Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Daily Routine

Developing a daily routine has really helped my productivity.

I’m usually up early, around 0400 - naturally I went to bed early too. I eat breakfast, then do computer work; check the e-mail, record on my computer any hand written notes made the previous day, write client correspondence, do design and bidding work, and prepare orders until around 0730 when I shower and dress for work.

My Regular Pocket Tools:
The day schedule - a single page outline style computer printout updated daily.
3” x 5” spiral pocket notebook
Presto Pen correction fluid marker
Silver pencil
Ink pen and graphite pencil
12’ tape measure
9" slip-joint pliers

Occasional Pocket Tools:
Aluminum folding pocket ruler - 72”
Small file
Scribe marker
Steel inside/outside pocket caliper

In the studio I first unload the tumbler and sort the cleaned items. Work pieces nearly ready for assembly get a rag wipe and a light spray of Minwax satin polyurethane to prevent rust unless I plan to apply some chemical treatment in a patina process.

The rest of most mornings I use to prepare pieces for forging, and work on design and assembly. I also run errands and obtain supplies.

In the afternoon an assistant arrives about 1400. We do forging until around 1600. Those items go into the tumbler for a timer-controlled 15-20 minute run. I turn it on as I leave the studio for the evening. With this schedule the studio functions quietly during the hours my neighbors are at home.

On weekends I often work in the studio if there are no other activities are planned. I use this uninterrupted time to experiment with designs and techniques and do quiet work.

Having a clear vision of what I need to accomplish each day and a overall plan of how to schedule the production process gives the work direction and momentum. Even with the best planning it seems as if a nearly unlimited number of possibilities for interruptions are ever present and must be accommodated. So the schedule is actually rather flexible in practice.

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