Library Day in the Life Wrap Up

It’s interesting that I’ve received more comments this week than any week ever. As I wrote these long posts I wondered who could possibly be interested in my boring life, but then I realized how much I enjoyed reading all the other posts. So while our own lives may seem boring and uninteresting there is pleasure in being a virtual fly on the wall in someone else’s world.

I’ve received a few comments and emails asking me how I do it all. So I thought I’d share my secret with you. I don’t!

I’ve prioritized my life: family, career, education. I try to only be in the office 8-hours a day. When I’m not at work and my kids are awake I’m with them–physically and mentally. I maximize the precious time I have with them and do not multi-task. They get my undivided attention. Once they go to bed it’s time to focus on left over work from the day, career-related tasks, and school.

That sounds like a lot, but here’s what doesn’t get done. I don’t have as much time to hang out with my friends. We don’t watch TV. We don’t even have cable. I don’t cook or clean. My husband does the shopping and cooking (we eat a lot of take out). He does the yard work and some of the house cleaning. But seriously, the house is a mess, the yard is full of weeds, and even though Bree Van De Camp is my hero (I used to watch TV), I’ve accepted the fact that my house will not look like that for another 17 years.

I’ve found that the more I do the more energy I have and the more I am able to do. The law of inertia.

I’ve also found ways to maximize my time. I listen to audiobooks when I am in the car. During the school year when traffic gets bad I work 7-4 to avoid rush hour and wasted time in traffic. This also allows me to spend more time with my kids. I count my blessings that I work for a library that allows a flexible schedule like this. I have great child care which lets me to focus on work at work and home at home. I try to plan ahead so I can group tasks by time and proximity. For instance if I need to vacuum and do a load of laundry, I start the laundry first and vacuum while the laundry is going. It sounds simple but it really helps to save time when you plan all your tasks this way.

Speaking of tasks, I use Outlook to remember everything. Any random thought that has an action goes into Outlook Tasks, so I don’t have to keep thinking about it. Then tasks are categorized by how the action gets done (@work, @home, @computer, errand, someday maybe, waiting). I can then sort the tasks and get all the @computer ones done in one sitting, all the errands done together, and so on.

When I plan my day, I drag the highest priority tasks from the task list to the calendar so that time is allotted for each task. It sounds like a lot of work, but once you get accustomed to this way of doing things and see how much time you are saving you will wish you had been doing this for years.

I highly recommend the book Take Back Your Life. This book was life changing for me in managing my time. If you’ve been reading my posts this week, you already know that I am taking this to the next level with TROG (Total Relaxed Organization Guru). Kevin Crenshaw sent me a copy of the book and software to review so I’ll be blogging about that over the next month.

It has been a pleasure sharing my week with you. It’s 2am. Both kids now have fevers and have been waking up crying every 15 minutes. The saga never ends. But in the end that’s what the journey is all about!

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. Your entire week-long series ought to be required reading for every library director, every human resources director, and every person involved in and touched by library training/workplace learning and performance programs–virtually everyone who works in a library. It captures, in a way it’s rarely captured, the competing interests people in your position juggle, and ends with an absolutely positive and down-to-earth primer for how to avoid burnout in any position (a great bit of on-the-spot training in itself). It also, without ever explicitly suggesting it, makes a great case for having the words “director” or “chief” in the sort of position you hold: “Library WorkPlace and Learning Performance Director,” “Library Chief Learning Officer,” or the somewhat inadequate and outdated “Library Training Director,” for example, since learning is at the heart of all successful organizations, and we all do ourselves–and those we serve–a huge favor by calling attention to the central role we play in these highly collaborative positions. Thanks for taking the time to document what you and many of our colleagues do so well on a daily basis while managing to enjoy ourselves.

  2. Lori, I’ve been very impressed with all you do, and more importantly that you do it with balance in your life! I find it truly inspiring!

  3. Lori,
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog posts from this “Day in the Life” segment. I am currently working in a public library as a reference assistant and am about to start my MLS degree this Fall. While I am excited, I still have some decisions to make as to which area of interest I will take. My 2 main interests are for academic librarianship and school media librarianship. While the two are VERY different, I’m looking for some pros and cons…or any other insight from current employed librarians. I’m beginning to lean more toward the Academic field, but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Keep the great posts coming!
    Becca in Indiana

Speak Your Mind