Library Day in the Life: Monday

Last week I posted about the Library Day in the Life meme where we are blogging about what we do all day in our various library positions. In addition to blogging about my work at the library I am including my work as a mom. Why? Because I think it helps other moms know that they are not alone in the challenges of working full time outside the home and for those who are thinking about having children, it helps to let you know what you are getting in to. 🙂

7:00 am

  • Managed to drag myself out of bed, and had a really hard time this morning. Yesterday we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday and that was exhausting.
  • IMG_0957

  • If you’ve been following me on twitter and Friend Feed you know that I had 1/2 of a root canal last Wednesday (I get the next half this Friday) so I’ve been on pain medication for a few days now. I’m also still having morning sickness…at least it is not all day sickness. No I’m not pregnant, but I don’t know that I will ever feel fully recovered from my last pregnancy.
  • Spent a few minutes with my son–getting him some milk and putting on a Diego DVD. Daughter and husband still asleep and when he gets up he’ll take them to our nanny’s house. (My husband works 12-9 on Mondays.)


  • Leave for work. Commute very light when school is out.


  • Arrive at work. Here’s a picture of my office:
  • Read, respond, and process email. I only have 24 unread messages. But I have 249 read messages that need to be dealt with. I follow the GTD methodology and try not to use my inbox as a task list. The problem is I am so busy that I never get a chance to process all of the old email. I get a little derailed by a particular email and decide a phone call rather than a reply is in order.
  • Feed my fish.


  • Log into Peoplesoft and enter information about each library location we have, the meeting rooms available, and the capacity of the rooms. This takes a while because there are multiple forms with subforms so I can’t just tab through.


  • Prepare for a 10am meeting and check my mailbox. Yay I got reimbursed for my ALA expenses already. Thank you finance staff, and now I can pay my nanny on time this week.


  • Meeting with other library staff involved in a project I am working on.
  • Meeting was supposed to be one hour but ended up lasting just over two hours. We got a lot covered and I feel good about the direction we are heading in.


  • Lunch with a friend/coworker.


  • Check email again. This ends up taking two hours because each email requires more steps than just a response. For example: updating training calendar, helping a staff member with a Word problem, forwarding and recomposing emails to be included in an all staff memo about training opportunities, updating calendar with new appointments.


  •  Close my email and decide to get work done on transferring notes from flip charts to Word so I can send out minutes from a meeting. As I start working on this I think about all the other tasks and assignments that need to be done for this team and decide to research project management software. I try some free web-based tools but the good ones seem to want money up front. I download and install a free trial of Microsoft Project, but then realize each project lives in a separate file. I need a master planner of all projects so I can group similar task. Finally decide to try using a Firefox addin for GMail that helps process mail using GTD.The extension does not work on my PC. I realize the time and give up until I get home.


  • Make a few phone calls to update key people on the outcome of the earlier meeting.
  • Make a to do list for Tuesday.
  • Feed my fish again.
  • Update my calendar.
  • Sync my smart phone with Outlook.
  • Sync my iPod so I can listen to new podcasts on the way home.
  • Check email again and research ways for staff at multiple locations to share and collaborate on training documents.


  • Drive home. Very little traffic. Realize I don’t have my cable to connect my iPod to the car stereo. Almost fell asleep on the drive home. Determined to get quality sleep tonight.


  • Arrive at my nanny’s house to pick up my two children. I forgot my checkbook so I can’t pay her until tomorrow. Her daughter smacks my daughter and I wonder what will happen when my daughter is old enough to smack back.


  • Arrive home. My son wants to open the rest of my daughter’s presents. They both open them. Two of the dolls she received giggle and it makes her laugh harder than I have ever heard her laugh.
  • As they play with the new toys I fall asleep in the chair.


  • Wake up and decide I need to feed my kids. My son, four, refuses to eat anything. My daughter eats a handful of cheerios, some chicken, and fruit.


  • Bath and bedtime for kids.
  • My daughter goes right to sleep.
  • Try to play trains with my son but he wants his Daddy so we go downstairs to call him at work.


  • My son’s bedtime is at 8 and he still refuses to eat. I make him a PB&J anyway. Turn on the Wonder Pets DVD, and try to get some work done on the computer.
  • Write a blog post about ALA.
  • Remember that tomorrow is my last yoga class and I have a paper due. Begin writing a one-page essay about the benefits I have received from yoga.
  • Start writing this post.
  • Bounce between blog post and yoga paper while occassionally checking gmail, FriendFeed, and Flickr.
  • Realize how much of my day is consumed by email.
  • Too tired to play the Wii game my husband brought home to try out (quality control).

Notice I did not get any cleaning done. My husband will have to clean up the mess from dinner when he gets home. That’s our deal when he works nights.

If you want to join in the fun visit the LibraryDayInTheLife wiki for info. This is open to any library staff and you can start/finish any time.

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.


  1. Lori,

    Based on this post, I don’t think my day never even comes close (those kids seem like a full-time job each!), but I couldn’t agree with you more about how e-mail takes up so much time! I’d never really thought about how the inbox can literally dictate my workday; I’ll have to be more careful about that…

  2. Lori,

    Re: 249 read emails in your Inbox, there is an answer. The problem you’re facing is simply this: an email Inbox is both a communication channel and a task source. Those two purposes work against each other. By making subtle adjustments to your GTD approach–still within David Allen’s broad definition of GTD, but smarter–you can clear it fast and feel much more control. Inbox zero is a daily reality for the people I work with.

    For the answer, check out Total, Relaxed Organization by Priacta. It solves this issue and a host of others like it. See Tim Kwiatkowski’s review of TRO for more info.

    I hope this helps. I hate to see people stressing over their email…

  3. wow I got tired just reading this!:) No kids here, I can’t even imagine adding them into my equation. I really like that you included times, it gives a much better perspective!

  4. i highly recommend this free and great task management tool –

  5. Anna Van says:

    thank you for posting this….as a mom w/ an 11-month-old, i struggle w/ juggling motherhood and a part-time library job.


  1. […] Open my email and immediately begin processing. During the last round of Library Day in the Life I posted about my frustration with email and Kevin Crenshaw commented about a solution. I followed up with […]

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