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A Day in The Life: David Trubridge

A Day in The Life: David Trubridge

David Trubridge is a New Zealand furniture designer. Here's how he gets through the day, how he organises his time and how he gets his creativity flowing.

What time do you wake up?

Usually between 7am and 7:30am.

What’s the ideal way to start your day?

Lying in bed listening to the birds. I love the gentle and quizzical exploratory notes of an awakening tui.

Do you have any morning rituals?

I get the breakfast ready for us both. It is always avocado on homemade bread and gallons of green tea for me.

How soon do you begin doing work-related things, i.e. checking phone or emails?

Not until I get to work, which isn’t until after 9am.

What’s your media consumption or interaction like from the morning onwards – do you listen to podcasts, radio, watch videos, read books and magazines, visit new sites?

After breakfast, I read The Guardian, preferring the opinion/lifestyle/arts articles once I have glanced at the news headlines. I listen to RNZ Concert while driving to and from work. Sometimes I scroll through Facebook in the evening. And I read a book before going to sleep.

What kind of work do you do?

Design work. It may be product design for us or others to manufacture, one-off installations, or my own personal projects, which usually involve boats of some kind.

I don’t believe in quantifying creativity. It is not a number.

What’s unique about your line of work?

Nothing in particular, but I hope the results are unique.

What responsibility does that involve in a typical day? What takes up most of your time?

It may be drawing on a computer, playing with materials or discussing ongoing projects with my team. I also have some involvement in the running of the business. All of these also require the usual run of emails which takes up the start of the day. And then I travel quite a lot for overseas shows and events.

David Trubridge's Maru light

Who do you see/talk to?

Josh, my business manager, Mat the production manager, Ben the marketing manager, Marion the lead designer, Andrew the workshop manager, regular interns, and a few others as well.

Where do your best ideas come from?

They find me — if I allow the right conditions for them, which is usually isolation in a wilderness, devoid of distracting clutter. But that is just the start, before the hard work begins in the studio with others.

What are the most important tools or programmes you use for your work?

Rhinoceros3D is an extension of my brain, but everything I design is built in my mind first. It is also vital to have ongoing hands-on experience with materials, and even then they will catch you unawares by not behaving as you expected or hoped.

How do you juggle all your responsibilities?

Delegation to a great team of people, so that I don’t have to juggle.

What kind of breaks do you take throughout the day?

The most anticipated is mid-morning coffee, then lunch.

What’s the most enjoyable part of your day?

That cup of short-long, strong black coffee and a homemade biscuit.

What about the least enjoyable?

When — all too soon — the coffee is finished and I have to wait 24 hours for the next.

Do you procrastinate? Is it good or bad?

No I don’t and I don’t think it is good. Except, if I find myself stuck with an intractable problem, tangled like a sheep pushing into a fence. Then I just leave it and go somewhere else. The solution will appear faster that way than if you try to keep pushing, which will only make you more stuck.

Do you measure your accomplishments or productivity? If so, how?

No, I don’t believe in quantifying creativity. It is not a number.

Is there anything you think is unique about your day?

I think everybody’s day is unique because theirs is different to the next person’s. I don’t claim anything special about mine in general, but every detail is different. I enjoy that because it is a foil to the mundane which rules our lives.

What’s your interaction with friends and family throughout the day? Can you be both a successful entrepreneur and a good mother/partner/friend?

I will always take time to talk to them if they drop in or call. If you can’t be a good partner or friend, I don’t know how you could manage people in a business.

Do you get stressed? If so, how do you manage it? Do you practice any mindfulness or meditation?

No I don’t get stressed by people or the business, but I can get impatient with material things. I don’t practice any techniques but throughout the year I put aside time for meditative solitude, which is my palliative.

What do you do once you get home? Can you switch off?

First of all I go for a power walk for about 40 minutes, when I go over in my mind projects that I am working on. Then I can switch off and relax in the evening, if there are not some overseas contacts needing attention.

What time do you go to sleep?

Between 11pm and midnight and it’s instant.

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