Focusing and an Experiment for Video Editors

Growing up I hated reading. I hated reading worse than broccoli and flossing. Somehow over the past 6ish years I have fallen in love with it though. I’m still a slow reader but I’m usually reading at least two books at all times. My most recent endeavor is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s not a book about tuning engines. It’s “an inquiry into values.” I’m only ~50 pages into it but already really digging it (a term that’s been stuck in my head because it’s in every other paragraph in the other book I’m reading). The other night I came across a few pages that focus on focus and an idea struck me. I realized this is something I’ve been slacking on and thought we could try out an experiment together in the edit bay to see if it helps us edit video faster.

Listening to music and editing (or writing) is one thing, but having a Gchat, skipping ads on YouTube, jotting down ideas for new posts, checking Twitter all while “working” isn’t productive. And I’m so guilty of this. In fact, I’m guilty of this most days – I haven’t been focusing.

The Experiment

I want to try the following three focusing techniques for one hour per day for the next week. That’s just 60 minutes or one Castle episode! After that I want to see how productive we were.

We’re not A/B testing. There’s no control group and there are many variables so this experiment isn’t very scientific. We will merely look at our results and judge from the gut on if this improved our performance in the edit bay. During the next week of editing let’s jot down our thoughts here in the comments section, me included, then revisit everything next Wednesday September 10th. If you’re reading this in the future feel free to join in at any time and give your input on how you did. Okay, our three focusing techniques are…

No music

Technique #1 is no music outside of what’s being used in your videos. No Pandora, no Spotify, no YouTube or iTunes. You can only listen to what you’re working on.

No Internet (including email!)

Technique #2, and the most difficult IMO, is no Internet. If you have to download a project element or look something up, do it. But turn off Outlook and Gmail. No Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

No cell phone

Technique #3 is no cell phone. No Angry Birds or whatever it is the kids are playing now. No texting or calls either.

Just you and your NLE

If you take away music, the Internet and your cell phone there shouldn’t be too much left to distract you. Just have a little time with just you and your NLE. One hour a day for the next week. Report back what you struggle with. Tell me if you think this is complete BS. Share if it helped and what you do to improve your focus while editing.

Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to hear how you did!

**Note: Some links above are affiliate links. These are not uncommon but most people do not disclose this information. All that means is that I’ll get a couple nickels or maybe even a quarter if you purchase something from one of them. It costs the exact same for you but I might be able to scrap together enough nickels and quarters for a six-pack one day. I’ll always be honest with you and will never recommend something I don’t fully believe in and vouch for.**

3 thoughts on “Focusing and an Experiment for Video Editors”

  1. Day 1 was both good and bad.

    The bad: Avid crashed. There was a ridiculously load Dev meeting going on feet from my desk. My assistant editor was home sick and she Gchatted me so I couldn’t resist checking up on her. I got a barrage of texts from my better half. Normally I wouldn’t have checked but I figured it would be better to respond now than make her wait and deal with those consequences later…

    The good: I got a ton done…more than I expected. I missed having music on, especially with the loudness close by. But I believe I caught a couple audio hiccups I probably wouldn’t have heard if I had had the music blaring.

    How’d you do?

  2. I worked from my dining room table on Day 2. I find working from home just as distracting as working in the office but I can muster up much more willpower to stay focused at home. I set my timer for an hour, turned on one of my favorite playlists and then realized what I did and turned it off and began working. I quit out of Gmail this time and didn’t miss a single email.

    However it was the hour of alerts. I had countless alerts pop up on my phone reminding me to do things and telling me when upcoming events are. Then my laptop chimed in asking to update both Adobe and my OS X (btw, I haven’t upgraded to Mavericks – am I missing out?).

    Overall it was a productive hour. I ended up not finishing what I wanted to finish and kept going for another ~20 minutes (this time with music).


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