Blogger Liza Purdy

Time Management for Library Professionals

So… about that turning the corner on the pandemic…

Omicron has done a number on us out here in California. I’m not sure how it’s going where you are, but in the last few weeks, it seems to me that EVERYONE is getting Covid. For those of us left running our branches, time is stretched more than usual. Priorities shift and plans change with no notice. We cover this, we cover that, and if you’re anything like me, we start losing track of our to do list, long term goals, and daily priorities.

For example, I was supposed to have my ALSC blog post in by midnight last night. Did I remember that? Not at all… in my mind, it was due “next week.” My heart dropped into my stomach when I realized that next week is NOW. What a horrible feeling! Not something I want to repeat. So I thought maybe this would be a good time to brush up on our time management skills.

I think the most important thing for us to know is the way we tick. I personally have a very small working memory, so if I don’t start out my day with a list of priorities, I am sunk before I even begin. Lists are my best friends! Also, timers and clocks with loud and obnoxious alerts. I follow a lot of the time management advice for folks with ADHD. Each person will have different pitfalls and strengths in the way that they learn, remember, and prioritize. It pays to be honest about your own.

There are a million terrific systems for productivity and organization. I love this infographic from The University of St. Augustine that lays out nine of the most effective strategies, ranging from President Eisenhower’s matrix and the Pomodoro, to the 80/20 rule and the Time blocking method. The infographic even has a nice flowchart to help you decide which strategy could work best for you.

Library professionals are used to wearing a million and one different hats. It’s part of what makes our jobs fun. But with all the stresses and strains of the past few years, it’s also important for us to remember that we are going to drop some balls. We cannot always get everything done, given the historical circumstances that we’re working in. Let’s offer ourselves and those around us a little grace. We will get it all done eventually.

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