Systems, Processes And Creativity

Daily Blog - May 20th 2021

Using systems, processes and a streamlined workflow doesn't sound very creative, right? For me, those are my number one creativity enhancers.

Systems, Processes And Creativity

I create checklists and processes for everything!

I do it because I want to focus all of my available "brain RAM" and mental energy on the things that matter. The creative stuff. The music, the art, the sound, the vision and "why" behind it, following my gut feeling, acting on spontaneous ideas, connecting with other people. Things only a human can do.

I want to create, not manage and troubleshoot. 

So I get the tedious, repeating stuff out of the way, by automating it (with clever software), delegating (outsourcing) it, or creating checklists and processes for myself and people I work with, so that, at the very least, we don't have to think about it while we're doing it.

You can create processes for everything from songwriting, to recording, mixing, mastering, setting up sessions, creating templates, managing and archiving files, sharing projects with others, publishing content and music releases, social media campaigns, Spotify pitching, label pitching and all the small tasks that are part of those big items.

The key is to build systems and processes that you can follow every time (or quickly outsource), leaving room in them for the creative parts that need to be unique and personalized and that actually require your brain power. That way you don't forget anything, you prevent mistakes and you can focus exclusively on those creative aspects. 

The following list offers examples of tasks that take a lot of time and can easily be built into a system, checklists or even automated processes that will make your life as a creator so much easier:

  • Setting up a new session
  • color coding your tracks
  • routing
  • scheduling rehearsals/recording time
  • sharing files
  • archiving and backing up sessions
  • bouncing rough mixes
  • exporting multitracks
  • etc. 

And you can go much further than that. Even the recording and mixing itself can be broken down into steps. Think "gain staging", "basic fader balance", "panning", "choose the right mic", "find the right mic position", "check the signal flow", "record drum samples as tuning reference", "check tuning in between takes", the list goes on and on. And some of these can again be their own processes that include a certain number of steps you follow every time. Or should follow, until you forget a step.

The same is true for songwriting or arranging. Everything includes processes and tasks that have nothing to do with the creative side of it.

So, I understand if making music and systems like that seem contrary to you. And I understand it doesn't sound like a lot of fun. Until you try it. You'll never want to go back, once you've discovered the power of it.

What can you automate, delegate or create a process and checklist for that you can follow? What can you get out of your brain and onto a piece of paper, spreadsheet or into a software program, so you can create more and better art?


PS: I often post videos to these daily blog posts in my Instagram Stories: @benedikthain

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