A few weeks ago I attended a seminar on time management and juggling multiple priorities. I haven’t fully processed everything I came away with, in part because the biggest thing I got from it was a bibliography of potentially helpful books. I’m working through those on audio.
I have two big thoughts at this point. The first is something I’m trying based on the book The Now Habit, which was recommended by another participant at the seminar. The author recommends monitoring your self-talk and making small changes to how you frame your tasks. Instead of thinking or saying “I have to do” something, say “I want to” or “I choose to”. It switches your mindset from victim to boss. I’m trying it out today and honestly it’s pretty amazing.
Another takeaway from the seminar itself was that people lose tremendous amounts of time looking for information. The speaker recommended memorization as a time saving technique – which in some ways is great advice. But as a librarian I wanted to point out that we’ve reached a point where the body of human knowledge is so great that it’s impractical and impossible for a single person to try to learn it all. You have to develop your memory, as well as your information access skills. I suspect that the most effective people have great memories, great organizational systems for storing information outside their brains (think Evernote) and they know when to farm out their information-seeking (ie ask an expert). And I feel like librarians could take up the role of organizational coach – we can help organize the information that needs to be accessed, we can help people master tools to make their personal information accessible, and we can be on hand to do the hunting that will always need to be done.
I definitely laughed when the presenter discussed how much time is lost hunting for information – for most of the business types in the room, her point was completely valid. It’s just that doing that hunting is so much a part of my job and my identity.
One last thought, completely unrelated. If the time stamp on this post displays correctly, you’ll notice that I’m posting in the middle of the workday. I finally decided to be selfish and use some of my comp time to take a day off. The house is getting cleaned and I’m hanging out with the pets. It feels great.