Are the summer holidays perfect training for studio management?
With the kids going back to school the roads are busy again and people lament the rush hour traffic. I however breath a small sigh of relief as some modicum of a routine returns.
Although I love my children dearly the summer holidays are 6 weeks of plate spinning and context switching which makes getting anything done feel like an achievement. It occurred to me that it is rather like a bootcamp for studio management skills!
An average summer holidays day
My alarm goes off at 5.30am. No I am not going for a run or an early morning gym session - I am getting up to try and make a start on some work. Funnily enough in term time I have to kick my kids out of bed and drag them kicking and screaming into another day yet in the summer holidays they magically wake by themselves at 7am sometimes earlier.
I created a to do list the night before, things I really need to get done, but I am aware of the fact that a day in front of a tablet or tv will mean an evening of overly excited children. The list currently sits at 15 things. Some are quick, others I just want to at least make a start.
Kettle on, coffee made - let’s do this.
A good start is hampered by checking my email. Three more items are added to the checklist but fairly quickly I have my office admin done. Invoices raised and payments made I can move onto some project work.
As if by magic, the dulcet sounds of my youngest thumping down the stairs pulls me from Illustrator. It is ok as it was updating anyway. Breakfast is easy with this one and quickly the second plate is spinning and I go back to Illustrator. My wife has a meeting and has forgotten to prep so I am commandeered to help find notepads and print outs, the third plate is spinning as I alternate between computer, printing and checking the boy has eaten his breakfast instead of wearing it.
My watch pings to remind me that I have a dentist appointment shortly - it’s only a quick walk down so I duck out and catch up on a podcast. It is funny to enjoy this moment of solitude, punctuated by the percussive noise of the hygienists tools… normally this would be an uncomfortable experience.
Back to the house and my wife leaves for the day, the kids/house are my responsibility for now. I pop upstairs and child 2 is watching Glee on her laptop in bed. As much as I could achieve more if I left her to it I go toe to toe with the near adolescent child in a battle to get her up and doing something. She is tasked with cooking us a meal tonight which feels like a genius move though watching her scattering cook books across the living room makes me wonder what the kitchen will look like once she is done.
Four plates spinning and all is well… oh no actually plate 2 is wobbling as the boy is getting bored - he is currently eating an apple with a chopstick, so I task him with making me some things out of plasticine whilst I get this poster designed.
Poster ticked off my list I realise it’s lunchtime so we re-group and discuss what will happen this afternoon. It is always such a challenge to get a consensus so we agree to leave it until the last time based chore at the doctors is done at 3.30.
A scene of devastation
We return and I survey the house - books everywhere, kitchen a mess and my office space looks like it has been burgled… this will not be tolerated when my other half gets home so the last items on my checklist are shelved whilst I coax the children to help me get things ship shape. But wait! - we still haven’t got out and stretched our legs so I force them into the car and down to the allotment for an hour. Our recent holiday has given the weeds two weeks to take over the plot.. But that is something for the weekend not today.
Home and time to sort tea - result! Daughter is cooking though she announces we need an array of ingredients that were never going to be in the fridge so off to the shops we go, not before I have replied to some emails throughout the day and jumped onto a web project for half an hour.
The working day is technically near its end but I still have one or two items on my list so now the dust is settling I can jump into them. This is short lived as I remember it is my turn to do bedtime, shower and stories for the boy.
The house is still a mess and I have just remembered that I was asked to put the washing out when it finished, as I realise my error the door latch goes and my wife returns and is overjoyed to see I have failed in the “one job I gave you”.
Tonight could be a late one but it’s ok - we do it all again tomorrow… roll on Autumn Term.
A new cycle route - but people still being crazy
On a weak note