I’ve been striving to stop talking about how busy I am. It’s not easy:
“How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?
Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?”
In 2015, I pledged to simplify and to do better. Despite a series of increasingly troubling health issues that consistently limited my professional output, I’m happy to say that I am in a better place now than where I was this time last year. Moreover, I am looking forward to 2016 as possibly being one of the most productive years of my career as a librarian so far.
My professional goals for this year are quite simple:
finish my IRDL research project (finally)
apply for one grant
submit one proposal to a conference
create one new sustainable program at MPOW
strategically develop better relationships
The last one of these is the most nebulous, but essentially I want to spend more time reflecting upon my professional relationships/networks and how they can be mutually beneficial to all the parties involved.
My personal goals are also simple and focus on ways to increase my creative output both at work and at home as well as contribute to self-fulfillment:
read my own tomes
My partner and I are currently using the Konmari method to organize our home and despite our deep love of books we recognize the need to slim down our collection. In doing so, I’ve realized just how many books I own but have never read. Inspired by a LibraryThing group of similar name, I’ll be focusing on reading books that have sat long neglected on my shelves.
give to things I like
Each month, I plan to give a donation of money or time to something that I love. It could be a non-profit, podcast creator, software program designer, or a local group. It is a simple step toward being more appreciative of the things that enrich my life (and hopefully the lives of others).
track my health
I’m not pledging to exercise more or eat more vegetables, but I will commit to tracking my food, sleep, and exercise habits using my recently purchased Fitbit. Tracking this information in and of itself will improve my health and after a few months of data collection I’ll be in a better position to make concrete health goals.
commit to one 30-day challenge each month
Rather than set a year-long goal that in all likelihood would fail, I will commit to doing one 30-day challenge each month. The focus for each challenge will be improving either my health, creativity, or kindness.
review my mantra daily
I’ve been constantly tweaking a “mantras.txt” file over the past year and slowly making it a weekly, if not daily, habit. I’m ready to make this my daily mantra:
Be grateful. Be present. Smile. Breath. Listen. Make eye contact. I acknowledge that there will always be more things to do, more projects to start, more progress that could be made. I acknowledge that I cannot do everything, but I can choose what I focus on in a given space of time. There is rarely a “best” choice, and the fear-of-missing-out is a distraction.
That is the plan for 2016. As always, writing more is a perennial goal and which for better or worse will happen in this space. Happy New Year!
“In an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious as paying attention,” says Pico Iyer [SLYT], “and in an age of constant movement, nothing is so urgent as sitting still.” I’ve been trying to work more silence into my life, but in practice this only happens a few minutes a day for perhaps a couple days a week. For many librarians, making a living and making a life are often the same thing. I am undecided on the issue (and admittedly guilty of lacking any sense of work-life balance), but I would be content to have a set moment every day for reflection.