Influence – it is always a good idea too know what drives you to a song weather it the bass the drums the vocal or the synths.
I like to know what made the artist like a song or what drove them to choose a list of song and grab techniques and trick the mix engineer used in each mix it helps me get to the end product faster and helps me build in my minds ear what it should sound like even before I touch a fader
Check mix- in addition to getting a understanding of what I would like the song to sound like having reference to what is current and helps me keep my standard and lets me know when ive gone to far and if I need to do more work to do I use this all the time when mixing it’s a great why to stay up to date with the times
Learn and deconstruct – with times changing and new techniques being developed ever day its nice to listen to what other engineers are doing and imitate it in your own way so I like to listen to what they may do on a particle sound deconstruct and reproduce it in a mix I may be working on of course I will also research how they went about doing what they did but I will then go and use there way of thinking to enhance my mix or sound
Be on the same page /roadmap – one of the best things is when you are on the same page as the artist as to how the song should sound. It just makes life better and makes for happier client all round I find that when they give you a list of sound that you both and discuss what they like and come back with a first mix you get to the end result much faster and may come back with what may surprise you both