Workflow for ultimate productivity!


#1

Hey guys!

So since I just started getting into more “serious” music production last year, most of this (incredibly huge) amount of time I’ve been spending in my DAW has been unstructured, scattered action - not always knowing exactly what I’m doing - and has been more about experimenting and learning than just being productive. …well, I hope music production will always be experimenting and learning for me, but not at the cost of also being able to be productive as well when that is needed.

Now I can at least say that I know my way around music production good enough to make proper tracks effectively when I choose to do so. However, there is only so much time! In the recent I’ve been at most making 2 tracks in a week. Spending half a day on one track, the next half on polishing up the mix. Mastering, rendering all versions/loops, writing up keywords and description, and finally uploading could be done that same day if I sat up late, otherwise the day after.

Last weekend I had a bit of a epiphany though;
I compose a track until I’m satisfied with the composition itself, then I just save the project and start on the next one, and I continue to do so monday - thursday. Then I take the friday to render out all version, write up descriptions / tags etc. to finally upload it all. This way, I can actually produce 4-5 tracks per week! Now, I COULD make 4-5 tracks per week with my previous workflow as well, but it was just for some reason way more demanding and time consuming. I don’t know exactly why, but this new method made the whole process so much easier to cope with. I think it has to do with motivation and making the process more fun - the fact that now I can actually spend 4 days of just doing what I love; composing, and nothing else. Then just having 1 day of doing the “boring” work of tagging and description. This gives me a much bigger pleasure to work hard.

Now, at the same time I’m seeing some people uploading 3-5 tracks per day, if not even more! How on earth is this possible!? Could you please share some tips for me on how to tune my workflow to something even more productive?


#2

OK, first, love your work. :smile:
Secondly, this makes sense. The greatest bottleneck in producing music is probably ear fatigue. At one point, you just lose all objectivity and sense of mix. Constantly replaying the same passages makes you accustomed to that particular sound and to those particular notes and suddenly everything sound good. Sometimes I close my DAW happy to have created a cool sounding, well thought through melody line just to wake up the next morning, playing it and saying to myself: what the hell, when and how did I make this, why did this sound good?!!. So, switching that often between different projects makes your ears and mind fresh, therefore you get much more productive.

And those guys who upload multiple tracks daily probably just have dozens of finished tracks, either transferring them from another marker or uploading old stuff that’s been laying around on their hard drives.


#3

I feel your pain…I think part of being creative is being unorganised like this, trying ideas…starting stuff…coming back to some later…some years later that you forget about! I just don’t have the organisation currently to really go at it, so my music appears in bits every couple of months haha! I wish I could just work hard every day and do it to be honest.


#4

First, thanks man haha :slight_smile: I dig your stuff as well, always glad to see producers with pieces that sticks out of the crowd.

Yes! You are probably very right about ear fatigue, I haven’t thought about it but it’s damn true. After finishing each piece this week I’ve gone back to the previous ones with fresh ears as you said, and instantly noticed some tweaks that had to be done. Did that several times, little 10 minute tweaks.

Yeah I think I agree on that too, I’ve thought about it over and over and I can’t imagine anyone having the time to do 3-5 full tracks a day + all the information and uploading that is needed.


#5

Yeah, sounds pretty true. But I do believe that it’s possible to connect the creative part of production to some structured productive plan without one disrupting the other. It’s pretty hard actually, to keep the right mindset! I think the mindset of “producing for the trashbin”; not trying to make the best piece yet or something like that, is a mindset that can really push you forward. (and probably the only mindset that actually can get ya the best pices yet haha.)

But I see you have had some pretty good success here at AJ! :clap:


#6

Haha! I do ok. I find that when I upload, that’s when sales come. If I have periods of non creativity then it slows. But you can’t turn the tap on all the time AND have a full time job too :wink: it’s a slow process for me for sure


#7

Hi Pengus!

Making one track a day is one thing… making 30 tracks a month is another :wink: :musical_note:

I took a look at your profile… you have 29 items, and registered about a year ago? That’s about 3 tracks per month, right? Just wanted to get the math right :sunglasses:

Really, you’re on the right track (no pun intended) when it comes to streamlining production. There is a lot of “friction” when moving from one work task to another. Moving around in the studio, picking up different instruments, pulling cables, adjusting levels, opening up applications/plugins etc, it all adds up. Then there’s the “mental reset” that comes with switching from one mindset to another. Going from “idea” to “sketch”, then “tracking”, “mixing”, “uploading” etc, it all demands different perspectives and draws more energy from the brain. At least from my brain it does :slight_smile:

Here’s what I do (most of the time)… When I make “ideas”, I make 10. When I make “sketches”, I make 4 or 5 (out of the best ideas). When I “track” and dive into actual production, I try not to get stuck on details and never work on the same track for more than a couple of hours. If I’ve plugged in the guitar or if I have a vocalist in the studio, I try to put down recordings on more projects during the same session, rather than going directly into edit. When I “mix”, I frequently a/b and mix several projects after one another. I keep mixing sessions extremely short (10-15 minutes max) but instead I come back to the track a couple of days later, with fresh ears. So basically, doing one thing at a time, for an extended duration if it’s possible.

It may not be the best possible workflow but it “works” (pun intended this time) for me. What I like about it is I always have a number of projects in different stages of production so I can choose by inspiration when I sit down. If I have any :wink:

Oh, and what really saves time is having my favourite sounds and samples organised, and document templates ready. New ukulele track? Just open up the “ukulele” template, no real need to sit and configure all those tracks, effects, levels etc for every new project.

Last but not least, when I record from my keyboard, I double the tempo of the track and play twice as fast, then turn it back to normal. Saves 50% recording time. :sunglasses: :sunglasses: :sunglasses:

GOOD LUCK!


#8

This needs to be a bumper sticker. Very true.

Everything Stockwaves said is basically how I work, except on a smaller scale. However, I’ve only been implementing a workflow like that for less than a year. The take-away message is, stagger your work. Like Stockwaves said, have a number of projects in different stages of production. Ear fatigue is a time killer, you end up second (and triple) guessing your arrangement/mixing moves, and you lose inspiration all together. At least it’s that way for me.


#9

Haha, yes that’s 3 tracks approved by Audiojungle per month. I normally avoid any form of excuse, but in this case I actually gotta set this straight. I started learning music production 11 months ago, with a 4ghz laptop, regular headphones and no money. I’ve completed almost 110 projects since then (including some non-commercial / practice work) but less than 1/3 of the tracks I’ve made for AJ has been approved. It’s not easy for a amateur to get a lot of music approved here :smile: But trust me when I say, I’ve been sitting here basically EVERY day, including weekends. I’m totally aware of what you mean though, persistence is key to any form of success. There is no quick fix. But don’t assume I’m all talk and no work, that kinda hurts when spending all this time here haha. Persistance, I got! :smile:

It’s getting better though, AJ money got me a computer upgrade, monitors, headphones, midi controller and a desk, and as I said I’m getting the hang of producing. All your tips is great, although I’m not recording from live gear or using any vocalist, but I can see it applied anyway! I’m gonna start sorting up my sample library now!


#10

Seems like a great idea! Haha. Gonna try that! :smile:


#11

Great thread guys! Some nice tips in here. :sunglasses:


#12

I guess this thread isn’t so old that it’s better to bump it than start a new one on the subject.

Having practically no internet for about a month and only Once upon a time in the West and the top 100 sci-fi audiobooks for entertainment I was able to put a lot of concentration into this :slight_smile:

I have improved my workflow in several areas and would like to add them. Windows and Cubase 6 and maybe specific to the way I work but it might help someone.

At the start of making a song now I have an empty folder template that I copy into whatever genre folder I will save my track in. In the folder I have a sub folder for my masters, an notepad instance for keywords and everything I will need when it gets to upload time, the avatar picture, pdf for adrev. Also recently added, to stop confusion, a sub folder in my masters one for soundclud, adrev and youtube versions of the track. Having all these things in place already saves on lots of clicking around later on.

This tip is due to pc not being powerful enough, but now if my pc could handle it I would probably still work this way. Each song is two projects, my composition one and my mixing one. As a lot of people do I export each track to wav and import into my mixing project. The time sink I ran into doing this though was when, as always happens, I would want to change something in a track, notes or timing or whatever, I would have to re activate my composition project and change it and export again. If the original composition is heavy on plugins it can take up to 30 seconds before the project is active. And maybe I would need to do this many times. So now when I am finished my composition I export all the tracks as an archive. Because my mix project isn’t that heavy on cpu I can easily afford to import any of the archived tracks into it on make the changes there.

Of course project templates too. I have one for both the mix and composition projects. This is ongoing and probably to much to get into now, but keep developing your templates. When you are working, notice what things you seem to be doing over and over and think if there is a way to shorten the task. For instance, when I was putting a compressor on a channel for sidechain, each time I was having to do about 5 clicks when I opened the compressor to get it to the starting point. I saved that as a preset and now just load that preset in. Or even faster, is in your template have the plugin already inserted on channels you would normally use it on and have it turned off.

A broader workflow issue and something I haven’t yet landed on, is how to break up the week. I tried writing on the weekends and mixing and fine tuning mid week. This worked a couple of times but if I only had one song I got carried away with over the weekend I was left short and needing to write mid week anyway. A day of two halves, mixing in the morning the song I wrote the day before and in afternoon/evening work on a new one. I like this way, and would maybe I should put an extra day or two in between writing and mixing. I have also tried starting a song and mixing it and sending it off the same day. With the changes I have made above to my workflow and with my ears making quicker more definite decisions as I go along I can see this one becoming more possible in the future.

Short breaks will speed things up in the long run because you will make quicker decisions when you come back with fresher ears.
I thought I had more, I will add them if they come back to me.