Here are the 9 ways to speed up the process for those who struggle to finish a beat or spend several hours on a single beat. I've been producing beats since 2009 and over the years i've seen steady progress in the time I spend making a beat, it shrunk down from +12 hours trashy uninspiring beats to 20 minutes beats that sound decent and rappable.
1. Limit yourself to a number of instruments.
Every beat is different and this is not a "rule" but rather a strategy, because sometimes you gotta add this many instruments in order to achieve the vibe that you want. But the more instruments you're gonna be adding the more musical (chords/melodies) ideas you gotta come up with (unless your layering/copying midi from a different instrument) and more instruments means more time spent on mixing and complicated arrangements decisions. I usually go with 5 instruments max or 6 if i wanna add a lead melody in pre hook/hook. 5 plugins/instruments can make a full sounding beat.
2. Have a go to drumkit.
Doesn't need to be massive, just a single one shot of each sound (kick, hi hat, snare etc) in a organized kit will save you some time. sounds that you mostly use in your production. if your DAW file browser uses name sorting then have an underscore '_' or a number '1' or exclamation mark '!' in the beginning of the kit name to have it shown first.
example: _MainDrumkit / !goto / 1Kit2020
One very popular drum kit we recommend is Bundle Legends of Trap Drumkit
3. Start with melodic elements, then drums.
Depending on type of hip hop beats your making tho. But generally when making a modern hip hop/trap beat I rarely start with drums. If i don't have a melody in my mind start with chords, because they'll be a solid foundation/easy inspiration for making melodies. Finishing melodic part first then moving to drums (and keeping each part as separate process) seems to be a time saver. So you finished instrumentation DON'T GO BACK and alter unless you really need to fit your drums (808s for instance) same for drums, don't go back just keep on progressing.
4. Stay dedicated (Hardest tip yet).
this is by far the worst part to adapt to. so you just came up with a chord progression with using this plugin x & this preset, you liked it initially, sounds cool to you? that's it you gotta stay dedicated to it and don't change your mind, don't go back to it, keep moving on. Most people i've been with spend very short amount of time making the beats, but spend HOURS just on sound selection. don't go through another hundred preset cuz you think that you'll find "something better", same for drums. we all know how painful to have the "perfect" hihat or snare for the beat.
5. Perfectionism is your enemy.
don't be overly obsessed & stubborn about changing/not changing something, it can be anything from tweaking mixer slider for 100 times, or checking if the midi note exactly on the grid, or cutting the lowend with 2 highpass EQs just so there's nothing bleeding or interfering with your 808s. point is don't get too technical, focus more on creative side.
6. Simple melodies just work.
short story: on my youtube channel (where i upload my beats) my most viewed/most liked beats are ones i thought they were throwaways simple that i spent 15 minutes on, and what blows my mind is getting sales notification from these beats more than other beats with fancy chord progressions & full instrumentation well arranged beats with fx, transitions and all the extra stuff.
don't keep it too simple tho, difficult part is to make it simple yet memorable/catchy/interesting. layering usually works for simple beats, and knowing how to arrange them in a creative way will keep the 3 minutes long beat interesting.
7. Cut all distraction off.
primarily your phone, switch off wifi & set it on silent mode, close your browsers, forget about social media, eliminate all sorts of distraction in your room
8. Start and finish.
Once you start a new beat, don't save it and finish it for later! Finish it on the spot no matter what, you may get bored of it after a day, you may lose creativity or ideas you've had. and it'll end up in your unfinished beats cemetery. Make it, mix it, arrange it, render it. And you'll be done)
9. Learn shortcuts of your daw (Bonus tip).
Self explanatory & probably most of you know every corner of your daw, truly a time saver.
The keys it to move on and never step back. all these producers you may have watched their 10 minute cook up streams never go back to tweak preset of a plugin (unless something sounds wrong), they just move forward. after all it's not a competition about who's gonna finish faster, cuz it's really just you the player, and your creativity. but if you're frustrated with time spent on each beat then try these and even if the beat you made in 20 minutes isn't your best, keep doing it. your workflow will eventually improve and quality of your beats as well.
Credit to original post on reddit posted by producer - flstudio/ableton, slightly modified.