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Pressure and Burnout in the Library

November 5, 2010

Happy Friday! I hope that you have a lovely weekend planned. But first we must all get through the last day of the workweek. And I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling a wee bit stressed lately. By the middle of the term I’m definitely fighting against not burnout exactly–more like an uphill battle against looming deadlines and lots of stress. Even if you are like me and love your job, some days it feels like “it just doesn’t pay to gnaw through the leather straps” (Emo Phillips). So today we’re going to define burnout, figure out what you can do to combat it, and then end with some Friday fun.

The wonderful Lifehacker recently published a great article on burnout and how to deal with it. Read it to get the facts about burnout (and have the ability to recognize burnout in yourself) and some tips on dealing with it (and more importantly, preventing it). Personally, I find that getting enough sleep, practicing yoga, and talking with friends helpful (saying no to pointless committee work whenever possible is definitely very helpful too).

Burnout and pressure go hand in hand, obviously. And while we can’t avoid all pressure-filled situations, we can understand 4 reasons why you choke under pressure and how to avoid them. Yes, this article is helpful even if you don’t participate in sports. Let’s be the people who are graceful and productive even under pressure because goodness knows that librarians are under enough pressure these days. What do you do to stay calm under pressure? I’d love to hear your tips in comments.

Speaking of (or really writing about) stress and libraries, check out 3 punk rock lessons for surviving 21st century library hell. I love this post; funny and informative. Take a break and read the post.

Hopefully some of the above articles will help you deal with stress and avoid burnout, but even with good advice reading about stress can be, well, stressful. So I thought we’d end the informative part of the blog with Seth Godin’s I spread your ideas because… post. It’s a great list of reasons why a person would spread information and ideas. It’s a great list of reasons why a person would try to build a community. And it’s a great list of reasons that we should consider whenever we are communicating with our patrons and thinking about services, marketing, programs, and design.

And finally, for some fun, check out this great video for Neil Gaiman’s Instructions, illustrated by the wonderful Charles Vess. (I’m almost positive I’ve shared it before, but it doesn’t hurt to share it again and the ending line is a perfect way to end a post about burnout.)

Have a wonderful weekend filled with good reads, good company, and good rest. The Waki Librarian will be back next week with more library fun.

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