A Day With Architect Jenny Peysin
5:45am: I am woken up by the sounds of my 2-year-old daughter, Simone, over the monitor. She is usually demanding pancakes. It’s not a bad way to start the day and I have not had to set an alarm since she was born.
7:00am: We have gotten into a routine of putting Simone in front of soviet cartoons, featuring a middle-aged crocodile in a fedora, while she eats and I prepare for the day. There was some guilt about this screen time in the beginning, but I realized that it’s the only way to get through the morning and out the door. I have now fully embraced this as a necessary part of life. Her daycare requires a pre-packed lunch so I am typically making pasta before I have my first cup of coffee.
7:45am: My husband leaves for work early so aside from walking the dog, he is unable to help with the morning rush. I try to get Simone out of the door and in the direction of daycare. She typically insists on walking down our fourth-floor walkup herself, so I have built this inevitable delay into my morning timing. This way I can actually enjoy that time instead of constantly worrying about being late. I have been very conscious lately being present for each moment and not trying to rush to the next thing…it’s not always easy!
9:00am: My office is a 45minute train ride into Manhattan. It’s a time for me to catch up on news and do some people watching. I have an insatiable addiction to podcasts, so I never mind this time to myself.
I rent a few desks from an old colleague and good friend who also has her own practice. She, in turn, rents a larger bank of desks from a bigger architecture office. This Russian doll model of an architecture practice has been exceptionally functional and adaptive for all of us. Having the physical resources of a conference room and materials library and the ability to share employees has been key. Most important for me though is having someone around that can offer a second pair of eyes and an opinion.
I spend the morning catching up on emails and organizing my daily tasks. As a new-is company I am constantly looking for ways to streamline my work flow. I’m currently obsessed with the Todoist App as a way to visualize what I need to prioritize.
11:00am: It is rare for a day to go by without running out for a site visit. I am still mostly a one-woman shop (with some excellent part time help), so I am personally managing all of my projects in the Construction Administration phase. No matter how small the job, I feel like I am constantly picking up on new methods and detail ideas from the builders. I love getting into the nitty gritty of construction and have recently even signed up for a subscription of FineHomebuilding. I think I am a craftsperson at heart!
Today, I met the client onsite for our weekly progress check-in. The GC had started framing out the bedroom and bathroom walls and we realized that the closet doors need to be expanded to allow full use of the storage space. We also spent some time mocking up a framed opening to understand the relationship of the new trim and ceiling cove. My specialty is designing modern homes, but I love working in historic NYC buildings and discovering all of their quirks.
12:30pm: I mostly succeed at bringing lunch from home and end up eating at my desk. This is my way of not losing momentum with what I’m doing and maximizing my time in the office.
2:00pm: The rest of the afternoon is spent on reviewing submittals, working on drawing sets, preparing proposals, captioning Instagram posts and writing meeting notes. A lot of that is done while on “mute” during a conference call! I love the variety of work that I am faced with on a daily basis and have gotten quite good at multi-tasking.
One area of my business that I am actively working on improving is delegating tasks and managing my part time designer and intern. I find that having a weekly project plan with clear goals and deadlines is helpful so that they can continue to work while I am out of the office and check back in at the end of each day. Communicating what needs to get done and teaching the best way to do it is a major challenge of running a practice.
5:00pm: I am out the door at the strike of five. Though my husband is usually the one to pick up Simone from daycare, the evening is the only real time we get to spend as a family during the week so I try not to miss it. One of us feeds her dinner while the other entertains her with books and songs. It’s incredible the kind of things that come out of the mouth of a toddler, so this sweet time always flies by too fast. She is in bed by 7:45pm.
8:00pm: My husband prepares dinner while I sneak in another hour of work. These are usually projects that I am doing for friends or relatives that are not strictly architectural such as logo design or furniture selection advice. I try not to leave tasks that require too much brainpower for the evening. We have been devoted consumers of Blue Apron for over 3 years now as it takes the mental work out of dinner planning and still allows us to have home cooked meals most nights of the week.
9:00pm: We eat while watching the latest Late Show or Last Week Tonight and then settle on the sofa with a laptop to plan our next trip. This is my favorite time with my husband as we get to indulge our love for planning and logistics. Planning trips with a toddler has certainly added to the challenge, but there is nothing I love more.
10:00pm: I go to sleep early. I have always been a morning person!