5 Time Management Secrets That Will Guarantee You Make Slot

5 Time Management Secrets That Will Guarantee You Make Slot

Written by Soul Witness
🕒 March 23, 2021

Please make it….oh, please make it…PLEASE MAKE IT!!!!

I’m pretty sure we’ve all said those words over and over again as we watch our files being transferred…Slowly. Then, relief. We made slot. Barely.

If you’ve been through this exact scenario, don’t worry. Most of us have. But, if you find yourself in this scenario daily, well, then you may have a problem.

Hey, I get it. Sometimes stuff happens, there’s breaking news, equipment fails, your gear is broken, someone else is hogging the edit bay. However, it’s up to us as journalists to make sure we do all we can to make slot each day.

So, here are five tips that have worked for me over the last 10 years:

1. Planning ahead.

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As I mentioned, stuff happens, but on those days where it doesn’t, planning is key.🔑

Try to keep the story ideas generating. This business really is 24/7, nonstop. I’m always thinking of story ideas, and saving them for when I get in a bind.

Try to schedule things as much as possible. For example, if I call to schedule an interview with someone, and they can’t do it today, I say, “Okay, no problem. How about tomorrow? No? That’s okay! How about sometime next week?”

Of course, this works best for evergreen stories but hey, you’ve started nailing things down. Keep at it. Especially if you’re responsible for producing a show and booking guests.

I’ve made my fair share of those phone calls too. My goal is to schedule things two weeks at a time. I’ll spend a good amount of time (that I have after my day-turn is finished, we’ll get into that later) setting things up for the rest of the week and the following week. The more you can plan, the better off you’ll be.

2. Getting stuff done early.

Sounds simple enough right? But, it can be tough sometimes.

I’m not talking about getting your package done early, I’m talking about everything else. Whatever your shift looks like, if you get in at 8 a.m. or 2 p.m….Make the calls early, get the interviews early.

Waiting on an interview? Go get b-roll now! Using file VO? Find it now, download it now. Start a project in whatever editing program you’re using now. Write as much as you can about the story now.

3. Edit in your head.

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Okay, now you’re finished with the interview. Which soundbites do you remember most?

Where were they in the interview? Towards the middle? Was it the last thing they said? Which order should I put those SOTs in? What b-roll can I lay on top of those SOTs? What were my best shots that I got? Answering those questions while you’re driving back to the station can help tremendously.

This also requires ACTIVE LISTENING while interviewing someone. For this to work, you really need to pay attention to what the person being interviewed is saying and how they say it.

4. Unpopular opinion: Don’t log interviews.

I never really have. The only time I do is if I’m doing a long form documentary style piece, and, even then, me logging is pretty rare.

As I touched on in tip #3, if something they said sticks with you, then it’ll stick with the viewers. Recognizing emotional bites, and “the perfect short SOT to start off a package” takes practice. But, once you get it down, it’ll be one of your go-to editing tricks. This, again, requires active listening and memory skills.

5. Just get it done.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked in from a shoot and announced, “I love you all, but don’t talk to me. I’ve got to edit right now, so I can meet my deadline.”

Being upfront with your coworkers can seem harsh, but go ahead and do it. You can have a conversation with them today that will help ease any sort of shock or feelings of “that was rude.”

Just be honest and say something like, “Hey, I’ve been kind of struggling to make slot, so, when I get in from my shoot, I’m not gonna talk much. I just need to get in there and edit. Please don’t be offended, we can chat after I finish my work, but I really need to focus on my deadline first.” Trust me, most of the time people will understand and tell you to do your thing.

Like I said, we’ve all been there at one point or another. Don’t get discouraged, but take responsibly for your time and your work. You may need to start by really focusing on where your time is spent each day. Are you talking to a co-worker too much? Does getting coffee make you late every day? Do you get sidetracked on social media? Find out where your time is going and reroute it if you need to.

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