In my years as a production artist, I have acquired some good habits I think help me to be more productive on a daily basis. I know the Internet is chock-full of blog posts on this matter, but this is more of my own personal take on the subject. I work in a busy ad agency that often assigns job tasks with due dates that may seem impossible at times. When the due dates start bringing pressure, every second counts, and that’s where these tips will come in handy.
This is one of the most important things to remember. It pertains to almost every level of the workforce. Having a clean, clutter-free work area keeps the work moving forward. There is no such thing as an “organized mess.” A mess is a mess, no matter how you phrase it. Not only is a clutter-free physical work area important, but the same rule applies to my digital work area as well. Having an organized digital file structure is just as important. Precious time can easily slip away from you if you are constantly looking for that file you need to keep your project moving forward. I think anyone would agree that a clean work area is a happy work area.
Prioritize Your Day’s Workload
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A lot of teams in this business will meet and prioritize the workload for the day. This is a great way to stay organized for the day and keep all tasks on point. It is also a good idea to create a to-do list; this would be a great time to utilize this tool. Creating a list of your prioritized work acts as a kind of brain dump, where you can free up your mind now that it is written on a piece of paper and it will actually help you remember these tasks in a weird way. I have noticed that some people like this concept, whereas others feel that a list is too much hassle or is actually a time waster. I am a big fan of the to-do list. I often wrap my head around one thing at a time and try to avoid any multitasking. A list helps me to make sure I don’t leave anything undone.
Have a Routine
As a production artist, I find that often the same task needs to be done to several pieces at a regular rate. This “routine” can start to wear on you and you might slip into autopilot mode, which can often lead to mistakes or oversights. Having a routine is a great way to get through those tedious tasks. I try to make them fun to keep them interesting. This can help keep your eye on the ball and can get you through your day. Another great routine you can incorporate is to “batch” similar tasks. If you have a number of items that need a similar task applied, do them as a group. You will be done much faster with a timesaving result.
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Working in a busy agency can be stressful most of the time. I like to try to be a cheery person in the office. I like to make people laugh, even when the chips are down. It helps everyone in the office and can promote a good, positive energy, which will result in better production. There are other ways to spread a good vibe – simple things, such as a compliment or just a friendly smile and nod while passing in the hall. Teamwork is important to the production field, and a happy team will turn out a better product any day!
Practice, Practice, Practice
As a musician, these three words mean everything, and without practice there would be no success. This would also hold true as you apply these skills to your daily routine. You may find one way works better than another. Don’t be afraid to ask around for some other ideas from your co-workers. With all these tools and a lot of practice, you will be shaving the minutes off your routines in no time.