Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Organizing Myself at Work

The change between being Youth Services Librarian/Assistant Director and working 45+ hours per week to working part time and splitting my hours between Children's Librarian and Reference Librarian has been pretty epic for me.

Photo Credit: NapaneeGal via Compfight cc

One of the biggest challenges was the way I work, and the way that I separate out my "personal" professional work from the work that is in my job description. Before, I didn't really have to think about it. Work was work was work, and it all took place in my office whether it was blogging, conference prep, book reviews, or employee evaluations. I was salaried, and I was there all the time. I used Outlook, Google Drive, and a giant desk calendar to organize everything, and it was good.  I didn't need to be mobile because I had one space to do all my work. Central command, if you will.

Then I moved and changed jobs, and was suddenly working at multiple desks with no spacious office, nowhere to put a giant desk calendar, no Outlook, and computers that won't even support Google Drive.

I was a bit at-sea. Here's what I've found to work:
  • I have never found an online calendar that really works for me (I think it has to do with being a visual person and needing a sense of physical space to tie in with the passage of time, but I digress), so I bought myself a very nice planner to take care of scheduling.
  • I took the time to organize my workspace in a way that works (though I am rarely actually in that space, even just organizing my stuff well made a big difference). 
  • Work jump drive. ALWAYS WITH ME. Also making sure to make good use of the shared folders on our server, which I can access from any computer. 
  •  To replace the CRUCIAL to-do list scheduling function that I relied on Outlook for, I researched and tried a bunch of productivity apps, and eventually settled on Vitalist.  I am intrigued by Evernote, but since it requires you to download it onto your machines, it wasn't an option for me. I needed something web-based since I work from so many locations. 

  • I found that I'm AWFUL at working from home. When I'm working from home it's too easy to go down the rabbit-hole of endless 'net surfing since there's no interruption. Since all of my reviewing, blogging, and conference prep is on my own time now, I had to find a way to work from home more effectively. I started using an Internet-blocker app called Self Control (sigh). Basically you choose which sites you want blocked, set a timer for how long you want them to be blocked, and you're good to go. Despite the embarrassing name, I really like it, and it has been a huge help for me (self control! I has it!) Here's an app that works with Windows machines (I have not used it personally): Cold Turkey
It's a work in progress, but these are things that have helped me. What tools do you use to keep yourself organized?


  1. I still write things on 5 billion post-its. Because I'm 90s like that

    I also email myself things at work from my home computer if I'm afraid I'll forgot it by Monday or whatever. Then I get to work with a to do list comprised of a dozen directives I e-mailed to myself, usually in all caps and with multiple exclamation points. My drunk self expects my work self to be VERY PRODUCTIVE!! ...Additionally, I never stop thinking about librarianship, apparently.

  2. I want to read Bryce's emails.

    I also use post-its and stick them on my monitor where I will see them. I prefer neon, but my new job only has traditional, so I'm obviously going to have to correct the supply ordering.

    I use a Google calendar (syncs to my iPhone--anything that ) and a paper calendar at home (this one is mostly medical appointments and family stuff) and at work (meetings, deadlines).

    Evernote can be just used over the web. That's how I've always used it (and the app). But I don't use it for work stuff.

    I'm running a bigger department now, so I had to make a list of people to follow up with on things too. Before I only had 2 people (my boss and my supervisee) and now it's an endless amount of awesome people.

  3. Sticky notes and Evernote (have been using it for programming plans since Mel posted about it-it rocks!). I have also been know to text/email myself at work to do things.

    Personally, I think someone should write down a daily schedule of what a children's librarian actually does in a day. It is amazing what we all accomplish.

  4. I use Evernote on the web and via their app. I've never downloaded anything. This I use for just long-term ideas, mostly personal.

    I use a physical calendar with to do lists written down for work and try to keep all after hours work to just reading and shopping (craft items, prize gift cards, etc.).

    I use TeuxDeux for shopping lists and errands.

    Finally, I use Google calendar for my work schedule, family events, and off-site meeting schedules.


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