Being efficient and saving time wherever you can is the key to success for any video editor. To help streamline your process, we’ve listed 5 productivity hacks to help you stay focused, work faster, edit smarter and help you stay methodical in your post-production approach.

1. Invest Time Upfront in Organizing Yourself

If you are a video editor working under an intense time constraint, you make think that taking a an hour to organize your files would be counter-productive.

This couldn’t be more wrong.

Creating a good filing structure for all of your media is imperative to both successful and quick editing. Without a well thought-out organizational system, your files can easily get misplaced or accidentally delated. Both of these will cost you time, and money, in the long-run.

For every new project it is advised to create a new main folder, with a consistent sub-folder structure beneath it for all of your workflows: photography, video editing, graphics, music, footage, documents, etc.

You can even install a media project management tool like Post Haste to automate the process for you.Post Haste helps you setup file and folder templates for your projects.

Whatever folder structure you choose, create one, be consistent in naming and use it for every new project. It will help keep your assets organized and save you tons of time in the long run.

2. Get Rid of All Distractions

In today’s multi-tasking, content bombardment world it is becoming increasingly challenging to stay focused on one task for any considerable amount of time. However, for every interruption in your workflow, it is proven to take up to 25 minutes to get back on course.

So how do we avoid distractions?

First, block all social media notifications. Incessant pinging of new messages are a distraction you can do without. You can install an app to help you with this. However, I prefer the old-fashioned method of just quitting the programs when you are focused on editing. Then set times to check your email just 3 times a day. Most things can wait.

Second, opt to edit early in the morning while most people are asleep and your mind is fresh. It’s been argued that the most successful people in the world start their day at 4am.

If shifting your hours to the early morning proves too challenging, then at least try working in isolation. If you are usually office based, ask to have a ‘work from home’ day. If that isn’t feasible, find the times when your workspace isn’t teeming with people.

3. Learn Your Shortcuts

For each editing action you need to make, from cutting to playback, there is a simple keyboard shortcut you can probably perform instead.

Using a keyboard shortcut may only save you a few seconds for each editing function; however, if you are doing extensive editing full-time these few seconds saved here and there add up to saving hours (if not days). To this end, learning your keyboard shortcuts is an essential productivity hack.

You can start learning the shortcuts by printing a cheat sheet and using it as a reference during editing. Here are a few cheat sheets for some of the most popular video editing programs:

Apple Final Cut Pro X Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet

Adobe Premiere Pro Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

Avid Keyboard Shortcut Cheat Sheet

DaVinci Resolve 14

In conjunction with a cheat sheet, investing in either an editing keyboard or a keyboard cover is also recommended. Both will display the editing shortcuts as icons on each appropriate key of your keyboard. However, the benefit of a silicon keyboard cover is that you can keep your current keyboard and if you change software in the future, it is a lot cheaper to get a new cover than a new keyboard. LogicKeyboard sells covers for most editing software and keyboard types:

Whatever method you choose, the keyboard shortcuts will save you a ton of time and might even speed up your editing by as much as 50%.

4. Use a Note-Taking App

During the editing process, you will undoubtedly think of things you want to change or revisit. However, stopping what you are currently doing to tackle that thought is a definite productivity killer.

Instead, capture that thought - or even image - with a note taking app and come back to it at the right stage of your editing process.

The best note-taking apps include search ability functions allowing you to find your idea in a matter of seconds. Also, quality note-taking apps offer an option for you to dictate your notes. Lastly, most note taking apps store your moments of inspiration into the cloud so that you always have your comments as long as you have the Internet.

Note taking apps come with a wide variety of functionalities. Popular fully loaded apps include OneNote or Evernote. However, in our aim to be devoid of distractions during the editing process, consider ones with fewer features like Simplenote.

5. Outsource Work That is Time-Consuming

Various parts of the video-editing process are extremely consuming. Take for example the process of transcribing interviews or adding subtitles to your videos. Both of these tasks are not only dull, but take hours.

Outsourcing this work to a specialist company is an important way to save you time and money.

For example, at Happy Scribe, we can transcribe your audio or video file using voice recognition technology within a matter of a few minutes. You can then export that text into Word, TXT and PDF or in SRT & STL for subtitles. Giving you a few more minutes to make an even tighter edit.

Focusing on your core competencies is key to remaining productive.

The Bottom Line

Incorporating these 5 productivity hacks into your video editing process will help you stay on track, complete your project on time, and make your post-production process stress free.

Do you have any other time-saving techniques? Drop us a line and let us know.