The get-more-done, put-off-leisure mindset that is common to American work culture can easily be found in the library professional as well.
Hi, my name is John, and I’m a workaholic.
I love what I do and get immeasurable fulfillment from my work as an academic librarian, but I also realize the need to step outside Libraryland to recharge.
Liz Danzico has good advice for people like me. From “Banking time“:
“While we’re taught the value of saving money, we’re never really taught the value of saving time. Not saving time so we are more efficient elsewhere, but actually banking time. Saving it for later.”
Danzico briefly offers five recommendations:
Max out your vacation days: I’ve already put in a request for a day off in Febrary “just because” and I’m planning a family road trip for the summer.
Keep 10-20% of your day, every day, free: This is more difficult. I have a rule that nothing goes on my calendar unless it must be accomplished at a specific time. Blocking off free time works against that philosophy, but I could do a better job of saying no to meetings that phone calls could easily replace.
Schedule make-up events on a monthly basis: If it’s an important event/meeting, I should do this. I may start making this part of my weekly review on Sundays.
Pay attention to recurring meetings: I have 24 hours of recurring meetings each month. It’s hard to figure out what I could ignore. I could certainly reduce some of those down to 30 minutes, especially if I did a better job of planning what I want to accomplish ahead of time.
Promote your time of: Last year, I detailed my work week. I’m planning to do that again in my new position but I also want to do a librarian anti-day in the life during which I record everything I do during the week that isn’t work related. It’s not much, but it’s worth celebrating.
When it comes to my relationship with the profession, “work-life balance” is not an ideal to which I aspire. Instead, I try to focus on the creative benefits that time off, reflection, and distance can bring to my work. I also try to remind myself that stress in any portion of my life can negatively affect my productivity, my relationships with others, and my health. There are some portions of my life, mostly family related, that I keep separate from my work, but for the most part I am an academic librarian through and through.