A Day in the Life With Lori Reed – Monday

I am so glad that Bobbi Newman started this Library Day in the Life meme. I was part of the first round in 2008 and was amazed at the response I got to combining my work/home lives into my posts. I’m continuing that for this round.

6:00am

Why oh why does 6:00am seem so early. Until this month I had been getting up at 7:00am for years and years. At 6:00am it’s still dark and I don’t want to be awake. But my two kids have to be at two different schools and it takes a much longer time to get a 2-year-old dressed and ready to go in the mornings than it did when she was a baby. I fix my hair and makeup while the kids watch TV in bed. My 5-year-old son asks why I do this and I respond to look pretty. He melts my heart with his response of, “But mom you’ve been pretty for years.”

7:30am

My son and I are out the door and I take him to school. He’s in Kindergarten and it’s a teacher work day so I have to walk him inside to sign him in for the enrichment program that our school system provides for after school and teacher workdays.

8:00am

I arrive at work. Make a pot of hot tea. 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 Kevin and he offered me a free trial of his product with training and we have been in contact ever since. When I have more time I’m planning another series of posts about the training and process I went through to get my email problems under control. Kevin is a great person to follow on Twitter. His profile says that he is the father of 10 children! If anyone knows about time management, it’s someone with 10 children!

9:00am

I begin the arduous task of scheduling training for our staff for the 2010 calendar year. This takes up more hours of the day then I want to remember. There is so much that goes into planning and scheduling over 50 training sessions. For example:

  • I am lucky enough to work with a team of about 20 staff who facilitate staff training in addition to their normal jobs. Each of their individual schedules has to be taken into consideration. Who works what night? Who has days off during the week because of working a weekend? Who is taking vacation when?
  • We don’t want to schedule training when other large meetings or events are taking place. Anytime staff are out of the building it affects the ability of other staff to go to training.
  • We don’t want to schedule training on election days because many locations double as a polling place or early voting location. Parking can be an issue, and we are much busier on these days.
  • We don’t want to schedule training during summer reading because our libraries and staff are busy, busy, busy! The same goes for school holidays, teacher workdays, etc. I have a big master calendar with all of these dates written in.
  • Some training requires very large rooms. For instance, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention requires a room large enough for classroom space and physical maneuvers as well.
  • Other training requires computer labs or other specialized resources found only at certain libraries.
  • We have 23 libraries spread across a large geographic area so each class needs to have sessions offered at different libraries across the county. We wouldn’t want to have all sessions for one class in one geographic area.
  • Lastly we don’t want to have any two training sessions happen at the same time. This makes it very difficult to fill both classes and thus does not properly utilize our most valuable resource–our staff’s time.

2:00pm

Take a break from planning to call the ALA Learning Round Table President Pat Carterette. We talk about the name change for the round table and where we are in the process of getting a new logo. I share the designs I received from our graphic artist and we pick two to move forward with.

I follow up with the artist to give her feedback on the 8 logos she sent us. Tell her the final two we selected and give a few suggestions for refining them.

2:30pm

Phone call with one of our librarians who facilitates Readers Advisory training for staff. Have a discussion about how to move forward with converting this training to self-paced training. Refer her to some additional resources that may help.

3:00pm

Meet with our director of research, innovation, and strategy about implementing Web Ex as a tool for synchronous learning. Discuss the pros and cons of online training and meetings and how to balance the need for bandwidth for staff training with the need for bandwidth for our customers using the Internet in our libraries.

4:00pm

Back to scheduling training.

4:45pm

The alarm goes off on my phone. It’s my 15-minute warning to wrap things up so I can leave in time to pick my son up from school.

5:30pm

I rush out the door because I got tied up on the phone trying to reserve rooms for training. I realize that I even forgot to have lunch today. In the car I call Sandra Smith from the Denver Public Library. She is one of the people I am interviewing for the book I am coauthoring about leadership for trainers. We catch up and make plans for our next interview.

5:59pm

Rush into the school since at 6:00pm I start getting billed $1 a minute for being late. My son greets me by shouting “MOMMMEEEEEEEE” from across the room and runs to give me a hug so tight I can hardly breathe. It takes my breath away (literally) and puts a much needed smile on my face. He immediately tells me all about his field trip to ImaginOn which happens to be a library a block from where I work, and I feel a pang of guilt that I could not get away for even a few moments to say hi to him and his class while they were visiting.

6:15pm

We arrive home, and I have a massive headache. My son turns the TV on and I immediately begin unpacking my laptop so I can keep working. Now that I have most of the training scheduled I need to create a calendar we can publish for staff. Today is the deadline to have this project done and it’s my job to get this done no matter how long it takes.

7:00pm

My husband gets home with our daughter and she also screams “MOMMMEEEEEEEE” as soon as she sees me at the computer. There is no point in trying to work until I give her some attention. So I step away from the computer to spend some quality time holding her.

7:30pm

My husband tells me to go take a bath and some medicine for my headache. I do this and am thankful that he is home and feeding the kids.

8:00pm

My husband bathes the kids, reads stories to them, and puts them to bed. Again I remind myself of how lucky I am. I finish the training calendar then begin looking at what I missed today on Twitter and my other social networks. I also work on the final touches for my new site. I realize that it is Library Day in the Life Week from the trends on Twitter. I’m excited because this ties into everything I am doing this week with my own site as well as ALA Learning. But at the same time I realize that this week will also sh0w how unbalanced my life is right now. I spent less than an hour with my kids today and between my real job, social networking, and my web site I will have spent 16 hours on the computer today.

12:00am

I am still on the computer and chatting with Marianne Lenox. I realize what time it is and have to abruptly end the chat with Marianne who I hope understands. Then it’s off to bed with my mind racing about what’s left to do tomorrow.

So that’s my Monday. :) How was yours?

It all started with Bobbi’s question…

I’m not sure I have the ability to start a meme…

…and now the meme has made it to Shelf Check.

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!

Library Day in the Life: Thursday and into Friday

8:30am

  • Wake up. Get dressed. The usual. Plan to go in a little later today because it’s going to be a long day. If only I’d known what was to come.

9:00am

  • Leave for work.
  • Remember that I need to research taking the bus because gas is not going to get cheaper.

9:20am

  • Arrive at work.
  • Last night I had a chance to read the first few chapters of Total Relaxed Organization: The Field Guide. Am inspired and ready to get caught up on the hundreds of message piled in my inbox since ALA.
  • Start processing email. Delete. Delete. Delete. Respond. and. so. on.
  • Print name tags for a workshop.

10:38am

  • Receive an email that Main Library has been evacuated while simultaneously hearing a knock at the door telling me we need to evacuate the building.
  • Don’t grab anything because it’s never a good sign when a building is evacuated and the fire alarm has not been set off.
  • Find out that a suspicious package was found on a nearby street and the bomb squad has been called in. Several buildings evacuated as a precaution.


Photo from Charlotte Observer. Read full story here.

11:00am

  • Waiting.
  • Ask nice police officer nearby about the body I saw yesterday (interestingly enough in the same area where the package is). He tells me it was natural causes. They think it was a heart attack. Sad for the person but relived that it was not a crime.
  • Make mental note to work on lowering my cholesterol.

12:00pm

  • Wishing I had grabbed my wallet when I left so I could go get lunch.

1:00pm

  • Getting really hot.
  • Wishing I hadn’t worn black today.
  • Wishing I had a bottle of water along with my laptop so I could connect to wireless and get some work done.
  • Seriously though…I did get a chance to catch up with coworkers I rarely get to see or talk to. Despite the fact that we were all stuck outside for just over three hours, everyone was in good spirits. We even started collecting books for customers who wanted to turn them in.

1:50pm

  • Get the all clear to go back in the building.
  • Briefly check email. Nothing urgent.
  • Grab my wallet and go get a sandwich for lunch.

2:15pm

  • Smell smoke on my way back in the building. Realize that the fire alarm technicians are testing the fire alarms. Never a dull moment.
  • Back at my desk. Eating. Catch up on twitter, friend feed, email.

2:30pm

  • Respond to emails about new training system and decide to call the contact person.
  • Call my boss at home to see how he is doing after surgery and to ask a few questions that can’t wait.
  • Begin an email to upper management about training.

3:00pm

  • Create a report of training attendance and no shows for the current year and previous five years.

3:30pm

  • Complete the report and email. Send.
  •  A knock on the door. I have a reference question…what park nearby is good for kids and has a train? Being a member of the mommy mafia, that’s easy! Dan Nicholas Park.
  • Complete a draft of another email and send for review.

4:00pm

  • Realize I need to start getting ready for ASTD meeting tonight.
  • Make sure my calendar is up to date.
  • Synchronize my PDA/phone.
  • Check my mailbox, pack up the things I need to bring home.
  • Fix hair. :)
  • Receive a chat message with a subtle reminder…”can you please resend your document.”
  • Call WebJunction about my August webinar.

4:40pm

  • Time to go. Update my out of office response.
  • Drive to South Charlotte for ASTD meeting.

5:30pm

  • Arrive at ASTD meeting. 30 minutes to network. Then an hour-ish for dinner. Then an hour program.
  • Meet a theatre employee of ImaginOn, which is part of the library (It’s a small world!). But wait! She also knows my husband, and knows my BFF who is ironically named Lori Reed. Yep spelled exactly the same. (It gets very confusing in chat and on Facebook.)
  • Meet some instructional designers from Time Warner Cable. Talk with them about what their jobs are like and what their graduate programs in IST were like.

6:45pm

  • Announcements begin. Somehow I volunteer to run for a board position for next year.
  • Program begins about elearning–what we are doing that’s wrong and what we can do to make it better. More about that in a later post.

8:30pm

  • Program over. Last minute conversations over. Drive home.

9:00pm

  • Arrive home to total darkness and peace and quiet. The entire house is asleep except the cats.
  • Check email again.
  • Start writing this post.
  • Begin my application for a training program at the state library.
  • Respond to email about MaintainIT webinar I’m doing next month.
  • Collaborate with the brilliant trainer Paul Signorelli via Google docs on a project we’re working on together. It’s actually kind of cool. I never realized we could both work at the same time in the same doc and see each others updates. Note to self to use this more at work.

9:30pm

  • Son wakes up screaming. Husband gets him back to sleep.

9:45pm

  •  Son wakes up screaming. Husband gets him back to sleep.

10:00pm

  • Son wakes up screaming. Asks for mommy. Husband brings him downstairs.
  • He feels hot but does not have a fever.
  • Hold him for a while andtake him back upstairs to bed.

10:15pm

  • Repeat.

10:30pm

  • Repeat. Decide it’s time to invoke the mommy mafia.
  • Type up a quick post listing symptoms.
  • Within minutes receive responses ranging from ear infection to growing pains.
  • Give son ibuprofen and cough medicine as he now says his mouth and throat hurt.

11:00pm

  • I’ll spare you how many times this goes on. You get the point. :) I imagine it will be a looonng night.
  • IM with Paul some more. Random topics. It is so great to have this network of trainers all over the country!

1:30am

  • See a comment come in from another amazing trainer Marianne Lennox. Last night I convinced her to write a day in the life post. She has done a photo journal of her day and I think it is the best day in the life post so far! Marianne you need to start a Flickr meme.
  • Writing a summary post
  • Calling it a day. Root canal scheduled for 9:50 in the morning.

Library Day in the Life: Wednesday

7:00am

  • As usual can barely drag myself out of bed. Today is different though. (TMI Warning!) I’m actually so sick to my stomach that I throw up. I feel slightly better. Shower, get dressed, feed the fish, feed the cats, scoop the cat box, leave the cat puke for my husband to clean up. Everyone is still asleep and I leave for work.

7:30am

  • Leave for work. Listen to NPR and hear story about how Wikipedia needs to start earning revenue but content posters will not post content if there are ads. Wish I could go to the library in Alexandria to take a tour.
  • One block from the Main Library notice four police cars and the sidewalk is roped off. Make the mistake of looking and see a body under a blood soaked sheet. Luckily? Is that the right word–anyway as a former EMT this does not phase me but it is disturbing that it is where I walk every day.

8:00am

  • Arrive at work and look for news about the body. Nothing, and security doesn’t know either.
  • Feed my fish.
  • Open email–Outlook and Gmail.
  • Respond to more emails about focus groups that we are conducting.
  • Receive an email from a colleague that makes my day. Apparently she was so excited about a time management article that I forwarded her that she stayed up all night emptying her Inbox. Yay for GTD!
  • Read and respond to comments and emails from last night’s post.
  • Look through Wowbrary to see if any new titles have been ordered on learning, training, or time management.

9:00am

  • Begin the daunting task of entering August training into a new system. Since this is the first month of using it there are lots of extra steps…add classes, add trainers, add sessions.
  • Decide we need to rewrite our learning objectives to make them measurable.
  • Get stuck on the term patron versus customer and what should we call them.
  • Realize that to add a class I need to know what room in a library it will be in. Call libraries to ask what room training will be in.
  • Receive a phone call from a staff person who cannot figure out how to order toilet paper with our new supply system. I’m not the SME on this, so I refer her to the accounting department.
  • Keep entering the data for classes. Get timed out from the system every time I get interrupted. Note to self to schedule uninterrupted weekly appointments for this in the future.
  • Email Kevin Crenshaw who left a comment on Monday’s post about a company called Priacta and a product they have for time/email/project management  program called Trog (Total Relaxed Organization). I’ve downloaded the free trial of Trog but really need the book to help me get started using it. Ask for a copy of the book so I can review it and blog about it.

10:30am

  • Attend a web conferencing session with another library system to learn about the web conferencing tool they are using and how it works compared to the tool we use (Wimba).

11:00am

  • Write down a list of major priorities on a sheet of paper so I can begin to prioritize my time for the next month.
    • Leader of Customer Service Champions/Trainers Team
    • Leader of Online Resources Trainers Team
    • Member of Unified Services Team
    • Leader of Unified Services Training/Core Competencies Sub Team – need to recruit members to this team
    • Move training to the new system for August and communicate this to everyone
    • Contact WebJunction to add a list of trainers and classrooms to Wimba
    • Develop training and train managers to use Wimba for meetings
    • Develop training and train other trainers to use Wimba for training and contact vendors to see if it would be more cost effective to outsource this
    • Develop standards for staff training
    • Find a tool for staff to share and collaborate on training handouts across the system
    • Recruit new trainers for Online Resource Trainers Team and to help with Technology Training
    • Create storyboards for HR portions of New Employee Orientation videos
    • Create and edit a screencast about our new security database
    • Plan an afternoon at Main Library for librarians visiting from NewJersey
    • Create and implement a “Training Council”
    • Find a way to track online training that has been completed
    • Create a new form and procedure with deadlines for training requests
    • Create a blog to communicate with staff about learning opportunities that are not on our training calendar (i.e. at other libraries)
  • Receive phone call to confirm my root canal on Friday. “Yeah, sure. I’m looking forward to it. Sigh.”
  • Receive an IM from my husband asking if I have lunch plans.

12:00pm

  • Lunch with my husband. It’s great to have adult conversation and not talk about kids.

1:00pm

  • Back to work. I notice the police are still on the corner and the sidewalk is roped off.
  • Check email again.
  • Prepare to go to a 2pm focus group.
  • Print name tags for the focus group.
  • Receive a response from Kevin Crenshaw that yes I can review the book, Total Relaxed Organization: The Field Guide. Print the book so I can begin reading it tonight. Thank you Kevin!

2:00pm

  • Attend a staff focus group to gather information to contribute towards our strategic plan for 2009-2012.
  • Because I printed name tags I was concerned that the group was large, and was happy to see that the facilitator broke us up into four smaller groups.
  • Our staff are amazing. If you give them a chance to brainstorm and put them in a room together, they can solve the problems of global warming, the Carolina drought, homelessness, and just about anything else. Pleasantly reminded of the “wisdom of crowds” that one of the Michael‘s talked about at our library a few years ago.
  • Add the PLCMC Forum Blog to my RSS feeds (which I haven’t checked since a week before ALA).

4:00pm

  • Check email again. Call my colleague who emailed me at 3am to make sure she is still awake. She is and we have a pleasant brainstorming session about blogs.
  • Respond to emails I received after ALA from other libraries.
  • Respond to a MaintainITProject request to interview staff from our library about public computers.
  • Post a link to a job we have open and info about the Tech Summit on ListServs and discussion boards that I am part of.
  • Try to find someone to fill in for me at orientation next month as I realize I have triple-booked myself. Able to reschedule the other appointment.

5:30pm

  • Drive home. Normally I have to pick the kids up early on Wednesday so my nanny can get her family ready for church, but my husband gets off work early so I stay late today.
  • Make two stops on the way home to pick up wire hangers courtesy of members of the Mommy Mafia. Never in my life thought I would fill up an SUV with hundreds of wire hangers but need them to hang clothes for a consignment sale. Whatever I don’t use I’ll share with other members of the Mommy Mafia.
  • Since I am old enough to remember the days before MapQuest am thankful for MapQuest so I can easily get to these places to pick up the hangers.
  • Until I realize that MapQuest was not aware that it sent me down a street that has been converted into a dead end.
  • Resolve to buy GPS with money I make from consignment sale.

6:30pm

  • Arrive home to…a screaming baby and an affectionate 4-year-old. Wait is this the Twilight Zone? Yesterday was the opposite.
  • Snuggle on the couch with my 4-year-old while he tells me about his day. He tells me he thinks Cameron will grow up to have a mole on her face like me. Then wants to know when he will be grown up.
  • It’s a miracle both children eat all their dinners and take baths without incident.

7:00pm

  • Baby goes to bed. Husband takes son for a walk. I get on the computer.
  • Try to find out if anyone from Mommy Mafia knows what happened this morning.
  • Respond to a few posts about mommy cliques (yes they are real) and about people talking on cell phones in bathrooms. Someone posts a question about library fines and I switch hats and ask for her number so I can call her tomorrow.

7:30pm

  • Husband and son are home. Son has fallen and skinned both knees and an elbow. Mommy provides first aid, ice cream, and kisses…all is well with the world.

8:00pm

  • Back on the computer. Writing this post.

9:00pm

10:00pm

  • Start to write a blog post for a company I blog for.
  • Check my Friend Feeds and see a post about Uncontrolled Vocabulary a live, web-based show for librarians. Decide to join in just in time for a discussion of p, o, r, n. Interesting discussion about whether there is a difference between removing an item from the collection versus not buying it in the first place.
  • Chatting again with Marianne Lennox. Create a new acronym. LOLSOMDC. Most correct guess wins a prize! :)

11:00pm

  • Finished my other post.
  • Back to my post here.
  • Finished this post. Off to take pain medicine so I can sleep (root canal remember) then off to bed.