The ability to simplify is an extremely valuable skill in todays seemingly complex world.
Let’s look at a few concrete ways of simplifying your workflow in order to help you do what you do better.
1. De-clutter Your Studio/Workspace
This is obvious, but important and a good point of entry.
The principle is easy:
- Get rid of anything you don’t need.
- Have a good place for everything you do need.
Also think about what you could change in order to improve your workflow. Is there something holding you back?
Do you have sufficient light? Maybe you need a new chair or a better MIDI controller?
Remember your workspace also very much exists inside your computer. Deal with that too. The above rules apply there as well.
2. Automate Backups
Making backups manually is tedious work, not to mention an extremely unreliable way of securing your work and digital life.
You should not trust yourself to do backups manually. Especially since you really don’t want to be thinking about doing it anyway.
Luckily backups are not difficult at all to automate.
I have written about it before in greater extent – read the full article “My Easy Automated Backup Strategy” here.
3. Create a Simple File Structure on Your Computer
When you are working you need to be able to find files and folders quickly.
Create a simple and logical file structure. Avoid long chains of subfolders.
Set up shortcuts so that you can get to your most used files and folders super quick.
Don’t let miscellaneous crap accumulate on your desktop. Instead, have specific folders for incoming and outgoing files and clean those folders up regularly.
4. Choose Intuitive Tools
When looking to buy new tools and software, don’t only think about the features.
Think about the design of the user interface, too. There are huge differences between different products.
Some things are just plain difficult to use.
But more often it’s not really a case of one tool being better than the other by default.
What really counts is how a particular tool suits your own personal way of working and thinking.
Go for what feels intuitive to YOU.
You should also think about how the product you are looking at integrates with the rest of the stuff you are using.
Your long term goal should be creating an ecosystem of tools and software where everything works together in harmony.
5. Read The F*****g Manual
Before you invest in any new tools though… Make it a habit of reading the manual first.
There is often information in the manual that can greatly speed up and enhance your workflow.
Yes, read the manual BEFORE buying something.
It will help you make a better informed decision. And you will get more out of your investment if you choose to go for it.
If you haven’t read the manuals for some of the tools and software you are already using, make it a priority to study them as soon as possible.
Simplify and Thrive
Simplifying is an underlying concept that affects your productivity on a very fundamental level.
To learn more about it check out my online course “Smart Productivity for Musicians”(update 6th Jan 2018: course not available anymore).
An entire chapter dedicated on simplifying and re-thinking your workflow has just been published.
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
– Hans Hofmann