Productivity can be a huge issue when it comes to home studio recording – particularly because the advantages of recording at home can all too often become disadvantages, as well. The freedom afforded to record whenever you want also brings the freedom to take as many breaks as you want to, or take care of other things around the house. And these digressions can quickly derail any recording project.
In part one of our productivity series, we wrote about tips to getting the right home recording setup to improve your productivity. Here in part two, we want to focus on improving the recording process itself.
Make Specific Time in Your Schedule for Recording (and Stick to It!)
This is perhaps the simplest advice for home recording engineers, but also tends to be the hardest to follow. However, the reality of recording at home is that there is always something else that you could be doing, so you have to make recording a priority.
Carve out a block of time in your schedule for recording, and during that time do nothing but record. Get the dishes in the dishwasher before you start and leave the phone in the other room. Just as important as finding a time to record is making sure you record continuously during that time.
Keep Your Writing, Recording and Mixing Processes Separate
This also proves to be a big problem, as many recording at home are recording by themselves, which means writing, playing, recording and mixing everything. But when these things overlap, they can quickly become a drain on your time. For example, if you’ve got the basic tracks of a song recorded, going back in to add a simple keyboard part can turn into hours of writing a part you’re happy with.
Mixing during recording can have similar results, as maybe a quick EQ tweak on the first track you recorded turns into a lost hour. It’s probably impossible for many (if not most) home recorders to keep all three of these aspects completely separate, and is probably not advisable. However, you should realize that the overlap will likely cost you time in the studio, and you should reasonably separate the three as much as possible to improve productivity.
Make a Schedule for Your Studio Time
This final tip essentially is an extension of the first two: after blocking out a certain day and time for recording, plan in advance what you will work on during that time. After using your studio for a while, you know how long it will take you to set up and tear down your equipment for a session, so be sure to include that in the plan.
For the rest of your schedule, define what you most need to work on and then plan a specific amount of time to do this. Whatever your needs are, make a realistic assessment of the time it will take, and try to stick to it as much as possible. While you don’t want to make your home studio a stress factory – and you certainly don’t want to do anything that will stifle your creativity – you also want to be sure you actually get things done.