the things that I need to do, just the overarching priorities. What I'll do from there is that when I have everything in that month, I'm going to break it down into weekly sections, what needs to happen in Week 1 and what can wait until Week 2. Now, you want to try and be as realistic that you can with this, how much can you honestly do in a single week. Things come up, some other stuff we'll not get finished this week, and look, if you're not good at this now, don't worry, the longer you plan this stuff out, the better that you're going to get at figuring out how much you can realistically accomplish in a week. Always allow space in your schedule for something to go wrong. It's better to under-schedule your week rather than over-schedule it. You can always do more, but it can be really stressful to have to reschedule the things that you couldn't finish. Life will always happen. Something will pop up and disrupt your plans. If that happens, look at your list of priorities and decide which of these things can I put off? Which should I try hard to still accomplish? Sometimes you may find that you need to push a goal into the next week or even into the next month. Great. Now we have an idea of what we're going to do on the month and even during the weeks of the month. Now it's time to start working on that to-do list. Managing all your tasks. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the things that you need to do? Like, you can't stop thinking about everything that you need to get done? We're going to tackle that now with our to-do list system. Having a dedicated place to write down all of those little tasks is how I stay on top of things. Some people use a bullet journal, some people use physical planners. I currently use a digital app called Todoist. Having all of my lists in the same device or planner is really helpful for me instead of having lists scattered all over in different places around my house. You want your to-do list somewhere that's easy for you to access. So it's easy to add a task when it occurs to you, or to check to see what you need to do next. For each of those big goals that you wrote down in your year and monthly plan, here's where we want to write down all of the little tasks that they involve. This is my brain dump. I'll write all the little tasks down when I'm planning or whenever something just occurs to me. Wake up in the middle of the night realizing there's something else you forgot to put on your to-do list, add it to the to-do list, and let your mind rest easy knowing that it won't be forgotten. Maybe you don't know how to achieve your goal or what steps to take. That's very normal. If you knew how to do it, you would have probably done it already. Fair enough. Look, you might not know how to get from where you are now to where you want to be. But I bet you can think of at least one step that will get you started in the right direction. What is the one next thing that you can do towards achieving that dream? Great, add that tear your list. You may find that once you start to write things out, ideas will come to you. If not, well, once you've finished out that first task, then you'll figure out the next step. This is very normal when you are starting something new and it's okay. Now, you don't want to just lump all of your to-do tasks into one giant list. You want to create a separate list for each project. For me, I have a separate list for each income stream and that would be one for every client that I have, one for classes that I am teaching, one for the shop where I sell my products, and I also have a separate project list for my admin stuff. I have something for my monthly bookkeeping, I have something for my tax deadlines, and I even have things for my personal life. Like if I have a big trip coming up, I might put my to-do list on there of the things that I need to do like scheduling a hotel, or a flight, or any of that stuff. Keeping these projects in their own list makes it easy to find and reference. It's easy to add a task, and it's easy to see what tasks still need to be done. Now, a nifty thing that you can do with digital lists is create templates. For example, when I develop prints for this specific client, I always do the same thing. I send sketches to the client, then I do any request for revisions, then I decide on the color palette, and I adjust it according to any requested changes, I develop the final art with one last chance for change requests, and then I'll create the final repeat. After that, I send out an invoice. Since every project with this client is the same, I can just copy and paste this to-do list. Another cool trick with Todoist is that I can schedule tasks to repeat every day, once a week, or even once every three months. For example, my estimated taxes. When I have completed paying my estimated taxes for the quarter, I'll click check mark on that and it will reschedule it for the next three or four months. In that task, I even have a link to where I need to send my taxes, so I don't have to remember where that is. I actually even write out how much I need to pay so that I save time by not having to look that up each time either. Pro tip: have random tasks that don't really belong in any of these lists that you already have. I have a single list where I put any loose tasks that don't really need to be sorted out into their own projects. It's like that random junk we all seem to have in the kitchen. You don't need a separate list for all of these random things, it'll just make it more complicated to remember and find them. Again, the beauty of this is that you don't have to waste brain space remembering what you need to do. You can use that brain space for your creative work. My daily to-do list. Great. Now you've made a bunch of different to-do lists. Now what? What are you supposed to tackle first? This is where our monthly and weekly priorities come in from that last section. First, I'll look at the priorities I set for this week, which should coordinate with one of these to-do lists. From that to-do list, I'll choose a task or two to accomplish for the day and write it on my daily to-do list. If my weekly priority was to work on my online shop, I'd add choose which art to print to my daily to-do list. Chances are, you don't have the luxury of only doing one project at a time. You might also have a day job or other life responsibilities that take time in your day. When I write my daily to-do list, I also look at my calendar, see if I have any meetings or appointments I need to plan in. Depending on how many other things I am working on that day, I might also add, find a local printer to the same day, but only if I'm confident that I have enough time for that task. I don't want to overload my schedule. Another method is you may find it more helpful to make a weekly to-do list with all of the things that you need to do that week, and then do your best to check two or three tasks off per day. You might be tempted to take all these to-do tasks you've written down and schedule them into the rest of your week or month. Scheduling in those tasks that happen months and months in the future, that acts as a good reminder. But those day-to-day tasks from the current goals and projects I'm working on. Personally, I haven't found that to be a very successful method for me. Why? It can be stressful and time-consuming to go in and reschedule those individual tasks when things didn't go exactly according to plan, which as I'm sure you've experienced, nothing ever goes according to plan. However, doing a mock schedule can be very helpful for planning. Sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed and afraid that I won't be able to finish a project by a deadline, I'll schedule all these tasks to see if it's even humanly possible for me to do all the things in the time that I have left. This is a great exercise to help you plan out what you need to actually accomplish every day to meet that deadline, or vice versa, to figure out what a reasonable deadline is. Hey, scheduling your tasks out ahead of time may actually work as a good method for you. It may keep you motivated to actually accomplish the things on your to-do list every single day. But if you're the type of person who feels trapped or constrained by strict schedules and plans, this is exactly the thing that you want to avoid. If you're someone who deeply appreciates the extra structure, by all means, schedule those tasks out. Remember, everyone is different and you want to do what works for you, not necessarily what works for me. Now, some people might use to-do list as their daily list, but I don't like the idea of looking at a screen to check what I'm supposed to do. I actually write my to-do list on a sticky note, which I keep on my desk, on my laptop. When I finish a task on my list, I will draw a line straight through it. If it's something I'm going to need to move to another day, I will put an arrow showing that I am going to reschedule it at the end of the day. If I halfway finish a task, I will usually put a slash in the front so that I know that it's halfway done. Pro tip. I always add one or two mini-tasks to my list. These are things that take very little time or effort to do. I do these in spare moments throughout my day. If I finish one of my big to-dos, but I've still got 10 minutes before lunch, or if I've got a spare 10 minutes before a meeting, or if I'm procrastinating on starting a task instead of scrolling through social media, I'll do one of those tasks. Finally, the review is the secret sauce that keeps this whole system working. At the end of the day, I go through my checklist and I tick off all of the tasks that I finish. You've got to make sure you don't lose faith in your system and leave a bunch of tasks all over the place. Otherwise, you're going to stop trusting the system and it's going to be useless to you. After I check out what I finish that day, then I'll plan out my next day. I'll use my weekly guide to remind me what my priorities are. Now, you might not have finished something today that needs to get put on the list for tomorrow. That's okay. That happens. Once we hit the end of the week, now I need to see what goals I finished. Do I need to bump a goal, a whole priority from this week to next week? That happens. I also like to do a quick review of the week at this point, I ask myself these questions and I write down the answers. What went well? Why did it go well? What didn't go well and why? Is there something I can do to prevent those problems from happening again? This review is really crucial to my success. It can be really helpful to understand what went well and why because then I can replicate that. I can make it happen again. In the review, remember that random list of tasks that we made? At the end of the week, you want to go in and schedule any task that you want to achieve next week. Now you can do this review at the end of the week, or you can do it first thing at the beginning of the next week. You might find it more inspiring to set a plan and start tackling it immediately. Now sometimes I don't actually make time for that weekly review. I know, I'm bad productivity person, but I never skip this at the end of the month. Again, you can do it at the end of the month or the beginning of the next month. But I do the same thing. I refer to my annual plan and I see what's coming up. I gauge what progress I've made on the goals I tried to do last month and I decide what I want to do moving forward. This is where I do that review. What went well and why? What didn't go well, and why? Honestly asking myself these questions has made a huge difference in my ability to get things done. Simply taking 30 minutes at the end of the month to consider these things can be really helpful. I don't have time for review or planning. When things get busy and frantic, it can feel like you just don't want to waste that extra time to plan, you just want to jump straight into the next action. Yes, over-planning can be too much. But imagine starting a road trip and not wanting to waste time looking up the directions. You might say, "That highway sign tells me what direction I'm going. I know that highway sign says where I'm going." But what the highway sign might not tell you is that there's construction ahead and it would be faster to go a different route. That's what planning does. It helps you avoid stumbling blocks, over-scheduling yourselves, and helps you from becoming overwhelmed. Without a good plan, it's easy to find yourself getting sucked with the two things that feel urgent, but aren't actually important. Planning will help you schedule the important work into the limited time that you do have, and a plan can be very simple. It doesn't need to be step-by-step directions. Organizing my notes. If you're a creative, you've heard how no one leaves their home without a sketchbook. You never know when you're going to have a brilliant idea for a passion project or a new business idea. You need a place to store those. You also need a place where you take notes for classes or meetings or brainstorming captions for your social media posts. I even have a note filled with hashtags that I like to use on Instagram. Now, I'm going to talk about digital note-taking because that's my favorite way of doing this. I'm able to reference my notes from my phone, my computer, my iPad, everywhere and anywhere that I am. But if you prefer handwriting notes, that's fine too. Just like my tasks though, I keep everything organized in folders. I have a folder for any interviews or talks I give. Those are great because I use those talking points over and over again. If I have to write a script for a class like this one, I have a separate folder for that class, and that's the whole point. Having these folders makes it easy for me to find my notes. You might use a physical folder for these instead of a huge stack of paper on top of your desk, it's hard to find what you're looking for in a random pile of papers, and I do go back to these notes. I have a list of brainstorming ideas, passion projects that I've referenced months and even years later. Like my inktober themes, when I'm doing a current inktober, I might think like I should have done this for a theme and I'll just write that down, and when the next year comes, I can reference that. The nice thing about digital note-taking is that you can use the search bar to just search what you're looking for. Finally, I have a daily note which I review at the end of every single day. Have a genius idea for a passion project while you are in the middle of a task? Write it in the daily notes so that you can save that idea and it doesn't have to interrupt the flow of the task you're currently on. Sometimes I get highly caffeinated and really excited about an idea, but after sitting on it for a day, I might decide maybe this isn't something I want to pursue. Having the daily note means that I can write it down so that I won't forget, and then during my planning time at the end of the day, I can decide if I want to go for it and schedule it in, save it as a good idea for another time or delete it. Organizing your digital files. It's also important to organize your artwork so that it's easy for you to find, and whether that is having a system that is labeled by client name or if you organize it by subject matter, whatever your system, just have something in place so that it's easy for you to find artwork instead of just having to search for a random name that you titled something three years ago. Organizing your physical files. I also do the same thing for any physical art that I have. I have them organized so that it's easy to find if I need to. I have a folder for receipts and a folder for pay stubs and tax documents and any cheques that I've gotten so that if I need them for whatever reason, I know that they are in a folder and I can just find it there. Let's do a quick recap. You want to choose your top two or three goals to work on, for now. You're going to break down your annual plan into a monthly, weekly, and then daily plan. You want to create and organize your system for keeping track of all of the tasks that you need to do, and finally, you want to do a review at the end of every day, week, and month. Remember, that review is especially crucial in the beginning because it will help you sort out what parts of your system are working and what you'll need to tweak to work best for you. I encourage you to share your goals in the project section of this class. Publicly sharing your goals is a great way to motivate you to stick with them. 4. Tips for Time Management: Tips for time management. Author Stephen Covey tells a story of a professor who had a large bucket and filled it with a bunch of large rocks. He then asked his students, is this bucket full? To which they replied, yes. He proceeded to pull out a bag of pebbles and poured it into the bucket, letting the pebbles fill the spaces between the big rocks. Again, he asked, is this bucket full? To which the clever students answered, no. Finally he pulled out a glass of water and he poured it into the bucket, and at that point it was truly full. The important part of this story here is that if the professor didn't start by putting big rocks in first, there was no way that he could have fit all of that stuff in. The same here goes with your goals. You have to prioritize the ones that are most important to you or they will not get done. If you fill your day with busywork, checking your social media stats, replying to as many emails as you can, you'll never have time to work on your dreams. In this lesson, we'll go over some of the different ways to help you manage your time and make sure that you can get those big rocks in. If you have commitments that suck up large portions of time, a day job or kids, try scheduling a work time calendar. Now that I work for myself on my own schedule, I don't need to rely on my calendar so much. But when I worked a part-time job, especially when I worked in restaurants and my schedule was completely different from day to day, a calendar was a crucial part of my planning. If you have to work around your kids schedule, I bet a calendar will also be important for you. I like to use Google calendar because you can have different calendars which you can visually turn on or off. You can also turn your calendar into a week view, which may be more helpful than a month view. In this pretend schedule, everything in purple is my day job. Now I can see all the open spaces where I can add a totally new calendar for my side hustle. On Thursday, I only have a few hours between these two shifts. Maybe instead of commuting home and then back again to work, I can do things for my side hustle that don't require me to be in a specific place, maybe like some admin work wherever you have larger chunks of time you want to schedule in the important work that takes a lot of focus. For me, that might be the time that I spend making actual art and the smaller gaps, the work that can get done faster or isn't as important like this Wednesday morning here where I only have an hour and a half, maybe this is where I'll spend time working on my social media. Pro tip: include your commute time in your work schedule that way you don't accidentally schedule side hustle work into the time when you actually need to be driving to your job. If you're too tired to work, try energy blocking. If you have the privilege of flexibility in your schedule, then take advantage of it. When are you most productive? Mornings? Nights? Block off that time in your calendar to dedicate to your most important tasks. If you're a parent, your only chance to be productive might be during school or nap time, guard those hours at all costs. Don't get sucked into busy work during that time, do your most impactful work then. Remember, this is your job. Don't let other people take over your work time. Don't answer calls from friends and do your chores at another time. This is the time when your mood is at its best, when your brain is most active. Those are the times that you can maybe get twice as much done as you could in the afternoons when you're having your afternoon slump. For example, I do all my brainpower heavy work the first three hours of my morning. Writing scripts for classes is something I do in the mornings because it really requires all of my brain. In the afternoons, I hit an afternoon slump so that's when I schedule any meetings. I actually also draw in the afternoons because drawing doesn't take a lot of my energy or brainpower, it's very easy. An important note on energy, my energy comes in waves. If I have an insanely productive day, I'm almost always guaranteed to struggle to get things done the next day. I've heard lots of people talk about this, so I don't think I'm alone in it. I plan to have patience with myself the next day and be grateful for a day of intense productivity when those days do happen. If days slip by and you never seem to get your important work done, try, do one thing. Do the most important, most difficult task first thing when you sit down to work in the morning. Don't check email first. Don't check social media. This way if you do your most important thing in the morning, there's no way that you can procrastinate or let the day just slip by. For most people, their willpower is at its highest in the mornings. This is a good chance to fight against your inclination to procrastinate. Even if the rest of your day goes totally off the rails, you will have done at least one important thing every day. Putting even a little bit of time every day towards your most important work will make a significant difference. It's much better than spending a ton of time on medium important things all day long. I mean, hey, maybe you're really good at answering every email that comes in right away but are you making progress towards your dreams? If emergencies are constantly interrupting your days, try the Eisenhower matrix. When emergencies drop in our lap, our instinct is to immediately jump into action. Often we don't pause to question if this is truly an emergency or if it just feels like one. When we feel rushed, it's hard to evaluate if something is important or merely time-sensitive. When our brains are rushed, they instinctively prioritize things that have a fast approaching deadline. Every email feels urgent, responding to text messages feels urgent, responding to social media feels urgent. These things are urgent and sometimes they're important, but sometimes they're not. If you find yourself letting unimportant tasks take over your day, try using the Eisenhower matrix to help you decide how to prioritize. Ask yourself, is this task urgent or important? If it's both, do it. If it's important but not urgent, schedule a time to work on it. If it's urgent but not important, see if you can delegate it. Can you ask your partner to make dinner tonight or book those concert tickets? Maybe you can use an app to do something for you, like having a social media scheduler to post your next post. If it's not urgent and not important, then maybe this is something you shouldn't do, period. Delete it from your to-do list. Remember, we can't do everything, we'll have to say no to some things to be able to say yes to others. If you have a hard time saying no because you feel obligated to someone, try reminding yourself of what you're going to be giving up by saying yes to babysitting your next door neighbors kids every single weekend. Finally, don't over schedule yourself, leave time in every day for true emergencies, just like if you're meeting a friend downtown. Yes, it only takes you ten minutes to drive there, but you also need to budget time to find parking. Kanban boards can be very helpful if you have a lot of projects going on or if you're working with teams of other people and you need to wait for them before you can move forward with your part on a project. Here's how a Kanban board works, you make a column for each of the stages. In our case, the stages are to-do, working, waiting, and done. Each sticky note is a single project that I am working on. These are prints and illustrations and some is a podcast. When I am working on a project, I will put it into the working column. Now eventually, I'll need to send one of these off to a client for approval. Either they will come back and say, hey, you need to make a revision on this or it'll be approved and I can move it into the done tab. In the meantime, I can't work on that, but I can work on all of the things that are on the rest of my daily working task. When I get feedback from the client, I'll move it back into the working tab. Now, here's an important point: there is a limit to the amount of projects that I can work on. So you might want to write a number up here, say, like two or three depending on how many projects that you can actually do in a single day. Maybe for me, I can do sketches on this one in the morning, and I can work on this one in the afternoon, and this one in the afternoon as well. That is up to you to decide how many you can feasibly do at one time. If I get feedback, let's say I am working on these three projects, and I get feedback from a client on this print, either this is going to have to move into the to-do list, back into the schedule, or if the deadline is tight, I may need to take one of these and move it back into the to-do versus what I'm actually working on. Of course, once a print is done or a project is done, I can move it back into the done tab, and when I see that I've got space left in this area here for working on it, I can add more things. Now, maybe you can only work on two things at a time, maybe you can actually work on three. Well, what you can do is you can make this column shorter. I just used washi tape for this, and I'm just going to put this as the bottom of that tab. I can have 15 projects in my waiting area and my to-do list, but I can only work on two at a time. This combine method can be extremely helpful for visualizing and managing your workload. You can do it with sticky notes on a wall or you can use a digital app like Trello or Asana. I've created a list of digital apps in the resources tab, which you can reference. Do you struggle with balancing a wide variety of projects over really long amounts of time? Airtable method has really helped me. Do you have 15 different projects going on and they all have wildly different deadlines and some of those projects take way more work than others? It can be really challenging to figure out what to prioritize. The airtable method has really helped me and it's helped me deal with shifting priorities. A quick note, this template is available for my newsletter subscribers. If you want to grab this template and use it for yourself, you can find a link in the projects and resources tab, and you can customize it to exactly how you want it or use it exactly as it is. What is airtable? Airtable is essentially Excel spreadsheets for people who are bad at Excel. I can make a list of all of the projects I'm working on and then sort it into a variety of useful views or visualizations. I'm going to start by just showing you the entire list. These are all the projects that I've got going on right now. First, we'll start with a simple list of all the products I'm working on. In this column, I list every single project that I'm working on. Then, in the columns beside it, I have the client, the date completed, and the due date. Some of these projects have specific hard deadlines and some of them are just ongoing and I've just left them blank. But most importantly, we've got the size of the project and the priority of the project. What do I mean by the size of the project? The size is how long this project is going to take me, the time commitment it's going to take for me to finish. For example, writing a book is a huge time commitment that will take several months, whereas creating a single illustration for a client, that's probably a medium task because it'll take me maybe a week or less. Something like doing a podcast interview is a really small project because that's something that will take only a single day or afternoon, a very small amount of time. Understanding how much time something will take is crucial to understanding how to prioritize it, how much time you need to dedicate to working on it. The other important column here is the priority of the projects. When you have those 15 different projects going on and they all have different deadlines and some of them take more work than others, this is where this priority magic really is going to come in. What I'm going to do is I'm going to switch to a view of these sorted by priority. Now, I know that this week my first priority is this illustration and this interview, and then when those two are finished, because they're on my highest priority, then I need to focus on working on my shop and writing this book. All of this other stuff down here, this is all important too, but it's less important than these things up here. Now, how do I decide what gets high priority versus low priority? Well, I know that I've got a short deadline on this client illustration. Let's say this one needs to get done this week, so that's a really high priority. I have to finish that this week. Same with the podcast, that's a hard deadline, so these deadlines force this into the highest priority. Now, this book deadline, let's say it's a year away, and you might be tempted to say, oh, that's a really low priority, I have a whole year to work on it. Well, writing a book takes months, so although it's not urgent, if I don't put the work in now, I won't be able to finish it in a year, so this book project is actually a medium priority, not a low priority. I need to work on it a little bit at least every day. Now, what's really cool is that I can change the priority at any time. Let's say for some reason the deadline on this changes and suddenly I need to get it done this week, well boom, I've switched it to high and it'll just sort up into this high priority category. Let's say that this project gets postponed for some reason. Well, I can just switch that down to low and boom, now it's further down on the list. I get really overwhelmed when I have a whole bunch of different client projects going on at the same time, and this method has been really helpful for me to visually see if I need to tell a client that, I don't have space in my schedule to take on a new project. If I don't have any space, I can ask them, hey, if your deadline isn't urgent, maybe we can work on this next month, but if it is, maybe I just need to say no to this project. Now, if priorities aren't a useful sorting option for you, you can also group projects by their size. I've created a group here sorting everything by its size. These are big projects. They are projects that take months of time, and here's some projects that only take a little bit of time and some that take a very small amount of time. You can customize air to do all kinds of different things. You can add different columns, you can add whatever is useful information for you with this stuff. But finally, I have also added this completed or canceled date. What's really useful about this is let's say that a project gets completed or canceled and all I have to do is say like, oh, this got canceled and boom, now it has disappeared, which is awesome. Now, sometimes projects that we think are finished or we think are done, they actually come back, so it's really helpful. I have a completed projects tab here. Here is this thing and you know what, actually this isn't canceled after all, so you just come in here and I delete where it says canceled, and boom, now that that field is empty, it's brought it back into my schedule right here, so now I have it back. Again, if you want to grab this template for yourself, check out the link in the resources tab. In this lesson, we learned about different methods for helping you manage your time. We went over scheduling work time blocks in a calendar, scheduling work when you have the most energy, doing your most important task first, the Eisenhower matrix, using Kanban boards, and the Airtable method. I want to remind you that I don't use all of these methods all at the same time. I've used different methods when I've had different challenges. Please don't feel like you need to use all of these methods. Use the ones that make sense for you and the challenges that you face right now, and if things change, you can switch it up. 5. Building Habits That Stick: How to make things we want to do automatic habits. Habits are the things you do without thinking about it, without having to put the effort into doing them. If we can make habits out of the things that we want to do, it will make our lives a whole lot easier. Imagine, when you come home from work, instead of sitting down on the couch and flipping the TV on, you automatically grabbed your pencil and paper and started drawing. Sounds awesome, right? But maybe a little unrealistic. Well, yes, it takes a little bit of work upfront to make habits out of the things that you want, but it can be done, and understanding how we make habits can help you a lot. Here's how habits work. An event happens that triggers you into wanting to do your habit. Once you do the habit, you experience a reward, which motivates you to want to do the habit again when the reminder event happens again. For example, our phone buzzes, that's the reminder event, and we automatically pick it up to check Instagram or texts, emails, or other notifications. That's the habit. We are rewarded with a good feeling because we see more people have liked our post, that's the reward, and we're encouraged to pick up our phones again when they buzz. It becomes automatic and we don't even think about it, we just do it, even if we're at a lunch date with our friend. Understanding how this system works means that we can hack it to help us build habits of the things that we want to do. Here's how; attach your habit to an event trigger that already happens in your life. This could be like your morning coffee, or when you come home and hang up your keys, or the time after lunch. For example, you could say, after I make my morning coffee, I will draw for five minutes or I will write my to-do list. To make your habit more likely to stick, it needs to feel rewarding either during the task itself or immediately afterwards. Now, some of the tasks we want to do don't come with immediate gratification, so you'll want to create a reward to keep you motivated to stick with it. You might not find it immediately satisfying to create your to-do list, but it is really satisfying to cross something off your to-do list. After your morning coffee, when you write your to-do list, always be sure to put something on that list that you can cross off, perhaps it's make a daily to-do list. A powerful technique for building lots of good habits is called habit stacking, and it's described by James Clear in his amazing book, Atomic Habits. The idea is to attach a second habit to the end of your last one, and then you do it again. So it could look like this; when you get home from work, you'll change into your painting clothes. When you change into your painting clothes, you'll go to your studio and paint for an hour. When the hour is up, you'll clean all your brushes before you change out of your painting clothes so that you'll be able to start the next day without having to set up. That first habit, putting on your painting clothes can lead to a whole streak of other good choices. Now, it can be smart to start small and slowly layer on as the first habit becomes an easy part of your life. What you don't want to do is burn yourself out by trying to do too much at the same time. To recap, a habit is made of a trigger event, the habit itself, and a reward. To create habits that stick, you'll want to supplement or create for yourself any of those stages that don't naturally exist. In the Project section, share the habit you want to create and what steps you can take to make it stick more easily. 6. Curate an Environment for Success: Creating an environment that helps you succeed. Every Christmas, my step mom, Linda, makes about eight different types of the most mouth-watering cookies you've ever had. While I'm pretty good at moderating my sweets intake during the rest of the year, when there's cookies out on the counter for days on end, I eat a lot more cookies. Even though I told myself I won't, I eat several every single day. What makes the difference between Christmas time and the rest of the year? The cookies are out on the table all day long for a week, whereas the rest of the year, they're tucked away in a cupboard. I don't have any better willpower or self-discipline or self-control the rest of the year. The only difference is that I've designed my life so that the snacks that are easily visible on the counter are healthy instead of unhealthy. The choice is just way easier because I'm not even thinking of the cookies in the cupboard. That's what we want to do with your environment. We want to design it so it's easier for you to do the things that you want to do, to be more productive, and harder to do the things that you wish you didn't waste your time on. We naturally gravitate towards the option that takes the least amount of effort. We want to make it as effortless as possible to do the important work that you need to do. Maybe that means that you need a space for drawing with all the supplies out and ready to go, or a corner that's always set up for you to do photo shoots. If you always go to Netflix instead of working on your side hustle, sign out from Netflix so that it takes you longer to mindlessly turn on a show or put the remote in difficult to reach spot. How our spaces affect our actions, behavior, and memory. Having a dedicated workspace is even more powerful than just making it easier to get down to work. The spaces and places that we inhabit affect our actions, behaviors, and even our memories. Look, we instinctively whisper whenever we're in a church, while we might yell out loud at a park or a concert venue. Even if we're with the same group of friends, we behave differently depending on the spaces that we're in. If you can create a workspace, you can help train your brain to associate that space with doing your work thing, which can help you feel like you're getting down into work when you get in that space. It's just a good little cycle there where you're just thinking about work anytime that you're in that space. It's the same way that people who struggle to sleep they're told, ''Hey don't watch TV in bed, don't play with your phone in bed. Only used the bed for when you're sleeping.'' The same can be really helpful for your workspace. You don't want to play games in the workspace when you need to take a break. Maybe you should try moving to a chair or a couch. I'm not saying you can't take a break to surf the Internet or play a game, but try not to do it in your workspace. You want to train your brain to think of the bed as the sleep space and nothing else. We want to do the same thing with our workspaces. This is why people who work from home can really struggle when they're trying to work at the kitchen table or the couch. You're used to relaxing and doing home life things in those spaces. It's difficult to get down to work in them because a lot of this instinct to do those homey or relaxing activities, you're like, I'm on the couch, I'm suppose to relax right now instead of be writing this essay. But just like the insomniac who has to build the new idea of the bed only being a space for sleep, it doesn't happen overnight. It can take a little bit of time. If you're used to using your workspace for something else, it might take a little while to train your brain to think of that space in a new way. That's okay if it doesn't happen overnight. Just trust that this is a process that does work. We're building new connections in our brains here. Also, here's an interesting tidbit about spaces and memory in our brains. Studies have shown that we have a strong memory connection to spaces and locations. I mean, have you ever walked into a new room and gone, ''What the heck did I come in here for?'' then gone back to the room that you're in to help yourself remember? Your brain super correlates location and memory. It's why people often ask, ''Hey, do you remember where you were when 9/11 happened?" Or any other historical events. It's just super connected in our brains. Sometimes we don't have the option of having the best possible space for our work. If you absolutely can't set aside a space for your work, one thing that can help you get into that work mode is to create a routine or simulate a commute that helps your brain switch into work mode. Perhaps for you that's making a cup of tea or turning on a work playlist, or taking a walk around the block before sitting down. That routine or commute can help you get into the work headspace. Curate your space. Curating a space that you feel inspired can also be incredibly helpful to productivity. I want you to make that environment enjoyable. Personally, I like to have a light bright, colorful space. Having things around me that inspire me, makes me feel good to sit down and do some long work. I hate having a messy space. But whatever it is that makes your space feel comfortable, exciting, and invigorating to you, make it that way as much as you can. Make it easy. Buy a backup set of paints so when you run out of white paint, you don't have to wait to go to the store to keep painting. Clean your space at the end of the night so it's easy to get started the next day when you get off work. You probably won't feel like cleaning up after you've gone to your day job. Either remove the distractions, the temptations, or make them less easy to access. Leave your phone in another room, delete the distracting apps, or turn off the WiFi and data. Put your phone on grayscale, put the TV in the closet for a month while you finished a big project. If you find yourself constantly go into the kitchen and making snacks, then pre-make your lunch at night so that you won't be tempted to waste time making fancy long, drawn out lunches. Prepackage some snacks if you still find yourself snacking. Can you identify one easy fast thing that you can do each time that you sit down to work? Is there something that will only take a couple of minutes to do so you won't be tempted to put it off. That one task can also be like a cue to help you get down to work. An environment of social support. When my dad survived his heart attack, the doctor told him it was critical that he changed his diet and exercise habits. He also warned him that often people who survive heart attacks go back to their old lifestyles within the following year. Those people do not lack the motivation to change their habits. Their lives depend on it. But without external support, it can be extremely difficult to change your routines and habits, even if you have the best of intentions. Gretchen Rubin in her book, The Four Tendencies, talks about different folks who are motivated in different ways. There's upholders who generally meet both inner expectations and outer expectations. Those people really care about making sure that if somebody expects something of them, they're going to do it. But also if they expect something of themselves, they're going to do it. Those people thrive under routines and schedules. Then there's questioners, who are folks like me. Questioners really only meet inner expectations. They don't do something just because somebody expects it to them unless it makes sense. If it's arbitrary, why would they do it? Folks like me are likely not to do New Year's resolutions because New Year's is just a random date. I like to set my goals when it makes sense to my life, my business, my schedule. People like me need a reason. We won't be motivated to do something just because we should. If I know what impact finishing this work will have, I'll be much more willing to do it. Questioners may also suffer from analysis paralysis. I spend far too much time in research mode and not enough time in action mode. If you're a questioner, you may also have to put deadlines on the amount of research and questioning that you're allowed to do. Now, a lot of folks are actually obligers. Obligers meet outer expectations, but not always inner ones. They usually need an external force, somebody who is holding them accountable. If you find that you can't hold deadlines just because you've set them yourself, you're not alone. You just need someone to expect something of you. Joining an exercise class would help you, getting an accountability buddy or pairing up with someone on a project and knowing that the other person can't finish their half of the project until you finish yours, that can be really motivating for you. You don't need to develop more willpower. You need to find ways to get other expectations put on you so that you can create the motivation to do those things. Alternatively, if you are an obliger, you may need to squash down some other expectations that others are putting on you that are preventing you from working on the things that are really important to you. Sometimes you might find yourself getting involved in things that you really don't want to, which prevent you from having to do the things that you do. The last group are rebels, and they basically resist both inner and outer expectations and they really value authenticity and self-determination. They're going to do what they want to do, in the way that they want to do it, when they want to do it. If you're a rebel, you might care about your reputation. You might want to remind yourself that accomplishing this task or doing this thing is going to affect your reputation. That might be a way to help you motivate yourself. But I'm sure you'll find a way to motivate yourself because you know what's up, you don't need somebody to tell you what to do. Okay. In summary, for your project, I want you to share a photo of your workspace. Even if you're working out of the bedroom closet, share it with us. Maybe you'll inspire someone who's also got limited space to at least dedicate some space for themselves. 7. Win a Year of Skillshare: Want to win a year of Skillshare? To celebrate the launch of this class, I'm giving away two memberships. To enter, all you have to do is post a project in the class. You can post a photo of your workspace or a photo of your dream studio, you can share your goals for this year, you can share the things that help most with your productivity or any of the exercises from any of the lessons. It can be whatever you want. You just need to post a project. The deadline to enter is January 31st, 2021. The winner is going to be chosen at random and I'll announce the winner in the discussions tab of this class. I'm excited to hear from you and I'm especially excited to see your workspaces. I love seeing other artist's workspaces and the clever ways that people make space for their creative work. 8. Productivity Shortcuts: Tricks to Get Ahead Faster: Productivity hacks to help you get further with less effort. Besides creating good habits and systems, keeping your self-motivated and undistracted, there are a few concepts that I've helped me supercharge my productivity and I want to share them with you here. Think insanely big. What if you had to accomplish your biggest dreams in six months? Let's say you're a filmmaker. Imagine there was a time bomb hidden under New York City that could only be stopped if you won an Oscar, and those Oscars are only six months away. What could you do to achieve that goal? Maybe you could find some obscure connection that you have to a famous actor and convince them to join. You probably need to decide to be very daring with your subject of matter because after all, it needs to be something that's worthy of an Oscar. There's a lot of research on how things go viral. Maybe that could inform what you make your film about. Maybe you would make it a short film because full features take a lot longer to make. The point of this thought exercise is not to convince you to try and achieve your 10-year plans in six months. The point is when you think this insanely big, you have to come up with radically different ideas and approaches to achieving those dreams. You're more open to crazy ideas, stuff that you might have never even thought of or considered. Yeah, you may not win an Oscar this year, but maybe this thought exercise will encourage you to take some of those gutsier or moves that you might have otherwise been too scared to do. Go on, reach out to that famous actor or the big client, or apply that Illustration Award competition. You can also use this thought exercise on a smaller, more realistic scale too. If the ideal conditions were met in a dream scenario, maybe your dream could happen in six months. What would need to happen? Can you create some of those serious shortcuts? What would it be like if this was easy? Are you making a task harder than it needs to be? We can get obsessive about doing things perfectly. In doing so, we often over-complicate things. Let's say you want to start selling your adorable a handmade mugs. You spend a week researching if you should do Etsy or Shopify, or maybe you should save money by coding your own WordPress site. You spend a week researching copy writing an email marketing because you heard that's the best way to sell. This project quickly became insanely involved and you got overwhelmed and maybe you quit after trying to do this with two mugs. Instead of over-complicating it, what would selling your adorable handmade mugs be like if it was easy? Maybe you could just put them on Instagram because you love using the platform and you're really good at it. You could tell people to DM you to claim a mug and then send them a PayPal request. Yeah, one day you'll probably want to get a website, but maybe you can get started faster this way and actually earn the money for your website by selling your mugs now instead of six months from now. You don't have to do things perfectly when you start, you will improve over time. When I'm feeling overwhelmed or I'm dreading a task, I'll ask myself, okay, what would this be like if it was easy? I used to spend hours scouring the Internet for pose references to draw. Then I realized I could just take a photo of myself in the pose that I wanted instead of trying to find it on the Internet. Compare notes with people in your industry. Every creative market is different. The challenges, nuances, for pose, and potential shortcuts are unique to each industry. You can save yourself endless amounts of time by getting advice from people in your field. There's nothing like a mentor who gets it and can give you advice on how to avoid pitfalls they've already made. You might not have access to the most successful people in your industry. Heck, they might be dead. But that doesn't mean you can't learn from your role models. If you're a filmmaker, watch DVD commentaries from directors you admire. If you're a comedian, watch every interview you can find with Dave Chappelle or Steve Martin. Want to start an animation company? Read every biography you can on Walt Disney. There are countless podcasts out there with amazing artists talking all about what they do, learn from them. But if you can, get yourself a real life mentor. Now, straight up asking someone that you don't know, "Hey, will you please give me advice and care about me and help me out?" It probably won't work very well for you. But you can try to build a relationship with your dream mentors by offering them help in any way that you can. If an artist is coming to give a talk in your area, offer to pick them up from the airport, offer to help them set up for a trade show, start a podcast and offer to promote their latest project with an interview. Before podcasts were a thing, designer May Grace created a series of five-minute interviews called Humble Pied. He asked creative professionals a single question. What one piece of advice would they give people just starting out on their creative journeys? It was a genius way to connect with people he admired. A five-minute interview from the comfort of their own office was much easier to say yes too, instead of agreeing to an hour long coffee or lunch. If you can't get a mentor, just make friends in the same industry. Compare notes and help each other out. Creative friends are an excellent resource and can save you endless amounts of time. Compare notes with a creative friend on how to best bake your fancy clay pins. You can save yourself 10 hours of trial and error by getting their advice for the right temperature and length to bake them. Jump sideways. Author Shane Snow tells a brilliant story of how he went from being an unpublished writer to writing for The New Yorker. As a brand new author, Shane pitched the story to the editor of Wired Magazine and was encouraged to reach out again after Shane had gotten a few more years of experience. Instead, Shane thought what credentials would Wired want to see from an author before they published them? Probably, they'd want to know that I'd worked for a publication that was similar to them. Maybe it would be okay if it was a lesser known but similar publication. He knew he probably didn't have enough experience to land a gig with the next publisher down from Wired, so he looked for the publisher that was most likely to work with a brand new author. As soon as he got a few pieces published from that small blog, he reached out to a slightly more well-known blog and from there, he used his experience to jump to the next magazine and then the next magazine. Within six months, he was able to use all those experiences to write for Wired Magazine. Eventually, he was able to write for The New Yorker. Instead of applying as an intern and slowly working his way up into the company, he was able to shortcut his path to becoming a well published author. But what's really fascinating is what Shane did after that. He wanted to start his own media company. Instead of starting at the bottom all over again or spending years saving money, he was able to use the credibility of working with the New Yorker to persuade investors to fund him millions of dollars to start his own publishing business. The lesson here is, how can you jump sideways? You don't have to start at the bottom of the totem pole if you want to switch careers. How can you use the experience that you already have to get you an in with the next thing that you want to do? If you spent time growing your social media following around making pottery but now you want to start making illustrations, maybe you don't need to start a whole new Instagram profile or a separate business. Maybe the people who are already interested in your pottery will also be interested in your illustrations. Look for ways to amplify your efforts. Write the waves of a trend or a movement. If you're watching this class when it's been newly released, it's around the new year. It's not a coincidence that I'm timing this class right now. More people are interested in productivity in and around the new year. Are there trends or movements that you can use to gain more attention for your work? Look for those. It's why new people jump on new social media features. When Instagram releases a new feature, they promote people who use it early on. It's a fantastic way to use the same amount of effort and get more results from the work that you're doing. Unfinished business. There's this sciency thing called Newton's law of motions. I'm not a scientist, but the idea is that it says, when an object's in motion, it's not going to stop unless something stops it. So an object isn't going to stop falling from the sky until it hits the ground. We can use this for our own motivation. If you've ever experienced the nagging sensation of, I I forget something? It's often because you started something and then didn't finish it. Our brains are obnoxiously good at that. We can also use this to our advantage. In her book, The Creative Habit, dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp, described how she got herself to the gym to stay in dancer shape. She said it was easy because the only effort that she had to put in was to walk downstairs and hail a cab to drive her to the gym. Once she was in the cab, it wasn't like she wasn't going to go to the gym. Once she was in the gym, it wasn't like she wasn't going to change it to her workout gear. Once she changed into our workout gear, it's not like she wasn't going to do a warm-up stretch. Then of course, well, now she may as well do the workout. The first effort where she just needed to get the whole habit in motion, all she really had to do was go and hail the cab. She didn't have to convince herself to go work out. All she had to do was say, I'm going downstairs and I'm going to hail a cab. Perhaps you can make your own version of this by just drawing a couple of I's to start off your drawing session. It's very low effort, but you may find that you don't want to quit without drawing a nose and a mouth too. Avoid the competition. One year, I want to give away of a fully cooked Thanksgiving dinner. When you think you're competing with more people, you think you have less chance to win, so you unconsciously don't perform as well. When you think there's only a few people competing for something, you work harder because you know that your chances are way better. Not everyone is willing to do hard boring work necessary to see success. If you spot a situation like that where there's going to be less competition because the barrier of entry is really high, that might be a good sweet spot for you to try. How did I win that turkey dinner? Well, I was asked to fill out a survey to enter a drawing. Halfway through the survey, I realized I'd spend, I don't know, 15 minutes filling it out. I was like, there is no way people are going to fill out this entire survey. People are probably going to quit. But if I keep going, there's probably not a lot of people who are going to finish this survey. I was right, because I won. The 80/20 rule. Want to achieve more by working less? Then you're going to love the 80/20 theory. You've probably heard of it. The idea is, the majority of our results come from a minority of our efforts. Let's say you sell five different products in your Etsy store, but you're hilarious printed socks make you the most money. Instead of spending most of your time and resources to develop new stickers or find new products, it might be more worthwhile to spend most of your effort creating more socks. Another example is, perhaps you're determined to save money by doing taxes yourself. But you end up spending two weeks trying to figure out how to do your taxes and only two days trying to land that big new client. You're spending 80 percent of your efforts to save yourself the money of hiring a tax specialist. But that new client would probably make up for the extra costs and then some. I find myself using the 80/20 principle in all kinds of different areas of my life. Are there places where you're wasting your efforts? Can you figure out what 20 percent of things that you are really good at and then spend 80 percent of your time doing that to help grow your business? Then outsource the things that you're not so good at. In summary, we talked about thinking big, making tasks easier, mentors and creative friends, jumping sideways, the power of unfinished tasks, the perks of avoiding competition, and the 80/20 rule. In the projects tab, share the tip that you think will help you the most. 9. For the Workaholics: How not to be a workaholic and stay productive. As a former workaholic, I was guilty of working all the time and rarely taking weekends. My attitude was money doesn't grow on trees and if I want something that's going to take blood, sweat, and tears to get there, I can sleep when I'm dead. But I can tell you that that didn't work very well for me, and I now make much more meaningful progress on my work, and I work less. The reason I get more work done is because I've learned how to take appropriate rests and breaks to keep me at peak productivity. Those negative attitudes towards work often led me feeling really guilty. I worried I wasn't good enough or I wasn't being productive enough, and getting in those negative mental ruts would get me down emotionally. I'd struggle to feel inspired because I just felt bad, guilty, or not worthy, and that would lead to me feeling physically worn out and tired, and it's just impossible to get things done when your body needs rest. Yet when I'm in a good mental headspace, I think about how my art or classes will help people, how my next project could bring so much joy to people or how proud I am of myself for doing the work I'm doing. When I'm in that headspace focusing on those things, my work excels. I have way more creative ideas, I'm more excited to tackle new things, and get outside of my comfort zone, and I work faster. When I feel like I don't have time to take breaks or take care of myself, I have to remind myself that when I don't take care of my mental health and my physical body and my emotional needs, that's when my work suffers the most. So take care of yourself workaholics. Know that you'll be as productive as possible when you are. Build social time into your schedule, being completely isolated isn't good for your mental health. Exercising is important and it creates endorphins which can energize you to get more work done. Drink your water, eat well. Look, a race car driver wants their car in the best possible condition because that's when it performs best. Treat your mind and body the same way. It's important to remember, it's normal to have different levels of productivity at different times in our lives. There are times in our lives where it is not reasonable to get as much done as we used to. Having a baby, losing a loved one, caring for a sick family member, moving, all of these huge life events require more of our attention and energy. The importance of sleep. The author of why we sleep is a sleep scientist, and he was giving a talk and afterwards a pianist came to him and told him that he would often struggle with a new, difficult, technically challenging piece in the evening and he wouldn't be able to play it, but the next morning, he would simply be able to play it without effort when he couldn't the night before. What we're learning about sleep is that in the night, our brain is able to build new pathways. Sleep helps us in so many ways. It helps us with our memories, it heals emotional traumas, it creates new creative connections in our brains, and it helps our bodies heal. If you've ever tried to work when you're physically ill, you know that it can just be impossible. So sleep is really something that you need to prioritize. Have you ever noticed how many amazing ideas you get while you're in the shower or how brilliant solutions to your problems come up in the middle of cooking dinner? Sometimes when we take a break, we can stop fixating on doing the things the one way that we know it's supposed to be done. When our brains are relaxed, they can make more creative connections and you'll likely discover there's a totally different option that solves all of your problems that you wouldn't have discovered before. I actually use this take a break tactic a lot. When I'm feeling stuck on a project, I'll put it aside and I'll move to working on something else. When I come back to that project later that day or the next, I find it way easier to come up with creative solutions. This is why it's valuable to take lunch breaks, to take weekends and real vacations, taking those breaks even when you feel like you should be working through them can leave you more recharged. When you approach your work refreshed, you can do a lot more in a shorter amount of time. Now, when we're talking about giving ourselves breaks and taking rest, there's some forms of relaxation that are like eating candy for dinner. Taking a break to scroll through Instagram often leaves me feeling like I just ate too much candy. But watching funny animal videos always leaves me feeling recharged. Being to watching a TV series makes me feel gross, but going for a walk around my neighborhood, always leaves me inspired. What works for you will be different than what works for me. But it might help you to make a list of the things that leave you truly feeling refresh so that you can refer back to it because when we are at the point where we need to take a break, we often just grab the most easy, most immediately dopamine heating device which is often our phones or often the TV. If you have a list, you'll be more likely to choose something that will truly recharge your batteries rather than something that doesn't really do it. When to take breaks. You can use the Pomodoro Technique to help you take breaks before you get burnt out. The Pomodoro Technique is where you set a timer, traditionally for 45 minutes, and then when the timer finishes, you set it again for 5-15 minutes to take a short break. After that break, you reset the timer and go back into another 45 minutes of work. Depending on the task, you may want to do shorter or longer work sessions, and if you have trouble concentrating, a 25-minute session might be best for you. I found that I can usually only do a 50-minute work session before I need to take a brief break. If I'm doing creative work, I can easily do a three hour chunk of work, but I still need to take three little breaks to stretch or get a drink of water. In the Resources tab I've got a link to my favorite free online Pomodoro Timer which you can customize for yourself. Also, if you're like me, sometimes you dive really deep into long projects and you might work really hard for extended periods of time, maybe even a couple of weeks. But when you do that, make sure that you take serious long breaks after that work is done. Make sure that you are recharging your batteries. For me, if I work on a project and it takes several weeks, I will take several weeks off after that. The dangers of being busy. If you're a workaholic, you're probably familiar with the feeling that you don't have enough time. Look, we all have the same amount of time in the day, we just don't all have the same commitments. So are you over committing yourself? Are you letting your time get filled with things that aren't really important but feel like they are? Or are you not saying no to the things you don't want to do because you feel a social obligation. Here's a problem. When we feel like we're too busy or we don't have enough time, our brains get a little bit in panic mode and they start to prioritize things that are time-sensitive, that feel urgent instead of the most important or impactful work. Let's say that you're a fine artist. The thing that would get you ahead most in your career is working on your series of abstract paintings. But you keep getting e-mails from colleagues about this cool promotion sale that they're doing, do you want to join in but we need stuff from you by the end of the day. It's a great opportunity and because it's time-sensitive and urgent, you jump into action right away. But if you keep letting those little time-sensitive things keep popping up, and you keep prioritizing them instead of the groundbreaking artistic work that would really rocket your career to the next level, well, it's a problem. The thing is, people who see themselves as busy are more apt to do this. When we feel busy, we rush around in panic mode. We make more mistakes, we don't think clearly, we feel awful, but we don't want to run around just putting out fires. What we want to do is make meaningful progress towards our dreams. If you feel like I'm so busy, I don't have enough time, how does it feel to instead say, I am making time for XYZ instead. Does it feel more empowering? Like you could have more control over the things you choose to do and not do? If you find yourself letting unimportant tasks take over your day, ask yourself one, is this task urgent or important? If it's both, you have to deal with it right away. But if it's only urgent, decide if it's more important than the important things you need to do. You can't do everything. Some things are going to slip through the cracks or you may need to say no to some things. Two, try scheduling time for those urgent, non-important things like e-mail. I don't check my e-mails all day long, only at specific times throughout the day. Can't manage to stop yourself? You might find it helpful to use a website blocker like LeechBlock or Freedom. Screen time on your iPhone or iPad can help too. Three, set aside your most productive 2-4 hours every day for your most important work so that you know that you are spending time, at least doing that. How to disengage as a workaholic. Great. You know you should relax, but that doesn't stop you from feeling guilty when you're not working or feeling bad, like you're not getting enough things done. Well, a couple of things here. One, I bet you weren't as lazy and ineffective during the day as you thought you were. At least, I know I'm not. Our brains are built to ignore what's been accomplished, what we've already done, it makes sense. You don't need to keep track of the things you've done, you need to keep track of the things that you need to do. While that's really good for getting things done, it's terrible for our sense of morale. We immediately forget all the hard work that we put into the day. All we can remember is the hard work that's ahead of us, the things that we haven't yet done, and we completely discredit what we have done. What I've done to help me with this is the end of the day review. I just take two minutes and I write down everything that I accomplished that day. I make sure that I say the things that I checked off on my to-do list, but I also write down, hey, what are the emergencies or the things that popped up, the things that I didn't have on my list, but I did get done. This little reminder of, hey, I put in a full effort for this day, not only makes me feel better about myself, but it also gives me permission that, hey, it's okay, you can stop working for the day and relax. Two, having a hard end time for the day. I have work hours and I'm not allowed to check my e-mail outside of them. As a workaholic, it's a slippery slope to start checking your e-mail in the evening and then you're just going to do one more thing and that just spirals really quickly into an evening of work. If the goal is to relax, you've got to put limits on what you're allowed to do. Now maybe for you that is the mornings instead of the evenings, maybe your relax time is in the morning. But hey, if you're a workaholic, you should probably be good at scheduling things in. You know what? Schedule in that downtime. Number 3. I take two days off in a row. It may not be the weekend, but I do give myself a actual weekend. As someone who is extremely invested in their work, I find that the first day of my weekend it can be hard for me to truly relax. I'm still thinking about the work, I'm having the urge to check my e-mail and sometimes I am still feeling guilty about not working. By by the time this second day rolls around, my body and my mind are much more geared into, this is downtime, this is relaxation time. If I didn't take both days off, I don't think that I would properly unwind. Four, since sleep is so important to my productivity, I am really protective of that time. I do not allow myself to check my e-mail in bed either in the evenings or the morning. I do not allow myself to use social media in bed. Why? Well, one, I'm not bringing work to bed with e-mail and while social media isn't always about work, I also find myself comparing myself to others when I'm on social media, which makes me feel like I need to do more, to be more, and I'm trying to protect that relaxation sleep time. So I don't want to put those kind of thoughts and judgments in my head when I'm in my sleeping space. Is it worth doing? The myth of, I'll be happy when I have XYZ. When we reach our goals, we get a temporary boost in happiness but then we quickly go right back down to our normal levels. Sometimes even in a matter of hours. You think you'll be happy when you have so many social media followers and that can be true, but only for a little while. You think when I go full time with my art, then I'll be happy, then I'll feel content. When you go full time, you are for a little bit. Then you start to worry oh but what if I can't keep all of my clients, what if I have to go back to my day job? I'll be happy when I have a full year of salary save then I'll feel secure. We work really hard for that and when we get there, we worry, oh but I'm not doing cool enough work. All the other cool artists won't think anything of me until I have the coolest client list and so I'll be happy when I have this specific client and then the cycle just continues. There's a few things that you can do to fight this. One, set smaller goals so that you more often experience that boost in happiness, that glorious bump and dopamine. Yeah, it'll still be temporary, but you'll experience more of them more often. Two, celebrate with other people. When you have someone to celebrate with, that feeling of happiness last longer and you'll be happier because humans are social creatures and we really feel happy when we're more deeply connected with each other. Number 3, enjoy the process. Don't just make posts on social media to grow your follower count. Enjoy the process of connecting with more people. Don't just rush through making a piece of art to stick it in your portfolio. Enjoy the process of creating the art. Look, there's no point in being productive if you aren't enjoying what you're doing. It's your one life to live. Do the things that you want to do. If you can't enjoy where you are now, you won't enjoy what the next accomplishment brings you so try to enjoy the process. In summary, we talked about why self-care matters, how you perform better when your mental health is strong, how sleep and breaks make you more productive, the dangers of being busy, how to disengage as a workaholic, and the elusive chase of happiness. Remember, your project is to make a list of the activities that genuinely help you recharge your batteries. 10. Creating Motivation and Inspiration: Techniques to create motivation when you don't feel like you have any. It's easy to work when you feel motivated, but motivation can be really elusive; sometimes you don't feel inspired or motivated, but the work still needs to get done. Well, in this lesson, I'm going to share tips that have helped me drum up motivation when I didn't have any. Track your progress and results. The real reason social media is so addicting is that you get immediate results, you get a measurement of how successful your post was in the form of likes, comments, and shares, and that all happens in the matter of a few minutes; it's incredibly motivating, and it makes you want to post more. The trouble is, many of the more meaningful goals that we want to work on, they don't give us that same rapid feedback, it can take months to see the results and get our rewards for the hard work that we've done. One thing that we can do to help with this is to track our own progress, create our own measurements of success and there are a ton of creative ways to do this. When I was saving for my first art trade show, I knew it was going to take me months to save the money for the flights, the hotel, and the booth fee, so I created one of those thermometer charts and every time I got paid, I'd color in a section of the chart, and it was so exciting to see myself reach 25 percent, and then 50 percent, and then 75, and 100, I was really encouraged by seeing that progress, and I didn't feel so sad having to budget or skimp on going out. It's worth noting that I broke my thermometer into smaller sections. Let's say that my total goal was $5,000 and if I could only put $100 in that first paycheck, that would feel so discouraging; $100 towards $5,000 it's just nothing, it's barely a drop in the bucket, but it is meaningful progress towards that first $1,000. When I was doing Inktober, one of my favorite ways of tracking my progress was using the Screen Time feature on my iPad to tell me how many hours a day I drawn. Knowing I was spending way more time than average on drawing made me excited to keep the streak up the next day. Now, sometimes we don't like the idea of tracking ourselves because it can make us feel bad like we're not making enough progress. But if you've saved your first drawings, like from way back when before you even knew how to draw, you know how amazing it is to look back and say, "Wow, I have come such a long way." It's so helpful to look back and see where you've come from and see how far you've come. We get used to whatever standard we're already at. For example, if you are growing your social media audience, it can feel really easy to be like, "Aargh, I've just been at the same number of hours forever," and you forget how long it's taking you to make that much progress. Keeping track of that can make you feel more confident about how fast or slow you are actually making progress. Look, it's really easy to see where you've failed, but seeing progress it's not as obvious and it's really motivating. But what if you are unhappy with the progress you're getting? Well, you can either: One, adjust the overall goal, two, adjust the timeline, or three, adjust the actions that you take to get there. In our example with the fundraising, I reduced the overall goal into a smaller number to encourage my progress. If I wanted to track my social media progress, maybe I could measure my audience growth from month to month instead of day to day, I'd see significant more growth in my numbers if I compare it that way. If you feel like that's cheating remember, this is all about keeping you motivated because when you feel motivated, it's easy to do more. Of course, alternatively, you can always pump up your efforts to make progress towards your goals and see results faster. Lead and lag indicators. You have a lot more control over your actions than you do what your results are, so it can be helpful to track your results to see if your efforts are working, i.e. did you get as many new clients as you wanted this month? But you can't make anyone work with you, so you might find it more useful to keep track of the efforts that you put in, i.e. how many clients you reach out to or how creative your outreach efforts were. A fun measure of those efforts could be to have two jars, one empty and one full of colorful marbles. Every time you send a postcard out to an art director, you drop a marble into the empty jar, and you don't leave your desk until you've moved all the marbles from the empty jar and sent out all of your postcards. You can't lie to yourself when you see the results right in front of you visually. Are you putting in the work or are you not? Just like checking an item off of a to-do list, marking your habit can be satisfying as heck, it gives you that little dopamine boost and that feeds your motivation. A quick tip here is that when you track your progress, do it immediately after you've taken the action towards doing the thing; that way, that little dopamine rush is directly related to that habit, to you doing that task. We want to make those habits the things that you want to do instead of the other things that we used to procrastinate. Eventually, you may find that you don't need to keep keeping track of these things, you've already made a habit of it. I used to mark my workouts on a calendar, but I've been in the habit for so long now that I don't need to do that anymore, I don't want to miss my workouts anymore. Do a bad job. It's better to have a bad day than to skip it, better you do a crappy job and keep up your momentum than to skip it entirely. Why? Well, far too often people quit when they miss a day. Let's say you start a 30-day daily drawing challenge and you miss a day, there's a good chance that you're going to feel like you've already failed at the challenge so what's the point? Why keep going? But that means you are not missing out on one day of drawing, you are missing out on the last 10 days worth of drawing. Better that you draw a couple of stick figures real quick instead of skipping it. Look, it's fine to miss a single day, it's okay to break the streak as long as you immediately pick it back up. Don't miss it again, a second day. Successful artists don't quit when they fail, they pick themselves up and they try again. A word of warning. Numbers aren't everything and there's no point in comparing your numbers to someone else, you are in competition with your own life and being the best person that you can be, with the circumstances that you have, not what other people do. Fighting boredom and frustration by adding novelty. Machiavelli said, "Men desire novelty to such an extent that those who are doing well wish for a change as much as those who are doing badly." Yeah, I totally get that. One of my favorite tricks I use for keeping my motivation up is making things fun. A simple way, if you're able, is to work from a new location. Go to a coffee shop, if you've got the resources, book yourself at Airbnb in town and give yourself a weekend retreat to do your work. I'll go to my local library and reserve one of the free study rooms sometimes. Things get awfully dull when every day feels the same, so try breaking your days up. Perhaps for you, that means that you spend Mondays doing admin work and Tuesdays are for creative work, or perhaps that means that you do creative work in the mornings and you do admin work in the afternoons, and when you get bored, swap that out, switch the days, so that way it feels like a novelty to spend your afternoon doing creative work instead. Give yourself creative constraints. Tasks that are too easy can feel boring. Yeah, doing your accounting can be boring, but what if you had to type it all in with one hand tied behind your back. Now, it's a challenge to be conquered. Likewise, if a task is too hard, you'll feel like a failure and you'll want to quit, so break those hard tasks into smaller, no-brainer, bite-size tasks. Enjoy the process. Working on your goals doesn't have to be just blood, sweat, and tears. Yes, some athletes have to wake up at 5:00 AM to get their workouts in, they have to push themselves outside of their comfort zones. But those same athletes often talk about how lucky they feel to do what they do, maybe they've learned to appreciate the special stillness in the world that you only get at 5:00 AM in the morning, maybe they've learned to appreciate how alive their bodies fill when they first jump into that cold pool. Can you find the joy in the struggles that you face? Can you make it feel different? Global bestselling author, Simon Sinek said it best when he said, "Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion." Adjust your attitude. Instead of saying, "Men, this was such a drug. I hate putting together that Instagram post." If you tell yourself, "That was fun. I learned so much from that." Look, some things suck. I don't want you to ignore your true feelings. But sometimes I find myself going down a spiral of everything sucks, and that attitude just makes everything harder for myself. If you can catch yourself doing that, try changing it. I once heard that your mood can change every 20 minutes. If you don't feel like doing something right now, try doing it anyway. The way you feel about it is likely to change. There had been plenty of times when I didn't enjoy doing the work and it was really hard. When I looked back at it, I could say, "Hey, this thing that I was working on, actually that came out way better than I thought." I was consumed by feeling like, I don't enjoy this, this sucks, I don't like this. I can remember that I felt that way, but when I look back, I can say, "Wow, the results, these are great." I should be proud of the work that I did. How I've created drive? Make your goals more potent. What would be different for you once you achieve this goal? What would you be able to do that you can't do now? What will be different for your loved ones? If you could not fail, what would you try this year? Are you a competitive person? Use that as motivational fuel. It's not surprising that most runners hit their personal records when they actually run in a real marathon. Think of how an Olympian runner is motivated to push themselves further in a race. Actually seeing their competitors helps them push themselves just a little bit of extra effort ahead. Now, a couple of caveats here, don't put yourself in competition with someone who is vastly out of your league. If you've never run a 5K and you try to compare yourself to an Olympian, you're just going to get frustrated and want to quit. This is not a technique for everyone. If competition isn't your thing and it's not motivating, don't do that one. You can also create drive by having an alternative that you hate. There is nothing as motivating for me as some of the day jobs that I've had. I worked hard on my off hours because I did not want to be working at a bar. I did not want to get up at 05:00 AM to go work the front desk of the yoga studio. Side note, you don't actually have to put yourself in a crap situation to use this technique. Just remind yourself of the alternative. Identity. Speak, act, and think as the best version of yourself. What does the best version of yourself do? If you were a former smoker and someone offered you a cigarette, you could respond by saying, "No thanks, I'm trying to quit." Or you could say, "No thanks, I'm not a smoker." This distinction is small, but one is much more decisive. One, you might be convinced that you'll have another cigarette, and the other is no, I don't smoke. When you wake yourself up in the morning, you can tell yourself, "I am an artist, so I take time every day to prioritize my art." Instead of saying, "Okay, I want to try and be an artist today. I'm going to try to make some time to draw something today." When you focus on your identity, I'm the creative who works for myself, then it'll help you make better choices with the creative who works for herself, spend the evening watching Netflix or working on that creative side project. Where the creative, you wish to be spend the afternoon scrolling social media, or creating a new piece. Chuck Close is quoted as saying, "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work." He goes on to explain that good ideas arrive when you do the work. But I encourage you to adopt the mindset of a professional. I will sit down to work even if I don't feel like it. By all means, create inspiration wherever you can, create an environment where you are receptive to inspiration and motivation as possible, but resolve to sit down and do the work no matter what. Create your own instant gratification. The reason like bad habits like checking your phone or smoking cigarettes is hard to resist is because you get instant gratification. We know the long-term effects are negative, but we still have a really hard time resisting instant rewards. Likewise, we tend to avoid doing things when we experience immediate punishment. I bet you've only ever touched an electric fence once. We all know we're supposed to be okay with delayed gratification, but look, let's be real. That's not how we operate. Let's lean into the way that we operate and trick ourselves. Train yourself just like you would train a dog. Give yourself little rewards for doing good behavior. It's not being weak willed. It's training your will. Maybe you get a piece of candy every time that you write an outreach email to a client. Maybe you get to have a bubble bath while you write that blog post. My guilty pleasure is watching YouTube videos. I'll bate myself to do a task by saying, "Hey, I'll get to watch a YouTube video after I finish this task." Since those delayed gratifications might take a while to show up, we just want to artificially reward ourselves until then. Eventually, the real rewards will start. Your blog will start getting press, or lots of people will start commenting on it, and then you won't need to bribe yourself to do the work. The rewards from the work itself will keep you encouraged. Fear and rewards. Some people are driven by rewards and some people are motivated by fear. Take FOMO. The fear of missing out can really inspire some people to get their butts in gear to do something. It's why creating deadlines can be so effective for some people. They feel really motivated to get the work done because they do not want to miss that deadline. Those punch cards, coffee shops give out, buy nine cups and the tenth cup is free. They're bribing you to keep coming back and buying your coffee from them instead of from the Starbucks across the street. My boyfriend Dan and his friend like to grab a drink after work and they went to the same bar over and over again. Why? The bar used a reward motivation. They offered a whiskey passport. They stamped your passport for every new whiskey that you bought. There were rewards for filling up so many pages, and if you fill the entire book, you've got your picture up on the wall of fame. Dan bought a lot of expensive whiskeys that he might not have otherwise because it felt like a fun game. A fun way to combine reward and fear motivation, create a competition with a friend. Like whoever creates the most drawings in a month, gets treated to dinner out by the other. You want to get the dinner bought for you, the reward motivation, and you don't want to have to pay for it, the fear of motivation. Visualizations, the dopamine drug. Dopamine is the chemical in your brain that makes you crave things. The really cool thing about dopamine is that it is released not only when you experience something, but when you anticipate it. I've always felt that half the fun in a vacation is planning it. It's imagining all the places to visit and places to eat, and on and on. This is why those cheesy visualizations and vision boards work. When you start your day with a daydream visualization, the success you'll be basking in by this time next year, your brain releases dopamine and it makes you want to act. When you see a photo of your dream studio space in your tiny closet desk, you get inspired to work for it. If you're having trouble staying motivated to work towards a goal that's long-term, find a visual, find a way to imagine yourself in that scenario. Imagine yourself working as a full-time artist in the beginning of the day before you sit down to work. This will keep you in touch with how much you want that. That way when you have to put in the hard work of reaching out to potential clients or learning how to sell your original paintings, the motivation will still be more present. I actually have an everyday task that is on my to-do list, and that task is simply a written reminder of the rewards that I'm working towards. Maybe it's a fancy new laptop, maybe it's buying a house, or maybe it's winning an illustration of Word for my next project. The power of peer pressure. I watched a funny prank video where a bunch of actors got on an elevator facing backwards and they recorded the reactions of people getting onto the elevator. Almost invariably, they also turned around to face backwards. We're social creatures and we put weird pressures on ourselves to stick with the norm. Choose people to help give you the norms that you want in your life. If you want to go full time with your side hustle, surround yourself with people who are trying to do the same thing or better yet, who have gone full-time with our side hustle. If you're trying to become a social media influencer, become friends with other social media influencers. This is why people join gyms and workout classes. It's much easier to make working out a normal behavior if you spend time with other people who do that. Also watch out for finding yourself in any situation where you are getting pressured into bad habits. Sometimes all it takes is a conscious request. If you're trying to quit smoking, you could ask your partner, "Hey, please don't smoke in front of me." Maybe you can't surround yourself with people who are doing the thing that you want to do. But you can find heroes of people that you admire. How many people have picked up habits from Steve Jobs or other famous, powerful, or otherwise, admirable people? We can use that same social pressure by finding role models that we can actually surround ourselves with. Just having those famous successful examples can be enough. Social contracts are also helpful to committing yourself to doing something. Have you ever done a 30-day or a 100-day challenge on Instagram? Then you feel like you need to apologize in your next post of you skipped a day like, "I'm so sorry, I didn't post a drawing yesterday." Well, that's because you have that extra sense of I have to do this because I publicly committed to it. If that can be another great technique for getting yourself to stick with something. That was a big lesson, but motivation is a big deal. To recap, we went over tracking your progress, making it interesting or at least different, changing your mindset, creating drive and desire. The power of how you identify yourself, creating your own instant gratification, the different types of motivation, visualizations and using peer pressure to your advantage. The next time you're lacking motivation, try one or two of these methods to help you rekindle some inspiration. 11. Procrastination, Fear of Failure, Frustration, and Perfectionism: Procrastination, fear of failure, frustration, and perfectionism. You don't have to have all the willpower in the world, you just need enough willpower to start and do five minutes. The first choice, the first move that you'd make can lead into a whole spiral, whole waterfall of other good, productive choices. So we want to start small and manageable; just do five minutes. Think of it this way; how many times have you said, "I'll just look at social media for five minutes," and then that spiraled out of control? It might be that you will continue to work on things and your whole day will spiral into doing more activities. But if you only get five minutes of work done, then that's five minutes more than you would have spent otherwise. Five minutes a day gets you nearly half an hour of practice in a week where you would have had none before, for when you find it hard to start when you're dragging your feet or you don't want to do something. If you really don't want to do something, try reframing it. Instead of saying, "I have to do this thing," tell yourself, "I get to do this thing." This is really important for those of us who are professionals out there. When you do something for money, oftentimes it starts to feel like work, which it is. You don't do this work anymore just because you feel like it or it's inspiring or it's a fun past-time, you do it because you have to, and that can make you start to think of it as a requirement, as a drag. But when you can reframe it in your mind and see it as a more exciting way, it can really help you. So early on when I was researching clients, I thought about as, hey, this is really fun, this is like a treasure hunt. I got to dig around and find contact information and find out if this company is a good fit for my art. When you can get back in touch with the fun, it makes it easier to keep powering through, moving faster, doing a better job, and just enjoying your life. Sometimes when we're dragging our feet on starting something, we tell ourselves, "I really want to do something else, I just really want to watch this new show on Netflix," and if feels crappy to give up something. So instead of giving up something, what you want to do is think about how it's going to benefit you to avoid that bad habit. Instead of giving up chill time with Netflix, think about how you are getting a more rejuvenating chill time by working on your craft. In fact, a lot of times I feel gross after binge-watching a bunch of shows. I'm not giving up my chill time, I'm getting a more satisfying chill time. Watch out for the word "until". I can't do X until I do Y. Really? Is that true or is it just perfectionism hiding under a different name? I can't reach out to clients until I understand contracts perfectly. Look, get the client first, you'll figure out the contract next. You can't predict what will happen down the road. Maybe the client will send you their own contract, you don't have to bring in your own contract. You've got to move forward even if you don't understand everything or you'll never get started. Another tip if you have a hard time getting started is to simulate the commute. Have a habit, a route or a routine, something that signals to your brain, this is work time. Athletes do this. They do their special pre-game warm-ups and that isn't just to get their body warmed up, it's getting their mind in the space of, okay, now is game time, now is the time that we're going to do things. If you work from home, maybe go for a walk around the block. Maybe make yourself a special cup of tea. Fear of failure or doing it wrong. If you feel nervous about something, change your mindset from, "I've got these butterflies, I'm scared," to "I've got all this extra energy. It's going to help me be energetic and engaging and I can channel this energy." This is something that used to happen to me when I was teaching in-person painting classes. I would get scared to go on stage really and it was something that I had to learn, like, hey, this nervous energy, this is something that I can channel into what I'm doing. Don't decide whether you'll do something or not because you're afraid. Base your decisions on what you hope to bring into the world. Don't let yourself get trapped in the mindset of, "I can't afford it." Think about how you can afford it. Tell yourself, I will find a way to afford this. Make your thoughts and actions expansive rather than reductive. Our brains are geared to protect ourselves from losing what we do have, so often we will think about, oh gosh, I can't do this thing or I can't do that thing because what if I lose what I already have? But that means that we need to intentionally refocus on what there is to gain. We often stop ourselves before we even begin because we're afraid. So make sure to ask yourself, what can I gain by doing this thing? Many times we procrastinate because that pesky perfectionism is getting in our way. We don't want to do something until we can do it exactly right. But it's okay to fail. In fact, that's how we learn how to do something. You'll learn much more from what didn't work than what did work. But the truth is our egos are really fragile. We often come up with excuses about our failures to protect our egos. We'll say, I can't have a successful YouTube channel because I can't afford good equipment like those rich YouTubers. When we make those excuses, we protect our egos but we lose critical opportunities to get better at our craft. So how do we get around this? What you can do is you can watch other people fail. Watch bad YouTubers. Watch the mistakes they make and learn from them. Decide how you will avoid the mistakes that they make. This is a great way to protect yourself from feeling like you're a failure and still get the educational opportunity that failure provides. Feeling overwhelmed or lost or not sure that you know what you need to do. A lot of the times we procrastinate because we don't know what we need to do. If you have a clear list of what you need to do, it won't be so easy to slip into procrastination. But sometimes we have a list but we feel overwhelmed or confused by what we need to do. So if it feels like you just can't bear to tackle this enormous task, break it down into something that's more manageable no-brainer tasks. For example, finish my portfolio site. That is a very confusing task to have on your to-do list because where do you start? That's very overwhelming. You want to break that down into smaller bits that are just really easy to do. Number 1, choose 10 of your favorite art pieces. Number 2, write a bio. Number 3, pick a headshot. Now, yes, this is an organizational thing, but the whole point here is that if you feel intimidated, you're likely to try and put off the task. If the task is really, really easy, you're more likely to do it. Another trick when you feel overwhelmed is just to tell yourself, hey, I only have to do this for 10 minutes. Set a timer and if you want to stop after 10 minutes, fine. But I bet it'll be easier to keep going once you get started and you won't want to stop after the timer goes off, and if you do want to stop, that's fine too. You told yourself 10 minutes, so 10 minutes it is. It's too boring. If you're procrastinating something because it is boring and you just don't want to do it, how can you make that task more enjoyable? For me, I sometimes don't want to take product photos of some of the sample products that clients sent me of something that I've illustrated for them. But I know that it's a really important thing, it can really help my brand out. So what I did was I scheduled a day with my friend [inaudible] , and I met her at her house and we gathered props from around her house to take photos of some of our products. It was a lot of fun because I was doing it with somebody else. I was getting inspiration from what she was doing with her photos and having her take some photos of my stuff. I was able to give great feedback to her and help her take some fun photos, and I was in a new environment and that made it a lot more fun too. Don't work on home stuff during work time. If you work from home, you have probably done chores instead of working on work. Set aside time where you get to work on life stuff. Dealing with laundry, doing chores around the house, scheduling doctor's appointment, those things you work for yourself, those things can't be allowed to take up your work time. So make sure that you have time dedicated for that and don't let it be an excuse not to do the work that you need to do. Productive procrastination. Sometimes you're not going to win the fight against procrastination, but you can still do something useful in that time. On my daily to-do list, I put a couple of low pressure, easy tasks. When I can't resist procrastination, I'll tackle one of those tasks instead. As an added bonus, sometimes checking those things off of my list gives me the boost in confidence to tackle the big things that I happen procrastinating. Sometimes you just need a break. That's okay too. If you draw, you're probably familiar with how exciting it is to start a sketch, but as you keep working, you start getting discouraged. This is harder than you thought. It doesn't look how you want. But if you keep working on it and adding more details, it starts to get better. You start to think, hey, I did a pretty good job after all. That time in the middle where everything sucked, that's what author and marketing genius Seth Godin refers to as the "dip." It doesn't just happen when you're drawing. It pretty much happens with every new skill you learn and goal you take on. Win for beginners, we tend to have a ton of forward momentum, and that's because we can only improve from where we are, and so we expect our growth to be linear. It'll just keep going. We're just going to keep getting that much better that fast. But that's not what happens. Sometimes there's an incubation period and you can't see the progress that you're making. Then suddenly out of nowhere, you'll suddenly skyrocket in your progress. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear uses the metaphor of an ice cube melting. Now, water freezes at exactly 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's zero Celsius for everyone else in the world, but it doesn't freeze one degree above or one degree below. Every single degree of effort that you put in gets the temperature one degree warmer, but the results still will not show until you hit exactly that freezing slash melting temperature. Sometimes your art or your progress does get worse, but that's because you're pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to try new things. Some of those things don't work, but sometimes getting worse is the only way to learn how to get better. It's okay if things aren't constantly progressing upwards; plateaus and dips are a very normal part of progress. But still, it feels really crappy to be in a dip. So here's some tips for dealing with the dip that you will inevitably go through. One, realize that you're in a dip. This is as boring or frustrating as it's going to get. It's a normal part of the process, just keep at it. Commit to working through it, even though it's not fun anymore. Two, take a break to let your muscles, mental, or physical rest. Don't try to brute force your way through the dip. If you're a weightlifter, your muscles might need a rest day to recover before you can move up to the next weight level. Three, during that break, maybe do something to boost your morale. If you are struggling to get better at drawing people but you just can't get noses right, take a break and draw eyes, something that you enjoy and you're already decent at. Four, work on improving one thing at a time. Back to our face example, if you're struggling with drawing noses, focus on the really specific details. Try to get better at drawing nostrils. Try to get better at drawing the tip of the nose or the space where the nose meets the eye. Five, use some fun new tools. A new set of digital brushes won't help you draw noses better, but they can help reinvigorate that sense of curiosity and excitement to keep working. But yes, you'll still need to do the work to learn how to draw a nose better. In this lesson, we went over reframing your objections, creating a warm-up routine, dealing with the fear of failure, dealing with overwhelm, making tasks more fun, productive procrastination, and tips for getting through the dip. For your project, I want you to share how you can make a task you've been dreading actually a fun task. 12. Distractions: Social Media, Family, and Interruptions: Dealing with distractions. Find the source of the problem, why aren't you able to get the things done that you want to get done? Honestly ask yourself, when you're not actively working on what you should be, what are you doing instead? Now let's deal with that problem. Chances are you probably already have some ideas where that solution lies. If it feels too hard to give up what's getting in your way ask yourself, how long would I need to give this up to see some good results? Is there's something small you could change to help even just a little bit? Maybe you need to do a prep of your lunch the night before, so you don't get hangry or spend too much time making lunch in the middle of the workday. Maybe you need to stop sending funny cat videos to your friends when you should be working and instead do that after you're working. Maybe you need to uninstall Instagram from your phone until you can finish a project. Eliminate the distractions that you can. Silence notifications, close the e-mail tab, close the Slack channel, and hide your phone from sight. Task switching is extremely bad for our productivity. Countless studies have shown that when you get interrupted by an email or a text, it can take a full minute to fully reengage with your original task. Now pair that with the fact that we sometimes pick up our phones on average 84 times a day, and that means that you could be wasting an hour and a half just trying to get refocused. That doesn't even count how you accidentally got sucked into Pinterest for 15 minutes when you picked up your phone. Oh, yeah, I've never done that. We've become socially trained that we need to answer emails and notifications as fast as possible, even at the expense of our other work. But if you don't see that text, if you don't see that email, you're not expected to immediately reply to it so maybe we can work around that social conditioning to not do that. Perhaps you should schedule a time to check your email, once mid-morning and once mid-afternoon. Same with Slack or text messages. Remember, what is your priority? Getting your tasks finished for the day or replying to a random question within five minutes of getting an email or a text. Hide your phone. Even visually seeing your phone can trigger the desire to check it. A study showed that even people who had their phones powered off were less productive and distracted when their phone was in visual sight. Phones and apps are designed to be addictive. There are entire teams of people dedicated to getting you to spend as much time as possible on that device. Look, you probably can't outsmart an entire team of people, I can't. But you can keep your phones visually out of sight. When it's visually out of sight, you're a lot less likely to be distracted by it in the first place. Now I know it's not always realistic that we can have our phone out of sight. If you can't hide your phone, do your best to block distractions. I use screen time on my iPhone, my iPad, and my computer, and that blocks apps that I choose during specific times of the day. I use websites like Focused and LeechBlock to help me block specific sites on my computer. Another trick is to put your phone into grayscale mode and you can do that by getting into the accessibility settings in your phone. Putting your phone in grayscale can help apps like Instagram feel less appealing. It's like taking that addictive sugar out of Instagram. Do not check email or social media first thing in the workday, when you do that, you're putting other people's priorities and emotions and letting them influence you. When you start the day fresh and plan out what you want to do, you won't be as easily swayed by the attention economy of social media. You won't be as easily swayed by what other people in your inbox are telling you to do. Dealing with necessary interruptions. What problems do you anticipate with getting interrupted? Is there anything that you can do to prevent that from happening and what can you do to lessen that impact? But also, this is life. You're going to get interrupted, things happen, things come up. The first thing I'd recommend is you want to have your systems in place. If you have to interrupt your work for an emergency, you're going to feel a lot better knowing that when you come back to do the work, you know what you're going to need to do. You can't just remember everything and you can revisit the lesson on staying organized and creating good systems for tips on doing that. The other thing that you can do is plan buffer time into your schedule. Stuff comes up, that's life, but you don't want to over-schedule your days so that there is absolutely no room to deal with those things. You need to plan for time to deal with interruptions. Friends and family. You can't eliminate friends and family and nor do you probably want to but we can find ways to minimize how distracting they can be. Sometimes we just need to embrace that it's okay if they're distracting, life is about a lot more than just work. But one thing that can really help you is to hold strict office hours with friends and family. If you worked in a restaurant, your family wouldn't walk in the middle of the dinner shift and start asking you questions, right? So why do you act like it's okay if they interrupt you in the middle of work? On the other hand, if you don't have office hours, your family doesn't know when it's okay to interrupt you and when it's not. This is your job, you need to hold both yourself accountable to those office hours and your family. When those office hours are in place, it's just going to be a lot easier for everybody. Now, all that can be a lot easier said than done with kids but here's a tip to help them get to understand it a little bit better. Try creating a traffic light on your office door. When the red light is on the door, the rule is that they can only come in if somebody is bleeding or if there's a fire. If the light is green, they're welcome to come in. Create focus and getting into flow. Have you ever gotten so into a drawing that you completely lost track of time? You looked up and it was like an hour later, but it felt like it was only a few minutes? That's the flow state. There's a few things that we can do to help get ourselves into that flow state and go into a deep work session. One, you need to have a plan of one thing that you're going to work on. Don't try to do two or three things at the same time, do one after the other. Two, remove all potential distractions, mostly that's your phone but also don't allow for interruptions. Put headphones on to block out distracting noises. Some headphones have noise cancellation, and that can be really helpful if you have kids at home. If you have the privilege of a separate room, shut the door and tell people it's very serious that they don't come in when the door is shut. Set a timer. You want to make it maybe for 45 minutes or less. It can take a good 10 minutes to get really sunk into a task, and the timer lets your brain rest so that you don't have to worry about checking the time. The other side of that is that studies seem to show that we're not really able to focus on a task for hours and hours on end. It can be good to take small little breaks or at least refresh yourself and say, oh, it's been an hour, it's been 45 minutes. A 45 minutes is a good sweet spot to try for, it could be more, could be less. Ideally, you don't want any music, but I particularly like having some background noise around me. If you are going to play music, try to use something without words. Finally, another important thing to know about triggering flow, flow state is engaged when a task is difficult enough to require all of your attention, but not so difficult that it's frustrating. If you're trying to get into flow state, how can you make that task a little bit harder or a little bit easier? If you want to make it a little bit harder, how can you level up what you're doing? If you're doing packaging, can you get the creases in your packaging to lay perfectly flat? If you're drawing the same subject matter for the billionth time, maybe try putting constraints on your project like I'm only going to use three colors for this project. That'll make it more of a challenge or maybe another rule of design, something that you aren't necessarily that good at, so that it makes it a little bit harder. But also, can you make the task easier if you're feeling overwhelmed and you're not able to get into flow state? Maybe you want to break it down into simpler steps. Pretend productivity. Sometimes we do things that make us feel like we're being productive, but that actually don't move the needle on the things that we need to get done. When you are doing something, ask yourself hey, is this really what I should be doing or is this something that just feels like, oh yeah, I'm doing something so I'm making progress. We want to eliminate those things that we think are oh, this is important, I'm getting stuff done. You don't want to get sucked into a lot of little tasks that take up your time and make you feel good, but don't actually get you where you need to go. But sometimes those little tasks, they're good ideas. We might call this a shiny object syndrome, as soon as you start a goal, a more interesting idea comes up. What you want to do is you want to put that idea on a list and you are allowed to tackle that new exciting task as soon as you finish the current goal. The real trick with this is that it's actually going to create a little bit more motivation for your current goal. You're probably going to rush to finish that so that you can work on that new exciting thing. In this lesson, we listed our distractions, we looked for ways to eliminate the distractions that we can and ways to deal with the distractions that we can't. We went over tips for getting into a deeply focused state, aka flow. For your project, I want you to list the distractions that came up most in your own life and list some solutions for dealing with them. 13. When You Want to Quit : How athletes push past their breaking point. Have you ever been racing to catch a bus that's a few blocks away and thought, oh, I can't keep going, I can't keep running, I'm going to collapse, only to walk for a couple of steps and then start racing for the bus again? You actually could run further, you just felt like you couldn't. It was your perception of effort. It felt very, very real that you could not run another step, but you started running again because you could feel the motivation in the rewards that running further and faster than you thought possible would give you, you will be able to catch that bus. You probably wouldn't push yourself that hard if you were just working out. Your reasons wouldn't be as urgent or pressing. The same thing can often be true of our work. We feel like we couldn't possibly work any harder. But the truth is, you might be more capable of working harder if you had a clear vision of what the rewards or motivation could be. How can we perform like pro athletes who regularly push themselves to perform at their peak capabilities? Getting into flow, which we covered in the lessons on distractions. When you are in flow, it takes way less effort to keep going. Do not go big or go home. What you want to do is make your goals just reachable. You've run harder to catch that bus because you believe you can catch that bus. You'd stop running if you believe that no matter how fast you ran, you weren't going to catch this bus, it is just too late, you'd stopped running. Likewise, if you make your goals that are too big, you won't keep working for them. If you get frustrated because you're not making enough progress, you'll want to quit. If the point is that you don't want to quit, the point is you need to make your goals attainable. You can always stack another goal on afterwards. But if you give up trying on the first one, you won't matter, you quit. Likewise, do not let perfectionism trick you into quitting. Perfectionism ignores all the progress we've made and it highlights all of our mistakes. Our goals often start with, I want to draw better, then it becomes, I want to become the best artist, and that sabotages us. Don't let I want to become better become I have to be best, because we quit when our results aren't perfect or the best. When we think we've got to go big or go home, then we end up quitting because we can't go as big as we'd like. Getting even a little bit further than you would have is way better than quitting. Don't try to be perfect, just try to be a little bit better. Anticipate your pain pain. Anticipate the struggles you'll likely face. Plan to be okay with making choices that aren't comfortable. Remind yourself that today, you are going to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. It's going to feel uncomfortable, it's going to feel unpleasant, but that's just a feeling. Feeling like you want to quit, doesn't mean that you have to quit. Sometimes even that mental reminder is enough to help you push yourself. Plan for failure. Decide ahead of time what you'll fail at, because you're human, you can't do it all, you're a human being. If I'm in the middle of a really big project, I know that I'm not going to be keeping my house clean. I'm not going to be doing laundry as often I should have. Probably not going to be making really good meals, and sometimes I'm going to miss working out. When I'm busy or deep into trying to accomplish a specific goal, I know that I'm going to have to let some of those things slide. You might have to get comfortable with saying no and declining events or doing favors for people. If this goes strongly against your perfectionist tendencies, tell yourself, I'm just putting that to the side for now, not forever. I will pick that up again when I'm done with this project. But deciding ahead of time what things you'll let slide will save you from beating yourself up or struggling with the decision later. Equally important, you want to stay deeply in touch with your motivation. You don't want to miss that bus, you don't want to miss that bus. That's what you're running for. That's why you're doing this. You can always refer back to the lessons on motivation to help you keep in touch with that. Knowing when to keep going and when to quit. Sometimes you should quit something. Sometimes it's a waste of your continued time and effort to keep going. Sometimes it would be better if you spent your energy on something new. But how do you know when you should drop it and when you should keep pushing through? Perfectionism gets in our way again. Sometimes it makes us quit, but sometimes it makes us not quit when we should. You don't want to make things perfect. Good enough or close enough needs to do. If you have perfectionist tendencies like I do, if it's truly important, you can come back and improve what you're doing later. But sometimes that additional effort to make something just perfect isn't really worth the amount of time that it takes to do the thing. Yes, you could make this project, you can make this drawing, you can make this blessing on perfectionism perfect if you just spent another six hours. But how much better would it really be than what you're already doing now. Sometimes good enough is good enough. The sunk cost fallacy. If you've spent 10 years in a career you don't like, should you keep at it even if you hate it? No, of course not. But sometimes we feel like we have put so much effort into something, it feels like we'll be wasting all of our effort, time, money, energy that we put into something. Let's say that you have an old car that has taken thousands of dollars to keep fixed up and now a new issue has popped up. You spent all this money on this car, so you're like, I just need to spend a little bit more. But really it might be better to just stop dumping money into it and find something else that you can use for transportation. Just because you worked really hard to get a client a few years ago, but you don't feel fulfilled by that client anymore doesn't mean that you have to keep working for them today. If you're struggling with this, ask yourself, if I were starting this project today, would I still do it? If no, maybe it's time to move on. To recap, in this lesson, we talked about how to keep going when we feel like quitting. We talked about getting into flow, making our goals realistically attainable, not letting perfectionist tells us when we need to make things perfect, deciding ahead of time what we'll fail at, and staying connected to our motivation. We also talked about the value of quitting and evaluating when we should keep going and when we should quit. For your project, I'd like you to reflect on projects you have quit in the past. Do you regret quitting them or was it a smart choice? If you regret it, which of the above points could've helped you keep going? I'd also encourage you to ask yourself, are there any projects that you are currently holding onto that would make more sense to let go of? Share your answers in your project. 14. Final Notes: Thanks for watching the class, and I hope you've got some ideas to boost your productivity. If you found this class helpful, I want to ask you a favor. Please leave a positive review, a comment, or a project. Your interaction with the class really helps it show up in the Skillshare rankings so that other people can find it. Even a simple thank you for the class in the comments, really does make a big difference and, well, it makes me feel good. If you have a friend who has mentioned that they're struggling with productivity, please share this class with them. You can even offer them a free trial to Skillshare using the link in the share button. I've also left a code in the Projects tab if you can't find that. I love meeting you on Instagram. If you're sharing about the class, I would love to see. You can tag me @paperplaygrounds. Don't forget to check out these resources in the Projects tab. Thanks for watching the class and I hope you've got some ideas to boost your productivity. 15. What Next: Thanks for taking this class. If you're interested in learning more from me, I recommend checking out my course on business for artists. You can find that class and lots more by visiting my website or Skillshare profile. Hi. I'm Brooke Weather, a full-time freelance illustrator. I've built a business that comfortably supports me and allows me to work whenever and wherever I choose. This is a fun, practical, and comprehensive guide to making money as an artist. You do not have to be an expert at everything. But it makes a big difference to understand how the different parts of your business affect each other. First, we'll start by getting clear on what you want your business to look like, and then we'll pair that against the different ways that artists make money. Then we'll dive into understanding why people buy from you and using the strengths that you already have to stand out from the crowd. We'll talk about systems that can help you make your business run more smoothly. In the second section, we'll dive into how do you find clients and tips for sharing your work with the right people. In the third section, we'll talk about how to price your work, contract details, theme tips for negotiating.