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Busyness and Priorities

July 9, 2010

Hi, all. I hope everyone is having a fantastic day and gearing up for a lovely weekend. I thought I’d take a little bit of time to write about busyness and give you some thinking points to mull over during your weekend between running errands and relaxing. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topics in the past few weeks as have a number of deadlines coming up in quick succession. So “allons-y” (let’s go)!

I think about about the links between busyness and priorities a lot. It is inevitable that the subject comes up at least occasionally in most people’s lives because everyone seems to be super-busy and have way too much to do. Until we come up with time-turners or a working replica of the TARDIS, we are still stuck with just 24 hours in a day.

I think about priorities and busyness more than I would like because people often ask me how I manage to get everything done. My answer is two-fold: I prioritize and I don’t multitask–I just work. Now I know that we don’t have total control over everything at work or in life, but for that which we do have control over–I say prioritize the heck out of it. And, like a lot of the self-improvement gurus say, if it is important to you it will get done. Just like making time for family, friends, and significant others/spouses/partners, we always have time for what is important to us (and it’s important to remember that nothing is written in stone and if something important comes up, the calendar can totally be cleared). So I just have a few resources to share today to maybe help you prioritize the tasks in your life and some fun stuff (because it’s Friday)!

Seth Godin has some awesome advice and thinking points over on his blog, as always. I am currently enamored of his post that validation is overrated. While I think it is human to crave validation (I mean who doesn’t like compliments?), needing validation before we do something is the way to stasis and not getting anything done. If you have a wacky idea (and it doesn’t hurt anyone), I say go for it. See what happens and maybe you’ll get validated later. And remember, there is a definite difference between needing to be told your idea is okay before you take action and liking the praise you receive after you’ve finished a project, plan, whatever. Oh, and if none of this makes any sense whatsoever, just watch the great Validation short below and smile.

Okay, are we all feeling better after that video? I know I always feel better after watching it.

I think we can agree that there is always too much to do in the library and archives. What are your priorities? What must get done in order for it to function? What would be wonderful but isn’t a priority? What do you know is a priority, but you don’t want to do it so you keep putting it off? If you can honestly answer these questions, you are well on your way to accomplishing tasks versus feeling (completely) overwhelmed with busywork. Also check out the lovely zen habits blog which has wonderful ideas for simplifying your life and getting rid of the feeling that you “need” to be busy just to be busy.

If reading RSS feeds from Lifehacker has you a bit overwhelmed, check out Lifehacker’s Newsletter. It’s a daily digest of their posts–fantastic for those who get stressed out by seeing lots of unread posts in their feed reader.

Oh, and for those of you that still have vacation time to look forward to, check out the Geek Vacation Checklist. And yes, I’m a bit obsessed with checklists and travel tips–I love traveling. Maybe a bit of a break will allow you to step back and re-prioritize your work life.

One of my priorities in life is baking. I know that sounds weird, but hear me out. I enjoy baking: I like how my kitchen smells when I’m baking cookies, I like trying out new recipes, I like that it is a task that can’t be rushed and gives me time to think, and I really like the smiles that come from sharing baked goods at work. I like to think I’m making my colleagues day a little brighter by bringing in some yummy, homemade baked goods. One of the recipes that is just too perfect for summer is Joy the Baker’s Strawberry Blackberry Shortcakes. Check her blog out, it is fabulous.

Finally, because it is Friday and now you have a lot to think about (re: priorities and being productive versus being busy), enjoy this video that has been making its way around the bibliosphere: “Zombies in their Natural Habitat.” What a creative way to ask for funding!

Have a wonderful weekend, read a lot, and the Waki Librarian will be back next week with more (productive) fun.

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