I maintained my edge by always being a student; you will always have something new to learn.
I’ve been trying to be more self-aware lately. I have noticed I have a tendency to pay attention to the details. While that can be a strength, it can also be a hindrance, such as when I’m paying so much attention to the details, I’m not getting things done. Case in point: the browser tabs. I’ve been spending the last few weeks, in between teaching, librarian-ing, and doing things for professional development, researching about best practices in IL instruction and looking for meaningful activities to illustrate the concepts I’m teaching to my students in class. However, because I haven’t had time to do this in one setting, every time I come across a new website or resource I want to revisit at a later time, I open it in a new tab and I leave it for whenever. And I do this, again and again, until my browser get so weighed down by tabs that when I ask it to perform a task, it says, What!?
So today, I left work early (because I’m kind of sick) and came home. I went to Trello, opened a new box on my Ideas card under the class board for my adjunct position, and pasted all the links I wanted to look at later, along with the corresponding page titles. And then I closed the tabs. And it felt good to see “empty space”.
I mentioned being attuned to the details. I’m a fairly organized person, I think, but I can also abide in muted chaos. I don’t know if this is a result of having grown up in a big family or just a personality trait/brain wiring thing. I often get in the habit of juggling a lot of things, whether it’s mentally, career-wise, or academically. I’m prone to diving into projects head first and carefully balancing it until I’ve squeezed just enough onto my plate, and then either force myself to work through and eliminate projects one at a time, or I just stagnate and procrastinate.
Speaking of, I’ve been procrastinating over grading papers for my adjunct position. I started on grading for one week’s homework assignment, and then got stuck. And then got sick. And then got stuck again. So today, after I cleaned out my browser tabs, I tossed back a few cough drops, ate some pita and hummus, and forced myself to grade papers. And I got through them. And my plate is a little bit cleaner now. And it feels good.
A few of my colleagues published posts recently on ACRLog (here and here) about managing professional life as a first year academic librarian. I admire their ability to be transparent. I don’t think I’ll ever be at that level, because I’m just a private person. But I can agree and attest to the need for self-care, maintaining work-life balance, and working towards goals. For me, keeping it all straight starts with closing a few browser tabs and akin to Nike, just doing it!
Speaking of goals, I need to go input my attendance for the past few weeks. And do taxes. And finish editing my CV. Le sigh.