Nightmare on Magic Street
You arrive late for a gig because the traffic is terrible (not your fault!), you blow up your balloon for your amazing balloon trick and the balloon bursts (again, not your fault – badly made balloon!) and then you run out of petrol on the way home and can’t fill up because you are up to the limit on your card…
A nightmare scenario for any magician. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It really doesn’t. The concept of margin is the key. In time, money and resources.
And it doesn’t just apply to magicians, it applies to us all.
Part one of this blog will focus on margin in time, part two will focus on margin in resources and finances.
Get a Plan, Stan
How to avoid the nightmare scenario: Check the journey time on Google maps, then add 30 minutes to allow for a break. Fill up the car on the way there. Plan to arrive at least one hour before the start time of the gig. If even earlier, great! Use the time to have a nap, do some admin and get ready for the show. Knock on the door of the venue 30 minutes before the start time, fresh, relaxed and ready to go.
Once I had a blow-out on the motorway and had to wait for the breakdown service. A couple of times I got stuck in a snowdrift and had to dig my way out. Still, in all cases, I arrived 30 minutes early and the client was none the wiser. The magic of margin.
Always Something in the Tank
Audience reactions are unpredictable. Reaction times will be longer or shorter, laughs will last ages or not come at all at certain points. But you still need to start and finish bang on time. Thus you need to be able to cut and/ or add material on the fly. This is easy if you have a resource bank of tricks in your mind and in your case – you have built-in margin. The audience will think that this is your standard running order.
Against the Tide Pride
Building in time margin feels like swimming against the tide in today’s rapid-paced culture. But it really can be your secret weapon.
Not leaving enough time for travel really has no excuse and the only thing it will achieve is stress for you and your clients. You can work anywhere thanks to mobile internet, so there is no reason to leave late. If you arrive early you can wait round the corner and work in your car or in a coffee shop.
Build time margin into your daily routine. Are there gaps to allow the unusual to happen? Medical emergencies, kids needing a lift, but also chance conversations to deepen relationships. If you are scheduled up to your eyeballs then you are missing essential elements for a productive, creative and healthy life.
Dozy Debt Threat
Have you allowed enough time for sleep? By “enough” I mean over-budgeted. If, for some reason, your sleep on one night is cut short, will you have enough energy the next day, will you have enough time to catch up on extra sleep later, or will it just add to an ever-growing sleep debt and the resulting dip in health and performance?
Margin allows us to flex when the unexpected happens and this makes us resilient. It makes us less stressed. It makes us more effective because we will have more energy, focus and resources at our beck and call just when we need them.
Build your magic margin.