My operational intent is to work on commission projects on a first-come-first-served basis. In practice it is hard for outsiders to see this working.
Usually several projects are in varying states of progress simultaneously and each will take a different length of time to complete. I move from one to the other in what I judge to be the most efficient manner, but, interruptions do occur.
Breakdown of some essential piece of equipment is sometimes a problem but can largely be mitigated with a good redundancy plan. I’ll write about that in a later post.
I am most likely to take on interrupting work if the request is based on a safety issue. For instance, twice this year I have had to do handrail projects because the homeowner was concerned about a fall risk.
In the fall I have a period in which my schedule is frequently interrupted by a chimney sweep friend. He is an expert on fireplace safety and when his customers start calling for inspections and cleaning he starts showing up with urgent requests for firebacks and smoke guards and other items needed for fire safety. So again this seems like a legitimate excuse to accommodate his schedule so I don’t sense any conscience conflict.
However, I feel like I’m stepping out onto the slippery slope when people, usually friends, call and request something for a birthday, anniversary, of holiday gift. So far, I’ve always caved into those request too. Fortunately, these items are ordinarily small things and sometimes I have some completed items from which they can choose.
Finally, here comes the Christmas season. The Arts Council features an “Art Gifts” display, there is a “Holiday Gift Shop” run by a consortium of regional artists and there is an “Artists Open House” weekend gallery shortly before Christmas. All these require production of an inventory of items appropriate to the gallery.
After the opening of the new year there is a three or four month period of calm when I can get a lot of client work completed. I’m really looking forward to that now.