Stop Procrastinating now: Welcome to the VMS studio blog about Audio and Video production as well as Web and Mobile development and design.
Procrastination is one of the most dreaded states for a person working in the creative world of video or audio production. Of course, some of the positions include mundane, everyday, pre- scheduled tasks, however if you are like us: a team that takes an order and completes the work inside the house without management coming from outside, then you know you may often find yourself unable to start the project, no matter how close the due date is..
This post will also address those who are working on web or mobile applications or plugins, writing them from scratch.
Issue: You have picked up a new order from the X company and you should complete the project in Y amount of time. The project is to be started from scratch or has very little material to give you any exact directions. You find yourself in fear of the vastness of it and don’t know where to start.
Solution: Procrastination ends when you want it to end.
There is no simple way to stop procrastinating other than actually stopping ad getting to work, however, there are things that you can do to get yourself going.
Creativity doesn’t just come the same way your bills arrive at the end of the month, it often comes throughout the day, knocking at your door, at the very least convenient times. However, in my experience of the past few years, I’ve noticed that there are certain things that can help you lure it to you doorway.
Simple as it sounds. Tiniest steps towards the project may help you get going. In an hour
or two, you might notice how you have dug deep into the project and you already have a direction to go to. Start by sorting out the emails with requirements, create a folder on your hard drive for your project, create the project file (in my case After Effects or Reaper) and start sorting the material that you have. Import it, rename it, this will get you familiar with the material as well as get your brain into the ‘work’ mode.
Don’t try to tackle a 5 day project in 1 day, you will only exhaust yourself. Instead plan
out clearly how you are going to approach the project during the 5 days. Increment the task into reasonable goals and you’ll notice that the big and dreadful project turned into smaller pieces that are easier to envision in your head.
I always stress this one out to my employees and partners. If you wanna stay in the
business then you better like coffee. It’s not a MUST, but during those slow days and light heads, coffee can bring a nice splash of energy to get you busting your brain on another project. It helps you focus and gets you excited. It can be consumed during work (watch out, don’t pour that black nectar on your fresh new retina display MacBook Pro) or during a 15 minute break. Which leads me to the point 4.
Of course this doesn’t mean that you need to take a break every ten minutes. Plan it out and set reminders. Start the project, take a break an hour later, set another reminder to get you back to the desk. The guy-next-desk, facebook, texts from girlfriend, or that favorite youtube channel can take up hours of your time before you realize it. After break, come back to your desk, do a little recap of where you are in the project and get going again.
Writing down ideas, schedules, todos, etc. can be done in so many ways now. There are
literally too many apps to personally try each. You may have a favorite app already, however, if you are doing in-house production (not field filming, etc.) then the chances are that you already spend hours and hours in front of some sort of a screen. Get a notebook/postit note and write down your thoughts there, it’ll introduce a different ‘environment’ which will break the ‘oh so tiring screen’ experience. Remember, small changes throughout the production, go a long way!
“No, guys, don’t bring you girlfriends to the studio sessions!” What I mean by this is that
a room with few of your colleagues who are working on other aspects of the same project (or even completely other projects) gives out a professional vibe, and inspires you to sit down at your desk and tackle your project too. Nothing is less inspiring than finding yourself alone in the studio, but when you have someone else busting his brains out, your brains get into the ‘work mode’ too. It’s all in the air!
You can even grab a person who knows nothing about your project and ask him for an
advice. Explain to him what your goal is and your vision. If you are lucky, you’ll get either a valuable advice, a different approach or thumbs up. At the very least you’ll hear yourself describe the project and this often helps you understand it way better. From my experience, teaching something to someone gives yourself a whole new level of consciousness of your skills and why you do certain things.
During a break, try and watch something in the topic of your project. If you are working on another crazy VFX title, open up a directors comments on an opening title of a movie, or may be look for some tutorials. Hearing someone discuss the topic gets your brain thinking over it and sooner than you know, you find yourself lusting to get back to the project and bust it up!
What are your ‘go to’ tips and tricks for tackling big projects and stopping procrastination? Leave a comment below, post your website and your tips might as well be helpful for us!