Now that your DAW session is set up, it’s best to take a break and get yourself physically and mentally prepared. Regardless of how much time you spend on a mix, it’s mentally taxing because of the focus and concentration that it commands.
You’re going to be here for a while, so best to be comfortable. Change into some comfy clothes, get the temperature of room just right, and adjust the lighting so it’s easy to see the various monitor screen(s). Get some coffee, tea or soft drinks ready, and something to snack on later.
Make sure that you have a pen and a pad of paper to write on to take notes during the session. Post-it notes can also be helpful. If you have a hardware controller, a roll of console tape (Permacell 724 - tape that can be reapplied without leaving any sticky residue behind) will be essential to mark it as needed.
Turn Off The Internet
The greatest time-suck for just about any kind of work is the Internet. It’s just too easy to check your email or Facebook, or go down the rabbit-hole of surfing the Web when you take a break. It’s one of the most difficult things to stay away from these days, but you’ll get a lot more work done if you can avoid firing it up in the first place.
Play Something You Know
This may be the single most important piece of advice during mix prep. Play a a song or a mix (or both) that you know well before you begin to mix to give you a reference point. This will calibrate your ears to your monitors and keep you from over or under-EQing as you go along.