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Quick Tip: How to Be More Productive In the Studio

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There is an abundance of productivity and self-help blogs on the internet. Blogs that help you make the most of your time, your energy and/or your money.

Envato has some good resources for productivity and effectiveness in the workplace both at FreelanceSwitch and WorkAwesome (which is my current favorite domain name). Other blogs like LifeHacker or ZenHabits have thousands of subscribers subscribing to the musings that these productivity gurus have to offer.

These blogs are a source of great tips and how to's, whether you want to be an early riser, or manage your money better. The great thing about them is that they apply to everyone, regardless of career. But what about productivity tips that apply directly to our everyday studio life?

The Productive DJ

Increase Your Workflow

There are tons of way to increase your productivity and workflow in the studio. Whether the studio means your home voiceover room or a big commercial recording space, all of these tips can apply. Increasing your workflow and making your sessions go smoother is a crucial ingredient in looking good for your clients. Everybody wants you to be fast and do everything they ask of you in record time, so these tips can help your productivity and efficiency in the studio.

  1. Create a good workspace – Set up your studio area so that you aren't distracted by tedious tasks when you should be on top of the session. A clean, uncluttered desk with everything you need close at hand is a good way to keep you focused on the task at hand.

  2. Use templates - Using templates can speed up your workflow significantly. Instead of always opening up a clean empty track and ending up with the same types of tracks every time, try saving your next session as a template so you can use it as a guideline for your next track. No need to create the same auxes and inserting the same old delays and reverbs when you can have it all ready immediately.

  3. Save your presets – Some people frown upon preset-cruising, and I would agree that preset cruising doesn't work when the preset is in no context to the actual recorded track. But when you are constantly recording the same tracks - whether drums, guitar or vocals – it can be good to have a preset that you know will work. Then it is only a question of tweaking the knobs to accommodate the new recording, instead of starting from scratch.

  4. Take notes – I like taking notes. I like taking notes so much I designed my own custom track sheets to use when I'm away from my DAW. (You can download them here for free if you are interested). On the assumption that I like taking notes, there must be other people out there that like taking notes. So even though having loose papers on your desk violates the uncluttered nature of the first tip, I do recommend having a legal pad or a notebook to scribble in ideas, especially if you do not have access to your session or want to brainstorm your productions with someone.

  5. Close your applications – I really need to learn to close my browser and other applications when I'm working. Whether you are recording, mixing or just plain doing some regular work, taking away distractions is the key to actually being able to focus on your projects.

  6. Use keyboard shortcuts – I used to play first person shooters when I was younger. I had one hand on the mouse, and the other on the keyboard, giving me the most flexible and fast control over my character. Today, working in my audio program isn't much different. Still one hand on the mouse and the other on the keyboard, frantically hitting keyboard shortcuts to speed up my workflow. Get familiar with your program's keyboard shortcut so you can work faster and more efficiently. Joel wrote a great set of tutorials on workflow in Logic and you can check out his shortcut tutorial here.

After a tiring but efficient day


There is an abundance of things you can do to speed up your workflow and make your sessions flow better and be faster. All those productivity blogs have given me loads of ideas on how to become more productive, more efficient and just plain more reliable. By applying these tips to our field of audio production we can brainstorm on how to become better at what we do, not only in the talent we have as audio engineers, but the skills we have at succeeding in the workplace.

So although this is a Quick Tip, I would like to give it an Open Mic kind quality by asking you readers a question: What type of productivity tips do you follow that work well for you? Let us know in the comments!

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