Workload Balance

Hi Readers. I am sorry it has been so long since I posted anything, but all of the commitments I made during my first year of librarianship are really starting to come to fruition. Because of this, I have not had as much time to dedicate to writing on this blog. However, I am now re-dedicating myself and will make a more decided effort to contribute. Here goes…

Having been a professional librarian for a year, the biggest piece of advice I can give to is “keep balanced.” I know this is a mantra that is regularly floats around academic libraries and universities, but I am now coming to understand that it is key, especially if you are like me and interested in everything.

My wide interests led me to say “yes” to almost any opportunity that came my way. This occurred because I was new in my job, found so many things fascinating, and had just come from a staff position where the day-to-day work was regulated and allowed for little personal flexibility.

To give some background, University of North Texas Librarian Faculty are Non-Tenure Track and work within the three general areas familiar to most academics: 1) Primary Assignment, 2) Scholarship, 3) Service. My abbreviated personal breakdown is as follows:

  1. Primary Assignment
  2. Scholarship
  3. Service
    • UNT Faculty Senate member
    • UNT Faculty Senate Executive Committee member
    • Special Collections Librarian search committee member
    • Co-Chair of committee to re-write the UNT Library’s internal promotion/review policy

This is an abbreviated list and each point represents many extremely important tasks of which I am proud to be a part. Also, I do not feel over extended in any way since I love being busy. Therefore my “balance” is not about doing less overall or in any one specific area, I simply need to focus on balancing how I work. You may want or need a different type of balance and at this point I don’t have a lot of answers for you or me. I do, however, have some questions and thoughts that will hopefully lead to discussion, more thoughts, more posts, and eventually balance.

  • What are your priorities?
    • Do you like serving, do you like writing, do you like having a lot of assignments to drive your library’s mission forward?
  • Do you have personal/career goals?
  • How can you organize priorities and goals into daily task/ time allotments?
  • How do you work best?
    • Do you like to switch between tasks or do you like to finish one thing before starting another?
  • Do you want to work only at work and never at home or do you not mind “always working?”
  • Seek guidance from others in your field
    • How did they structure their early/mid career?
    • How do they find work-balance?
    • Can you adapt their structure?
    • Don’t try to re-invent the wheel, seek people/scholars you admire and ask how they stay balanced.