3 Tips for Improving Project Workflow

project workflow

Chris Barr, Motion Designer

“Now!” “Instant!” “Live!” Social media has taken the phrase “patience is a virtue” and shown it the door. With live video taking center stage this year, being ready to jump into action has never been more critical. As agencies are challenged with keeping up, work flow becomes an ever more critical part of delivering content quickly and efficiently. Here are my tips for a streamlined workflow. I am sticking to file organization since it can be applied to many places — not just social and not just creative production teams.

Why Should You Care?

  • Increased profit margins
  • Quicker turn-arounds
  • Creatives who are creating instead of hunting for files all day

1. Establish a Systematic File-Naming Protocol

With the fury and pace that media is being created and consumed, it is critical to establish a naming convention that is flexible enough to meet your needs. Currently, I find myself in and out of as many as seven projects a day, all for different clients. Some began months ago, but others are created and finished in the same day. This leads to an astronomical amount of separate projects which need to be sorted and maintained. For myself, having everything broken up by client and then by project within the client folder seems to work. First and foremost is labeling the project with a year_month_day date format. Directly after the date should be the client’s name, then the project name, and finally the version number.

systematic file naming 

2. Use the Color-Labeling System in Finder

I have started using the color-labeling system in Finder to quickly see the status of each project. Organizing by color makes it so I can keep all open projects at the top of my list, so nothing gets lost in the clutter. This way, I can maintain an idea of my work load.

Here is what my color-coding system looks like, but feel free to modify this to your needs. 

file color codig

3. Use Pre-Made File Structures across the Entire Creative Team

When I have a new project in production, I start by placing my pre-made file structure in the project’s folder. Regardless of what gets thrown my way, I have already established a place for it, which saves time and gives me peace of mind. As employees and freelancers are brought on or taken off accounts, it can be a nightmare to hand off projects mid-way through completion. However, that pain point can be alleviated when every project is contained in a familiar structure. Diving into the project, adding assets, and finding a particular file will be much easier with this structure than with a single folder that contains everything in a convoluted mess — or worse, random folders in multiple places.

Below is what that looks like:

file structure

I hope these tips can be applied in your everyday workflow to create a more efficient, organized way of doing things. This should allow you and your team to focus on making the best work possible rather than finding that file titled 58465484_image_large_final.jpg.

Likeable Media is a social media agency that is smart, fast, and likeable. Let us know your tips for project workflow below.