Let’s face it, video editing can be lonely. You sit down at your computer in the morning and before you know it, it’s dark out and you haven’t spoken to another mortal soul for eleven hours straight. But there’s beauty in this too. Working solo enables you to pick your own pace and, if you’re feeling so inclined, pick up the pace. To help you do exactly that, are these six productivity hacks that have niente to do with how you work on your computer.
Create An Editing Schedule
Just like video shoots, the post-production process should also follow a schedule. Next time you go to edit a project, try breaking the work up into several chunks and setting mini-deadlines for each one. This will give you structure, clarity, and a clear snapshot of how far along your project has come…or, not come.
Share Your Goals
You’ve made a schedule and set those deadlines. Great! Now it’s time to share them. And who should you be sharing them with exactly? Anyone. Literally! Obviously, if you have a client or colleague to whom you can communicate your goals, that’d be ideal. But for anyone who works solo or from home, then telling a friend, lover, brother, mother, creepy guy at the bus stop, will also do. Studies have shown that when we communicate our intentions to someone else, we’re four times more likely to fulfill them. So to hell with TMI. Start sharing!
Keep It Clean People
While a messy desk may help get the brain’s creative juices flowing, a clean one is what helps keep it focused. And when it comes to editing, I think we can all agree that the latter takes priority. Staying focused equates to quicker workflows, smashed deadlines, and more profits.
Having said all that, there’s no need to go getting all anal about it either. Some clutter is okay—assuming that clutter directly relates to the project you’re currently working on. Anything else can go get shoved in one of those dreaded, unkempt, miscellaneous drawers.
Oh, and one more tip: at the end of each workday, spend five minutes decluttering and reorganizing your desk. That way it’ll be serving up those positive feng shui vibes the second you sit down the next morning.
Fun fact: avoiding digital distractions helps boost productivity by one thousand percent (don’t quote me on that). But you can quote me on this: the average employee spends 28% of their work day on email, two hours on social media, and they’ll check their phone an average of 85 times.
So unless you have the willpower of a Tibetan monk, the only around this is to switch off. This means putting your smart phone on airplane mode and installing one of those website-blocking, or (if you’re really hardcore) internet-blocking programs on your computer. Even if it’s just for the first few hours of your day, you’re guaranteed to see results.
(Not so) fun-fact: human attention spans are getting suckier and suckier by the second. For those of you who are unable or unwilling to part with your beloved electronic devices and online group chats, it can be very difficult to keep your brain focused for any longer than…sorry, what was I saying? I can’t remember.
Fortunately there are some tricks we can use to help keep our heads in the game, and the best one for us editors is undoubtedly the Pomodoro Technique. This is where you break your work into 25-minute segments and take 2-3 minutes breaks in between each one. Once you’ve repeated this cycle four times in a row, you’ll have earnt yourself a 20-minute break. After that, it’s just a matter of rinse and repeat until C.O.B.
Refreshing your mind like this helps you to compartmentalize your work, avoid distractions, and get more done. But not only is it good for productivity. For people in sedentary roles, the Pomodoro Technique is great for reminding you that it’s time to haul your heinie out of your chair and get that blood circulating before the DVT kicks in.
If you’re seriously considering giving the Pomodoro Technique a shot, here’s a super easy-to-use online timer that allows you to customize the length of breaks and work sessions to your personal preferences.
Plan Ahead For After Effects
As an editor, there’s nothing worse than completing your timeline, going to add in some snazzy after effect, then realizing that the exact one you need doesn’t exist or costs a squillion dollars to purchase. The only real way to avoid this is by working out what you’ll need in terms of after effects, stock images, music, etc., and going out and gathering them in advance of the editing process.
A simple reconnaissance mission like this will spare you the pain of backtracking through your timeline to make adjustments to scenes in which you’d intended to use a particular sound or visual effect but now have to make do without.
Obviously, for some editors, the idea of trawling through stock licensing websites and committing to a particular song or image prior to the editing process is a massive joy-kill and simply ain’t gonna happen. For these people, I’d recommend going with a membership-based digital effects resource like Motion Array. This way you’ll have a much broader pool of digital goodies to pull from at the end.
Now that you know all these tricks of the trade for boosting video editing productivity, it is time to go forth apply them. Alternatively, if you’d like to procrastinate further, here is an article on how creative types can avoid procrastination. But after that, it’s enough messing around. Time to get to work…deal?