My Time Management Tips For Filmmakers

time management for filmmakers

This post is for filmmakers who haven’t made a film in the last couple of years. If this is you, you are treading dangerously with your film career. Don’t waste any more time. Get back into filmmaking now or you’re going to let your career hibernate for many more years, even decades. Settling for hibernation is wasteful and can lead to life long regrets that will haunt you.

You can start with identifying how you’re spending your time on a day-to-day basis – this is what’s really stopping you from making films regularly. I’m going to share what I did, when I realised how bad my time management was.

1. Prioritise:  A lack of clear priorities meant I was either busy with stuff that wasn’t relevant to filmmaking or I spent time in the company of time vampires. Both of these drained me very quickly – I had little energy or even motivation to pursue my film dreams…and because I didn’t pursue my films, nothing got done. This vicious circle carried on day after day.

When I realised that I was spending my time unwisely ‘making up work’ to do, it made me furious. I started to prioritise my time properly and make sure that every day I got my high value/importance things completed first thing. This means I start my day by working on film related tasks – writing my screenplay, contacting connections, contributing on social media and promoting myself. I do these 5 days a week now and am very strict about it. You should start doing it too.

2. Eliminate: The problem areas in my life, I eliminated or outsourced as much as humanly possible given my budget. This meant 80% of the draining stuff that I could take out, I did just that. It was gone in an instant. What was left was the remaining 20% that was business related, which I could not eliminate because they needed doing. I just realised that I didn’t have to do it all personally – so I outsourced it. I now have virtual assistants/virtual secretary taking care of my stuff like bookkeeping, doing film business research, handling technical & IT stuff and so on. 

3. High Energy: There is no point in having all the time in the world, if you don’t have the energy to make use of it to work on your films. I used to operate my day like a marathon runner – I rushed through my day doing as much as I could, so that I could finish everything quickly and enjoy my evening too. This didn’t work very well for me because towards the middle of the day I lost steam and ended up dog tired. Basically, I had very little energy even though I had more time now! I slowly figured out that our daily lives might appear to be one long 8-12 hour marathon stretch, but in reality it’s actually a collection of sprints.

This was such a revelation to me! I then planned out my daily tasks accordingly. I now work in 2 hour bursts, then take a break for 30-60 minutes and then resume the next 2 hours and so on. These 2 hour bursts are solid, laser-focused film business work time – no web browsing, emails or texting or other time wasting stuff. I do all of that during my break. I am now always energised throughout the day – which is what we want as filmmakers, isn’t it?!

Fixing how I manage my time, means I get more done than before. As I’ve gotten better at it, I’ve started working less and achieving more. Don’t let time get away from you. Take control of your time and see the difference this makes!

Please leave a comment or ask questions if you have any on the above points.