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Library Day in the Life, Stress Reduction, and Line between Life and Word

Page history last edited by prosch 13 years, 6 months ago

Library Day in the Life, Stress Reduction, and Line between Life and Work (work slips into word)


I experienced a very unintended consequence of participating in Library Day in the Life. For several of the previous rounds I have actually created an account of my day but always stopped short of sharing it. Part of my justification was my complete and continuing FAIL when it comes to social media content in the long form--aborted attempts at blogging remain hidden from one the most diligent of searchers, enumerable unposted comments on the content of others have never made it beyond the submit button.  I do better with short/micro forms: I tweet a bit (@smkvt, re-treet on occasion, and try to dm the few of my followers when I am touched by something they tweet. I also do okay with Facebook updates but do best when I can multitask with a tweet and FB status update when it won't confuse my very different groups of followers & friends.


But on to the unintended consequences and the motivation it gave me to create this page as my contribution to day in the life. As I was creating my notes on the bits and pieces of my day (the bare bones of the notes are in this google doc I used as my notepad), I began to notice that my usual stress level was down a notch and my balance between the life of my place of work and my life beyond and around MPOW was just a little more balanced than usual. I think that the narrative fleshed out from my notes will explain things, so here it goes.


6:49 AM  I could not figure out how to compose a new google doc from iphone/ safarii so starting day in the life with a gmail message. I am determined that this attempt at a  dintl contribution will proceed in spite of my diffidence and general FAIL with long-form social media. I have at least started early, now for my usual rush to get out the door in time to find a parking place.


7:57 AM Just as I am getting in door and leaning over to login to my computer while I discard my VT winter required layers along the way, my iPhone marimba .wav kicks in to remind me that it is time to go to our daily 10-15minute meeting to update one another on the days activities. Mostly we are all gabbing about freezing rain and closed exits on I-89 then my boss's assistant kicks off official start of gathering....


8:15 AM I have a pretty short run-through of my email that has arrived since Friday. There is a rather light light load in the inbox and all the immediate actions required are do-able within a few minutes.  The actions include a couple of brief responses and a re-send of message about planned workshops that was sent to wrong addressee. I wish my task list were as simple to deal with as my inbox is this morning....


8:35 AM When I make my trip for morning coffee, I discover that in rush out the door at home,I left my purse on the kitchen table. Thank you, thank you kind coffee lady who will accept payment tomorrow and even offered to loan me money if I needed some to get through day. With caffeine in hand I can sit down to reading 100 + pages of the notice of funding availability (NOFA) for the next round of broadband funding from the feds stimulus funds. The joys of fed-reg-speaks awaits....


11:20 AM  Afeter nearly 3-hours of reading and taking notes I am very encourages that there are so many things in the 116 pages that seem important to how we can  make the case for broadband to public libraries. However, that also makes me concerned about how much of what we can say to make he case will actually get included in the application. The application covers so many other community entities other than libraries that there will only be so much space that can be used to make the specific case for libraries. Next on the reading list is reviewing successful grant applications for the first round...but a little bit of entertainment first. While rushing out the door at home, I could not resist taking a pic of a tiny source of joy:

The pants that I put on this morning still retain a neat and crisp crease that my 89-year-old mother put in them when we were doing laundry during our last visit. It is barely visible here as a faint line on the left leg, but it put a bit of my mom in my morning.


1:00 PM  I come up for air from reading grant applications and begin to wonder what has become of my remembering to take a lunch break. With a conference call coming up in 15 minutes, I decide try to hold on to my state-designated 45 minutes of lunch break time and keep on reading until the call. No matter how often I tell myself that I am not doing myself or MPOW and favors by letting the day slide by without taking any more of a break than just snacking from my stash in my bottom drawer and taking a few minutes to get caught up with my tweeps, I still fall into that pattern more often than not. So today while I stop to add to my DintL efforts, I decide not to let things slip..


2:00 PM Not too much new in my experience, a conference call generates a whole new batch of deadlines that will find their way onto my task list, but in a minor effort to be a little more balanced, my official 45-minutes of me time starts now!


2:45 PM I am back to official work time though much of my break was about catching up on tweets, following links and checking out new followers. I still didn't get past the snacks in the drawer, but my excuse for that was the pouring rain that made my office feel more refreshing than slogging through the rain and slush. Now to finish reading successful grant applications. I am doing way more reading today than I normally do--at least way more reading of actual muti-page docs. Normally the bulk of my day would be scanning, skimming, creating all manner of electronic media.


3:20 PM I have the fist chance of the day to get to me task list. I am very bad at following "getting things done" principles.  I turn the emails and phone calls into tasks, but then they linger....Today's first task is the multi-part process of creating access to online ILL services for several libraries: creating email accounts, updating patron records, revising files on for our ILS interface and testing revisions....The actual work is not the challenge, but keeping track of where I am in the process always requires checking and re-checking. Or may it is required only if you are slightly OCD about such things, as am I..


3:30 PM  Mentally holding my place in the process while I try to clarify the criteria we are using to include selected libraries in our broadband grant proposal.


3:45PM Taking a deep breath so the my head will be clear enough to get back to minute details of task at hand.


3:55 PM Email exchange about planned workshops pulls me into trying to explain that "managing library technology" and "managing public access computers" are not the same set of activities.....Curiously it feels a lot like explaining that the job that I am supposed to do is not just baby-sitting machines and systems and keeping track of all of those pesky details of how things work.


4:15 PM I have managed to get to a good stopping place for my ILL access task, leaving for tomorrow the last step in task.Better to do the document production and proof-reading (clearly not a strong skill for me) when my first dose of caffeine jolts me in the morning. Will spend.the last 15 minutes of my work day, exploring newly arrived email and check in on my professional-related rss feeds.


4:30 PM Hearing iphone clock tower alarm telling me to head home (another step toward balance that would probably slide by were it not for my DintL note-taking), and as my files sync and computer restarts, think I will call mom to thank her for the crease in my pants!


Maybe today has been less stressful than most because I had to spend so much time on sustained reading, but even if the stress level is due to more focus on reading and less-time in on-the-fly interaction in meetings and and online, there are also the notes of balance to consider. Is it as simple as slowing down long enough to take a few notes that makes the space for letting myself take a break, or remember to tell my mom I smiled and thought of her when I saw the crease in my pants. Maybe I'll give it a try again tomorrow.


One last note about being trapped by my typo in the page title that I could not edit: Work slipping into word seems like a good coda for my experience with DintL: a few words about work slow it down long enough to take a break and find a little balance.



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Comments (1)

tamarack said

at 2:15 am on Jan 27, 2010

hey smkvt! nice socks, and i'm glad you decided to share the 'long form' and get in on the action. that NOFA document sounds horrible! thanks for making me glad i work reference ;)

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