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Want to make more of your time? Make a list!

Edge Studio

Lists are important to voice-over in many ways. You encounter lists in copy, and there are various ways to read them. There are lists of characters you may want to develop. Don’t just keep them in your head, write them down as you watch their characteristics grow. In a past article, we’ve even advised making a list of things you want but don’t really need or can’t afford – for some of them, somehow, writing them down decreases the distractive yearning. But most of all, making a list will help you make the most of your time. For example …

Schedule your day. What’s a schedule if not a list? Not only will it help assure you do everything that needs doing, but it will also remind you that there’s more to do when you’ve gone long. If you’re going long on one scheduled task, it’s generally time to move on to the next. (That is unless it’s a job that needs to be recorded now!) Be sure it includes some time each day for practice.

Make a list of what you’ll practice at. Practice isn’t just for novices. A professional VO talent should practice every day, for many reasons. To help keep the voice and breath in shape (preserving and enhancing range, stamina, limberness, etc.). To explore potential new genres and specialties. To critically listen and spot bad habits (and good ones!) and much more. On the subject of practice, see these articles by Edge Studio coach Danielle Quisenberry (“Improve Your Daily Practice”) and former Edge Studio coach Kristin Price (“How to Keep Your Sanity”). [As well as one we’ve added since: “Up your game: What to include in your daily VO practice.” — Editor]

Our point here is that, as your career progresses, so will the nature of your practice. There’s a lot to remember and a lot to squeeze into your practices over your series of 15-30 minute sessions each week. Make a list.

Freshen your resume, bio, and client list. Bring them up to date. And make a list of potential new clients and client categories. Already done that? Update and build your mailing list!

Are you ever tempted to go for a bike ride or shopping, or do you get s****d into Facebook, or stop work to watch the game or a movie on TV, or browse through that guitar catalog … (insert your favorite “waste of time” here). By all means, preserve your sanity, your health, and your social life by taking off what time you can. But a career as a full-time voice artist means you should approach it as a full-time job. When tempted to punt, first check your list. A list of alternative things to do – things that NEED doing but are easily postponed – will help put you back on track. Even if the next item on it is “throw out old scripts” or “straighten the shelves.”

We’ll end here because we hope we’ve made the point: Running a voice-over business should not be entirely seat-of-your-pants. There’s enough to do and remember that it helps to write it down, so you’ll use more of your time, more efficiently.

The more you think about it, the longer this list of lists will get. What’s on yours?