How These 5 Time Management Tips Will Help You Finish More Tracks
Do you struggle with finishing a consistent amount of tracks? The issue isn’t the fact that you don’t have the right gear. It’s not that you need more plugins or, “that new version of *INSERT DAW NAME HERE*,”
Honestly, it’s because you have terrible time management.
In this week’s episode I’m sitting down with you, one-on-one, talking about the things YOU can dow NOW to improve your time management and workflow, all so you can finish MORE tracks!
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How to properly manage your time
- How to increase your productivity
- Finish more tracks
- The best books to controlling your time
- What kinds of templates to set up for producing
- How to organize your files
and so much more!
Electronic Dance Money Facebook Community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/393782934612748/
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch – https://www.amazon.com/80-20-Principle-Secret-Achieving/dp/0385491743
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris – https://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307465357
Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy
Hey, guys. Welcome to electronic dance money. You’re number one business resource for making money as electronic musicians and producers. Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of electronic dance money. My name is Christian Macedo. I’m your host and today is a solo episode. So what are we going to be talking about today? We’re going to be talking about the importance of time management and productivity, especially when you are trying to produce and write music. Um, this is an extremely important topic that a lot of producers seem to disregard. I know. I definitely disregard it, as as I thought that my, um my time management was good and knowing what I know now, my time management was completely terrible. So I’m sure there’s some of you that are actually in the same exact position. So I’m here today to get you started on managing your time a little bit better and being more productive. So today we’re gonna be talking about five specific topics that we will discuss about how you can be more productive and control your time a bit more. Ah, so you can get things done because that’s what it’s all about. It’s about writing music, making as much music as possible. The best quality music is possible, Um, so you can get better and become a full time producer and possibly touring artist. So let’s get started now. The first thing that we’re gonna be talking about, which is going to sound pretty boring or seem pretty boring and that is file organization Now I’m sure there are many of you that we’re in the same position as I was where I would just download a bunch of stuff. Um, whether I was getting a new sound pack, a new sample pack or I was downloading sounds off of spice, they would all get lumped into a download folder. And maybe I would grab those files and move them over into another folder where they would all just collectively sit as individual files that are completely different from each other. I would have kick samples and mixed with lead sounds and subs mixed in with hats and Tom’s and all sorts of different sounds that weren’t in the spot. They should be there all kind of lumped together, and there are lots of issues that happened when you do this kind of file organisation. I wouldn’t say it’s organization at all. It really is just chaos. I’m sure a lot of you open up your blank project and you start clicking through sounds, um, whether they’re samples, air presets and listening and try and find something. But it takes you 10 15 minutes to find the one sample you’re looking for because it’s all lumped in. And now you’ve wasted that creativity, that spark of inspiration you might have had before you jumped into the project, cause you’re wasting your time trying to search for these samples or presets. So this is something that I think when you’re done with that this episode, you should certainly jump in and start organizing your files. Set up Ah, production folder where, you know a lot of your projects will get saved and make sure you say projects in their own folders, but then have a folder for, like, production samples or something and want to go in there. You’ll want to start organizing that by specific samples or sound. So maybe lump all your drums into one drum folder and then have sub folders within that for all of your kicks. All of your snares all of your collapse. Ah, hi. Hats, Shakers, Tom’s All these kinds of samples should have their own folder. And what that does that allows you to actually open up. If you’re looking for a kick, all of your kicks will be in one section. I mean, it’s amazing how many producers don’t actually do this. And when they do implement it, all of a sudden, everything becomes 10 times faster. Because you know where your kicks are. It takes you a minute to flip through them to find the one you want or if they’re all labeled, which I think you should have them all labeled with the appropriate key for that sound. Then you’ll you have four or five kicks that you’re gonna look through for your samples near you. Click on it and you’re gonna find one in 10 seconds and then pull it in your project. And now you’ve got your kick for the entire track. So this is something that I also think should be done with presets again. This is something that I’ve done in the past to where I maybe I do have a preset folder. Ah, but it’s a whole lot of just jumble E stuff where when I open up serum tore, my presets are there’s base leads mixed in with main leads and subs and all these different kinds of presets that again are not organized. You know, whenever you download a sound sound pack, that’s the first thing you see is that everything is sectioned out where there are based leads, normal leads, pads, synth sounds. There’s all sorts of different sounds, but they’re all labeled and organized. And this is so you can flip to Okay, I need a base patch. Okay, let me flip through these on and just keep going through until I find the one I want. Boom, You’re good. So this is something that you should also be implementing with presets because the what we’re wanting here is to streamline everything. Once everything is streamlined, your projects are a lot easier to create. Your creativity stays you with a lot quicker, because again, you’re not searching through a 1,000,000 folders trying to find something. Ah, and you see this a lot with collaborations when you’re collaborating with someone you. But I mean, there’s nothing more exciting them when you’re actually in the studio. with someone working on a project together, and nothing slows that project down faster than when you have unorganized files, especially if you have someone who doesn’t know your desktop like you do or your computer like you do when someone comes in and they don’t know how your stuff is filed, they’re going to be very confused. They’re going to struggle to find things, and it’s going to slow the process down even more. And the fun of that collaboration gets sucked out of the room so quickly. So this isn’t something that, obviously this is something that you should really be doing for yourself. But it also helps you out and makes you look better when someone comes into the studio with you. And you’re able to get things done a lot quicker because you have a system in place that is completely organized for your samples and your presets. So your project is just getting busted out as quickly as possible, so that is number one on the list. Get a system in place for your files be organized in on top of it. This is something I think you should be taking into account weekly cause I’m sure almost all of you have a spice account where you’re constantly downloading sounds. And this is something that you’re probably doing while you’re actually working on a project which we will get into a little bit later about separating those kinds of sessions out while you are working on projects. I’m sure you’re going in looking for sounds. Looking for samples, downloading those. Well, Are you going back in and re organizing them? If you do have an organized system, this is something you should probably be doing weekly to stay on top of it. Make sure you have fresh new sounds in all of your sessions, and they’re where they need to be. So you don’t have to do any sort of digging around now. The second topic that we’re gonna be talking about today is templates. Templates are another big, big, big thing that you should be implementing. I think this is ah, one of the biggest things that producers disregard. Ah, and it’s it’s it’s tough to open up a project that is completely Brent blink and, uh, get your ideas onto that campus. You know, starting with a blank canvas is very difficult. And you kind of lose some of the creativity and inspiration because it’s very intimidating looking, gambling project going. Okay, Now where do I start? And this is something that I think templates can kind of cure a little bit. Obviously. One of the main benefits to having templates set up is four ah, streamlining processes, just like we were talking about before with file organization. If you have a streamlined process where you can open up a template that’s got all of your most most used BST, some of your most used plug ins for those specific v ST’s um, all of your buses set up because that’s another very important thing is if you have your bus presets set up things, you know, maybe there’s a specific reverb effect that you always use on your leads or you always use on your snare wolf. You have this bus Sorry, set up in your template. You just have to route things to it. That’s done. No need toe open up that Ah, that plug in, adjust the settings and get it to where you want. Everything is quickly streamlined. The cool thing about presets twos you can just have so many of them. So you can have different ones for different genres, which I think is really good. If you know that you’re going to be using really bass heavy stuff. Maybe you’ve got all of your leads and one folder with serum loaded up on those ones. Will you go? Okay. This is obviously this is gonna be a really dirty Basically, let me have a distortion plug and already put on this. So I just need to open it up. And maybe you are even have a preset for that distortion. Plug in input so you can just tweak settings and get on your way and do things very, very quickly. Templates are a really great way of doing this in just speeding up the process of everything. I’ll explain how I have my production templates set up. So the first thing I have are my drum sounds and I’ll load in tracks for all these. And I usually use a drum sampler for all my drum. So I’d load in a drum sampler for all of these drums, and I’d label them kick, snare, clap. Uh, hi hat, Tom. I’d have all of these everything already labeled There’s a drum sampler ari up, and sometimes I have, ah, specific plug ins I use for specific drums, which I’d already have loaded. Um, and then that allows me to just open up the drum sampler, go through my organized kicks, click through them, find something click and drag, and I now have my drum set up for the entire project. Um, and then blow my drums. I have my leads with a bunch. You know, I’ll have, like, um, main lead second lead. Thirdly. Then I’ll have a pad, maybe some chords, piano. And all of these have their associate ID plug in’s already loaded in them. So for a lot of my leads, I just have serum already loaded for piano. Obviously, I would have the same piano sound I used in just about all my tracks already loaded up so I can just click on that and start playing the piano. I don’t have to load anything or wait, um, and spend that 30 seconds to a minute to actually get going on trying to write something. And once I get everything set up, everything’s color coded, and I think color coding things. One. It helps you recognize where things are? You know, if you need to get to a lead, you already you’ll know where your leads are. There labeled and they’re color coded. So your mind will so consciously remember. Okay, I need lead. Okay, We’re going to that color. Boom. There it is. And there’s no scrolling up and down trying to find it. Especially if you have, like, your kick here base here sub here mainly than your pad. Then you have your snare at the bottom. It gets really confusing. Um, And again, the a lot of this is just trying to streamline stuff so we can get through the process a lot faster. It’s all about having very structured time management. And these are the systems that you can put in place to ensure that that time management, as is, is as good as possible. And with templates, I really think you should This is something else that you should be going back to weekly, maybe not weekly, maybe every two weeks. But when you ride a track, keep in mind What are the things that are working and what’s not working? How can I tweak this template to my best preference so that it can be quicker and faster every time you get in and it’s all about adjusting knows you need to, and you need to make sure that your systems are you need to make sure that your templates are actually working for you and your benefiting out of them. If there’s something you’re not using, ever, maybe you can room remove it and clear up some screen space. Or maybe you get a new plug in that you’re constantly using. Adjust your template so that’s in there. Um, and you know, there are what I really like about having a temple is set up to for my master bus. I’ll have specific things that I used to measure stuff, Um, or take a look at the low end or the high end of the track. So these things are already in there. I can just turn them on. Good to go. I don’t have to tweak any settings, so you really need toe, sit down and kind of take a look at your most repetitive actions. What are what are the most common things that you’re pulling into your project in that you’re using and how Can you put that into a template? So it’s already there. You don’t have to waste any time. And like I was saying before, I think preset are plug in presets are super important for this task to I constantly find myself loading the same plug in on the same kind of track with the same kind of preset. So I think it’s very valuable to recognize plug ins and presets that you constantly use, whether they’re presets that comes stocked with the plug in or not. I think you should create your own presets if there is a specific setting that you tend to reach out for create while you’re working. Because if you can just load this preset in and even better if you have this set up for a bus channel so you can just route something to it and adjust the volume of your bus to adjust the mix of the bus. Uh, your process is just is just gonna become so much faster now. I don’t think this is something you should just do for production. I think you should create a mixing template, and I think you should also create a mastering template. If you are doing your mixing and mastering, and we’ll get into that next because there’s a reason why I think you should have separate templates for these things and not mix within your production stage. And that really has to do with separating out your sessions. So what do I mean by separating out your sessions? Well, let’s first get into this topic. Let me just paint a quick picture for you, which I’m sure this is. I’m sure this applies to everyone listening, because this is something that I would constantly do almost every single session you open up a project and you pull in whatever VSD it is that you want to use and you’re trying to come up with a lead. But you don’t know what sound you want. You flip through some presets and you decide I have used a majority. These presets I don’t really want use. Um, let’s come up with a new one. So you spend the next 30 year 45 minutes designing a sound. Now you get 45 minutes in, and now you try writing. Ah, lead to it. But you can’t really get anywhere. And you’re about our 15 in the end of the project now. And you, I’m just not feeling it today and you exit out now. The issue with that is you didn’t do any writing. You started to create something, but it wasn’t actually a track. You were just sound designing and the issue with this and the read. More likely the reason why you dipped out on this project only an hour in is because you weren’t actually writing anything coming up with ideas or being creative. You were doing a very technical process of sound designing and tryingto fit something in your head that you imagine. But when the sound didn’t turn out how you imagined it to be, you weren’t impressed with it. And a lot of that has to do with when you have your sound. There’s a specific melody that’s probably going to go with that sound. And then there’s gonna be some processing that goes with that to make the sound sound even better and get it to the idea that you were thinking of in your head. So the biggest issue with this is just the fact that you’re not actually doing any writing to come up with the ideas for the track. You were just trying to do some sound design. Um, which sucked out all the creativity of your head because you had such high expectations of this one. Sound didn’t get to that point. So you weren’t happy with it and want to leave. This is where you should be separating out your sessions. You should have a sound design session in place. So once a week, you open up your sound design project and that’s all you’re doing for maybe two or three hours. You’re just designing sounds and presets. This helps. So when you open up your next project, your fresh you’ve got fresh new leads and sounds that you’re super excited to use that you haven’t used before. And you’re not going to spend the next hour to trying to come up with a sound for this one session just to quit on it and then you’re done and you’re not wasting any time again. This is all about making sure we’re not wasting time so we can make tracks as quick as possible to become a full time producer. And this is something that I usually do about once a week Oh, about once a week, I’ll spendAH whole session where I’m just sound designing. I’m coming up with ideas for new leads and bass sounds. Ah, and you know there’s a really big benefit to actually doing this. If you implement this and you’re able to get in, let’s say five sounds per session. Within four weeks, you’ll have. You could sell that as a sound pack, but in about two months you could have an entire sound pack Where if you have a website set up, you can load up your sound packs on there and have an actual store where people can go and buy them. So you’re creating a riel benefit, not just to yourself for your tracks, but in the future. When you want to sell some of your sound packs, you can put them together, and no one has thes sounds. There’s a riel, huge benefits, actually separating these sessions out now, on top of having a sound design session. I think your production sessions and your mixing sessions and your master accession should be all separate. There is a science behind this, so when you’re in a writing session, that should really be all you’re doing. You’re not doing your file organization. You’re not tweaking your templates. Your not sound designing you are just trying to write music and trying to write as quickly as possible. Now, when you’re in this riding mood, your ideas and your creativity are significantly going to increase when you are just focusing on that when you’re just trying to write a melody, just trying to write a baseline. If that’s all you’re focused on actually typing in the notes and adjusting the links of things, you’re going to get that creativity out very quickly and be very inspiredin ideas will come insanely fast when you’re not focused on these other technical things that get in the way of your creativity. So once you actually get your writing done, then I this is now. This is just what I do, and I found it to be the best streamline process possible where I waste the least amount of time. Ah, and I’m actually committing to finishing a project because that is the most important thing when it comes to time management, productivity and actually writing music is finishing tracks going through their producing stage, mixing stage and mastering stage. So I think the best way to actually get yourself to physically go through that is to separate these sessions out. So you know when the next stage starts, you know? Okay, productions Done. Now what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna export everything as wave files and import them into your mixing template. So now your brain is switching its you’ve still got the creativity on. But you’re now going into more of a technical process, so you’re no longer focusing on the creativity. Forget about that. Now you can get into the technical side of things and really worry about how things are sounding within your track and within the mix. And this also helps you so you don’t open up a V S t and start tweaking a sound or you start changing some notes around. It really makes you focus on what it is you’re actually doing, which is mixing. And I’m sure I think this is probably something that a lot of you struggle with where you produce, but you don’t actually mix because you’re not happy with the track and you’re kind of over it. Well, then your production becomes really good but you’re mixing. Skills are lacking and falling behind, so we want to use to be at the same level in increasing at the exact same level. In having a mixing template is probably the fastest way for you to really increase your mixing skills because you know you’re switching from this writing and creative process to a more technical process, and you’re no longer going to be trying to fidget with a melody or a baseline or a lead, um, or all these specific types of things. So once you’re done with that mix, then you can export it out into a mastering template, which mastering template is super easy to actually create. Um, you know, because you only have one file in there and whatever plug ins you use for mastering and again that is just like moving from you, it’s you. You’re able to actually watch you move from these different stages, and you can understand what stage you’re in at one point and so you can see the ending of the track coming. And that’s what we want. We want to see the end, and we want to see the finished product. We want to get the project actually done and get it out. So the fourth thing we’re going to talk about implementing is checklists. And this is I think a lot of producers disregard this. This is Ah, this could be really, really useful for you to actually see what needs to be done in your project. And I mainly use checklists for mixing and production. I think I think that’s where you’ll find the most value out of them. The best thing to do is you know, if you batch your sessions where you write a track for a couple of hours than you take a break for four hours or you open up the project the next day, same goes for mixing. You’ll want to take a look at what needs to be done. What are you missing? What are some elements you want to adjust? Take a quick listen through the project once or twice and jot down ideas. Do I want a new basically, Do I want a counter melody for this lead? Um, OK, and I’m not sure I like the patch on that. I’ll write that down. So these are things you want to write down that you might want to adjust or look at. So you have a clear road map of what needs to be done. And it’s really nice to be able to actually cross things off of your checklist. Because then you you physically see something being done and you feel like you’re getting closer to the end and you get more inspired when you’re able to check something off, move onto the next thing. Ah, and you’re not clutter trying to think for an entire hour. Okay, What do I need now? I need this. Let me try this. I’m not sure if I should do this. Let me try it anyways. So when you actually have things written down in a clear road map of what you need to do, it makes things a lot faster. You’re able to go through the project in a more confident manner, having checklist or something that you should be applying to just about everything that you’re doing. Ah, as faras music. Oh, so you know, I think creating like a weekly task list. Same with a monthly task list, um, in creating subject lists, when in these for next action items that you need to do in order to complete the specific task. This is something you should def definitely be implementing as an artist. Maybe you want to set up a website. This is something you can put on a on a monthly check list. And if you don’t get done that month, you can just move it on to the next month. But you gotta be making sure that you’re actually reviewing these task lists, too. Check things off, makes your actually achieving goals and doing things you need to do. Maybe you need to create a post for next week. You can put this in your weekly task lists or even put it on your calendar as a reminder. These air really good processes that you should be implementing. This is a really good process that you should be implementing in your day to day as a producer, especially if you’re wanting to go full time. You know, when you write your goals down, what are the action items you need to take in order to get to those goals? That’s something that we actually briefly talked on in Episode seven, when you’re trying to set up goals. This is something that you should be doing with those goals is creating next action items to get yourself to hit that goal. And you know it’s making smaller goals, like setting up a website that’s a great one to do. It takes some time, but it’s super easy to actually create a website. Get it up and running for like, $15 which I do think all of you producers should have a website, especially if you want it like where I was saying before, cell sounds very great way for you to start to brand yourself and put your own signature sounds on things, especially if you know, if you want to create, maybe you’re mastering and you want to create ozone templates that you can sell or presets that you can sell online, that that’s a great place to actually implement that and start making some money. So the fifth and final thing that I want to talk about today is the 80 20 rule, also known as the Peredo principle. This is something that has completely transformed the way I look at things and judge what’s actually working and what’s not. Now what the 80 20 rule is, is that 80% of your success actually comes from 20% of your effort. The same goes for 20% of what you’re actually doing is causing 80% of your issues and pain and heartache. So what you want to do is and it’s crazy how the numbers actually add up with this. It isn’t approximate. Sometimes you can have 95 5 Sometimes you can have 90 10. But it is crazy how the numbers actually work out. And this is something that you can do. Ah, if you really sit down and think about it and work through this 80 20 I’m sure this applies to a large majority of whatever it is that you do on a daily basis. Now, how can you actually implement the 80 20 rule? This is something that I think is super useful when you’re trying to figure out exactly what your sound is, or maybe what genre you want to work in. And this is why I tell a lot of producers to working every genre that they possibly can because they’re going to find one that really sticks, that they make really well that they’re really unique at creating and they can start creating this in a large amount and start pumping out and get known for that genre, especially with a specific type of creativity that that’s tied with that. So you want to generate 90%. You want to put 90% of your effort into something that’s actually going to result in 10%. But once you grab that 10% and you can focus in on that, that will turn out to be your 90% where you kind of condone Omine. Eight, this specific genre. And again, I mean, this is something that I’m sure you can apply right now, as we’re talking about time management, if you don’t have these file organisation set up templates, separate sessions, that’s probably what’s causing 90% of the issues with your production. So this is a rule that you can actually implement in so many different things within all of your different processes. Used the 80 20 rule to actually look at what is what in your life is keeping you from producing. Are there certain things that you can eliminate that’s not really getting you as may results as you want to, You can actually start producing more or maybe within producing their specific things you can eliminate to make it more fun and get more of the effort out. And so, ah, lot of what the 80 20 rule is is for eliminating the waste. You want to get rid of the stuff that’s holding you back so you can implement and focus in on the things that are going to get you more successes and make you more happy. Now I’m gonna add in a six thing here just cause I think, um, everyone should be implementing this education is, ah, huge thing that you should be implementing in your life in the best way I think to educate yourself is to read there so many books out there that really help you focus on figure out time management and becoming more productive. And as producers, I know there are a more majority of you that do not read, and I will tell you now that is the one thing that will probably set you apart from the rest and get you to where you want to be faster than any YouTube video out there will show you. So I want to talk about a couple of books that I recommend for time management in productivity. Right now, what I’m reading is getting things done By David Allen It’s a great book on creating a system for tasks and really getting everything off of your mind and onto paper so you can stay more focused on each task at hand. Two. Great great great book. If you don’t want to implement a system for tasks, I don’t recommend you read this book just because if you don’t implement, it’s kind of a wasted read. But it’s probably the best book out there to get you set up on a great system that you will follow. And it really guides you in, streamlines everything, and it helps you get everything that’s on your mind that has ever been on your mind. On paper, David Allen actually helps you set up a filing system for you to review these things consistently and get everything that you need to get done. Done. Now, the second book is the 80 20 Principle by Richard Koch. Obviously, we were just talking about the 80 20 principle. This is a great book that takes you through the thought process of 80 20 how he’s implemented it with his clients and the results they get from it and how you can apply it not just to your business or your producer artists, but how you can actually apply this to your life, to be more happy and living more fulfilling. Life is a great, great read that I think everyone should read just cause there’s so many things in it that you can apply to your life immediately and see results right away and be less stressed, which everyone should be less stress, but they’re not. So I highly recommend you pick up that book. The last one is the four hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. I’m sure you’ve heard of this book is a very, very popular book. If you’re looking to get out of the day to day grind of an office job, if you do have an office job, this is definitely the book for you then. Ah, there are so many things you can implement in this book. To be more productive, be more on top of managing your time. Work less work smarter is the ultimate guide toe, working less and working smarter. This is by far one of the best books I’ve ever read. Most people who read it agree, so I highly recommend this book as well. All these books are going to be up on the show notes at envious audio dot com slash Episode nine So head there there’s gonna be Amazon links for all these books. All these books air like under 20 bucks to, And if you dedicate some time each day, you’ll get through the books and probably a matter of a week or two. But, um, yeah, that’s gonna be it for today’s episode. Guys, I hope you really enjoyed it. I hope you got something out of this. I think time management is a huge thing that producers need to be thinking about more and implementing a good system so that everything streamlined so they can get tracks. Donna’s quickest possible. That quality will follow the quantity, so don’t worry too much about quality right now. Just focus on quantity, Um, and yeah, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at podcast at envious audio dot com. If there’s anyone you want to have on the shoring topics, you’d like me to talk about shooting email to that one had to envious audio dot com slash podcast to check out all the other episodes Had the iTunes rate review the show. Subscribe. Send this episode to a friend If you know so newest terrible time management. I know I know people that are gonna be getting direct links to this episode. I now have a Facebook group. It’s Elektronik. Dance money. Go ahead and look that up on Facebook. Join the group. It’s strictly focused on being a business resource for electronic music producers. If your electronic music producer you want to go full time, you have questions or you’re looking for answers. That is the group to be in. There’s no track feedback. There’s no promotion. It is strictly just about running a business as an electronic music producer and getting full time as a producer. So if you’re looking for a community like that, go ahead and look us up on Facebook Elektronik dance money. You’ll find it, and I can’t wait to see you in there. Alright, guys, I’ll see you next time. Take care
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