Time Management: Editing 8 Projects at Once
I posted this image on the left to Instagram as part of my weekly AMA and had a few people reach out wondering how it's possible to do or if I had any tips for managing a bunch of work at the same time.
To preface this a bit of context about me: I run my business full-time, I have a car, and I don't have any kids or a spouse. Both those things are good to keep in mind before reading the tips below because while these work for me they may not be the best method for you. You know that saying "we all have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé"? Gonna squash that idea with you right now. Privilege and different levels of access to resources means we all have different priorities for those 24 hours so don't beat yourself up if you don't feel as organized or on top of things as you see other people being.
Anyway here's some things I learned while juggling multiple editing projects at once:
1. Write it down: I used to use a purely digital system for scheduling and lists but then found myself forgetting what I was meant to be doing or where I was meant to be so I bought a bullet journal. I'm not great at it, sometimes pages stay empty, and it's not pretty by any means but the act of physically writing things down has helped me remember what I need to get done in a day and what's coming up. It's also a nice rest for my eyes since I spend so long staring at a screen.
2. Finish the first cut/first pulls and then move on to the next one: multi-tasking isn't really a thing. I thought it was for a long time but all it turned into for me was worrying about 8 things at once until I was too stressed to do anything. Now I take it one portion of a project at once. It's better to get a first cut or a first batch of selects done and out to a client for them to look at then to go back and forth between a few different things in a rotation, which is how I used to work. It's also best to close that email app while you're working too. Delivering a first cut is better to have it done on time than done perfectly. You can always tweak it during the revision process.
3. If you can switch between mediums, do one then the other and then back to the first: this is more for those multi-disciplinary peoples. Usually I'm balancing 2 or 3 video projects and a few photo sessions and I find switching from video to photo and then back helps my brain relax a bit and prevents me from getting too burned out on one or the other during a crunch time. I used to set aside one day for video edits and one day for photo but halfway through I'd either get bored or distracted or burned out and it would ruin my productivity completely.
4. Set proper delivery timelines and expectations: 2018 was the year of realizing I'm not a robot and can't crank out a video edit in a week while also handling other clients and running my business. Now it's 2-3 weeks for a first cut of a short doc and 6 for a music video. If a client's really in need I can do it rush for an extra fee but by explaining that upfront in the pre-production process it helps clients figure out their roll out and potentially save money for them.
5. Be the one to suggest the times and locations first: talking about meeting can sometimes take more times than the actual meeting itself. While I'm flexible with my availability the cycle of "I'm free whenever" helps nobody in terms of actually booking a meeting. Now I give a few dates and times. It's easier for the other person to say yes or no than a continuous game of scheduling battleship.
6. Prioritize and the re-prioritize: I have a digital to do list that is constantly evolving and moving around based on where I'm at and what I've done, as well as client needs and requests. Once I finish a task usually I'll re-prioritize what's left and go from there. If it's crunch time and I have a lot to do in a very short time I re-prioritize my entire life and figure out what's most important. Sometimes it's work, sometimes it's sleep. My health, both physical and mental, take precedence over clients (that wasn't always the case) and sometimes that means I have to say "this is going to be a little late" so that I know I'm sleeping enough and going outside often enough to feel like a real person.
7. Work when you're the most productive and stick to that time: this is one of the hardest things I've had to reconcile with because I'm usually most productive in the mornings. I'm talking 5:30am to 11am. :/ If I get up and start working at that time (after exercising and making breakfast so like 7am usually) I can get twice as much done in half the time. So I get up early. Consistently. It sucks, especially if I have to edit the night before on a deadline or have a late night shoot but if I start changing my sleeping pattern I go through long stretches of no productivity at all. If you find your time block that off for the things that need to get done. Book in a nap in. You'll have time for it now that you're working in your productive hours.
Ta-daa those are some of the things that keep me on top of my massive workloads. What keeps you working and productive?