Time Management

prague-astronomical-clock-detail-871291743639AGqIt is a little ironic that I haven’t posted in so long, yet chose time management as my subject. I am roughly two weeks away from opening the music library to students and I am finding myself getting overwhelmed in details. I thought it would be beneficial to document some of the things that I wish I would have been doing from the get-go that I have started to make a part of my work day now:

1. Write down each new idea with my reasoning behind it

I am an ideas person, often coming up with more than one for each problem I run into.  I find that if I don’t write down exactly what my idea is right away, along with my reasoning, it can get diluted as I proceed. If I need to present the idea to a department head or colleague for input, I can stay consistent and on task. I can also use what I wrote to justify decisions, especially when it comes to Title III funding.

2. Get a notebook or binder that has pre-made sections in it for notes

After working here for 3 months, I have a lot of notes. I think I was under some odd assumption that overall libraries work the same and that I would be jotting down a few things here and there that were specific to my new job. Yes- I look back at this now and laugh and laugh… I have had to waste some precious time reorganizing my notes so I could find them when needed. If they were sectioned off, it would have been easier for me to find them. Another option would be to get a binder with multiple pockets and take notes on a separate pad, filing them as you go.

3. Create an electronic flow chart

Remember those details that are throwing me off schedule? If I would have documented my initial plan in an electronic flowchart, which allows for easy updating, it would have been easier for me to prioritize. I am used to juggling multiple tasks, but there are so many things that involve other people that I often have to put something aside until I hear back from them. It is humbling to remember that what is important to me at any given time is not usually a priority to someone else. I tried a to-do list, but found it to be too clunky as it doesn’t show how things fit together in the big picture. Having a visual flow chart would make it easier to shift into something else and keep track of the little things when theyedy finally get done (or to follow-up). Yes, a flow chart takes time, but it also keeps you from looking like a flake because you have a million things to keep track of in your head and can’t pay attention to the moment you are in. Or is that just me?

I found this great free graph program called yEd. You can download it or use it online (with Java). It is fairly user-friendly and intuitive.

4. Always allow extra time for each task

As I mentioned in #3, many of the tasks you are working on will involve someone else. Sometimes you aren’t aware that you need to consult with a colleague or department until after you have started, or perhaps your student workers can’t come in to work at the last second. You have to leave enough time to collaborate and respond otherwise small jobs become priorities and take you away from the overall goal.  I try to tack on at least a day or two to each task, just in case.

Over the next 2 weeks, I will be finishing up a major weeding project, move uncatalogued MT books to the main library for processing, and move cataloged M and ML books from the main library to the music library (after changing their location in the catalog). The move is a big project, but it will also allow us to do an inventory and check for physical damage. Now where’s that flow chart?!?

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