If I swing by a site, I might not get into the office until 11:00am. If it’s the beginning of the week, we will have a work-in-progress meeting. It gives us an opportunity to run through deadlines for the week and assess who needs help.
I’m often hungry by mid-morning so I’ll go into the kitchen and make a rice cake and peanut butter snack that keeps me going. I used to be so busy I’d forget to eat and wondered why I felt so flat. So I try to eat more regularly and have nuts on my desk, that sort of thing.
I feel like the day is just about putting out the most urgent fire. There is no structure, I don’t write lists, it is all in my head. Our practice manager Laura has taken a lot off my plate administratively, which allows me to focus more on projects and design. I have a tendency to procrastinate, but when you’ve only got small windows to do things you just can’t.
Lunch is generally leftovers. Because I’m not in the office all day I don’t feel like I need that mental break, so I often just eat at my desk. If it’s sunny sometimes we will order in and eat together out on the deck for half an hour.
In the afternoon there might be a client meeting. In the early years, those meetings were very much clients interviewing me, but now I am seeing whether we are compatible as well. It doesn’t benefit anyone if we are not on the same page.
Our projects go for such a long time and are rather intimate – particularly residential projects – so it’s important to listen to your gut feeling of what a person will be like to work with. A good client leads to great projects – it’s amazing how there is such a parallel there.
Getting out of the office is always a challenge so I call the studio and clients from the car. I try to utilise the time in traffic as work time.
I have one night a week where my Mum picks the kids up, so if I have to meet a client later, I book that in advance for a Monday. Otherwise my rule is that I don’t work late or on weekends.
I’m always the last to arrive and the first to leave the office, and I used to feel guilty that maybe I’m not working as hard as everybody else. I know my team doesn’t think that, but it’s that silly thing we carry in our heads that we should be working the longest and the hardest.
I’m supposed to be home by five but I’m always late. The girls and I might head to the grocer before they jump in the bath. We do carrots in the bath and the girls love it – you empty the plug and there is a smattering of carrots at the bottom of the bathtub! They really enjoy that time playing because they haven’t seen each other all day, so bath time is usually quite long.
Children are such an amazing sense of priority. I used to be at work until nine most nights before children, whereas with kids you have to draw a line in the sand. Some days I could work 24 hours a day, but you just can’t. Being a parent really forces you to prioritise and delegate.
Ben usually gets home at 6:30pm. While we’re prepping dinner Ginger will do her homework at the kitchen bench and Ivy will do some colouring.
By the time dinner is on the table it’s usually closer to seven, which people might be horrified about, particularly for my four-year-old. Dinner time is always us sitting down at the table, talking about what happened in the day.
We try to have the girls in bed by eight. Sometimes there is guitar practice and Ginger will do five minutes before asking if it’s enough. I’ll say, ‘no, fifteen more minutes’ and you sort of think, are we being pushy parents? She loves it, but the act of having to practice challenges her.
Lately there has been lots of work to do after the girls go to bed, but I love the nights when I have nothing to do. I will just flop on the couch and watch some trashy reality TV – it’s my guilty pleasure. It could be anything from The Block to The Real Housewives.
We also have this desk nook, so maybe half the week I have to do some work when the house is quiet. I find I can’t do design work during the day because I need to be in the right mindset to be creative. My ideal would be that I don’t do any work at night, but unfortunately it isn’t realistic at this stage.
Even though I work at night, I have made it a rule not to read emails after seven. I find if I check them, it will be a client with a small anxiety about something and then I will worry about it and it affects my sleep. But I’ll still browse Instagram and things like that.
I’ve become obsessed with chai tea, I’ll have a bit of milk and honey and it is my favourite thing at night because it is a sweet, creamy treat.
I’m quite drained at the end of each day, so I haven’t got a lot of energy to talk. I just feel like I talk all day long to clients, to my team, to my children, I can’t talk anymore… it’s all gone! Ben goes all the time – he works really hard but then on the weekend he will cycle or doing some physical project. Whereas I’m just need that shut down time to sit on the couch, read a magazine. I need time to recharge.
I need eight hours sleep, I’m not much good on less. There is no technology in our bedroom – it is a bit old school, originally because I didn’t know about the Do Not Disturb function. But now I couldn’t think of anything worse than having your phone next to your bed.
I wish I read books at night, but that never happens because by the time I get to bed I’m exhausted.