Or, I Don’t Like Mondays
Today was a long day. This is because today really started over the weekend. And, I am exhausted.
This year, one of my goals is to be more organized and to be more efficient with my time. Though I think the main problem is that I just have too much to do, I feel that maybe I could manage my time better. So, I finally bought a smart phone, which I hope will help me in this endeavor. This weekend, I started using the Errands app to put in my to-do list and put due dates and reminders. Well, my weekend was packed! I had a few things I had to do for work, plus household and personal tasks. By Saturday, I was already behind. By Sunday, I had a bunch of unaccomplished tasks, which I had to move to future deadlines. I wasn’t slacking this weekend, though I did take an afternoon nap on Saturday and walked both days. The rest of the time, though, I was busy. So, not only did I not get to relax or get enough sleep over the weekend, but I was already tired before the work week even started.
As part of this organization goal, I started a time management experiment, where I scheduled everything from the time I wake up to the time I sleep. For accountability and support, I turned in my schedule for the week to my partner in crime on Sunday afternoon. I was afraid that I really wasn’t giving myself enough time to do the tasks but, at the same time, I had a lot of things that needed to get done. So, I thought I’d limit the timing, hoping that being more focused on specific tasks would help them get done faster. Turns out things just really take a while to finish.
Things Go Awry (or Aray (Ouch) in Tagalog or Cebuano))
I was off to a good start. I didn’t press the snooze button once and wasn’t rushing to leave the house. But it went downhill from there. Traffic was somewhat bad for a Monday morning, so we got to campus a tad late. When I got to my office, my computer was locked out. I wasn’t sure if IT people were working on it, so I didn’t want to reboot it. Some more minutes wasted. Mid-morning, the alarm went off, so we had to evacuate. More time taken off my tight schedule. Fortunately, there were no other surprises.
It Just Takes Time
I basically only worked on two things today: my peer review and a research proposal. I have been working on these for a while, but I wasn’t quite done.
Peer review: At UCLA, librarians are not quite faculty, not quite staff. We have our own version of tenure and the peer review process. We have to go through peer review every 2-3 years. It is a time-consuming process that includes gathering/creating the following materials:
- statement of responsibilities: sort of a job description, in essay form. If your responsibilities changed during the review period, you’ll need more than one.
- data summary: list of everything you’ve done for the review period–work-related and for professional development
- statement of professional achievements (an essay highlighting your accomplishments), putting together statements of responsibilities (more than one, if your responsibilities changed during the review period
- annual work plans
- goals table for the next review period
- list of referees: needed if you’re going for career status (our version of tenure), promotion (to the next rank), or acceleration (going up 2 or more steps within your rank)
- supplemental materials (optional): includes publications, brochures, and anything else that you think would help make your case
These materials go to your review initiator (RI), or supervisor, for feedback. The RI has to write a recommendation and an essay to support that recommendation. The unit head, department head, and supervisory associate university librarian (AUL) also have to write their recommendations and assessment. My unit head is the same as my department head so I only need 3 recommendations / assessment.
This is my 2nd time doing this, and it sure isn’t any easier. I thought the first time took forever — I was pretty much working on it for 2 months. But, at that time, I had no supervisor or unit head; my AUL filled all those roles, so we had some leeway time-wise. This time, I started talking with my supervisor in late summer. I began working on my materials in November, knowing that I’ll need to turn them in earlier since there are a couple more people involved in the process. I spent a good chunk of my Thanksgiving weekend working on my materials. I was looking forward to being done by early December. When we weren’t, I looked forward to being done before the holidays. Still not the case. So, due to circumstances that were not in my control, I was still working on it today, 2 days before the final deadline! And I was working on it over the weekend, too. But now, I’ve done my part, and it’s out of my hands. My consolation is that this tedious process will soon be over. Then, I can forget about it. For a while anyway.
Research proposal: UCLA is part of the University of California (UC) system, and the UC librarians have an association called the Librarians Association of the UC (LAUC). (Each campus also has a chapter.) LAUC offers its members the opportunity to get funding for research projects related to librarianship or their subject specialties. Last year, I applied for a mini-grant (only up to $500) from LAUC-LA, the UCLA chapter, to begin exploring a potential comparative collections analysis project. Now, I’m applying for a full LAUC research grant. I’ve been working on the proposal for weeks and turned it in a couple of weeks ago to our local committee. Late last week, the committee came back with suggested changes and today was the deadline for the revised proposal. I was supposed to work on this yesterday, but I just didn’t get to it. I did turn the revised documents today but, just before I had to leave for the day, it was suggested that I modify my timeline. So, I had to do it tonight, during the time that was allotted to write my LibDay post. But, again, it’s over. Well, almost. I still have to get signatures. And the local committee will review it once more before sending the packet on to the statewide committee. Wish me luck!
There’s Always More To Do
Because these two projects took up so much of my time (even with a working lunch), I did not get to do the tasks scheduled for this afternoon. So, tonight, I had to find new days/times in which to do them. I tell ya, I don’t think it’s me.
This Really Is a Small World
An unexpected thing that happened today–a pleasant unexpected thing, that is–is that I ran into Jim Deutsch, my former colleague at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival (SFF). Jim is a curator for SFF, a lecturer at George Washington University, and, like me, has a background in folklore and librarianship. When we had to evacuate due to the fire alarm, I saw Jim standing among the crowds, and I was so shocked to see him there. Turns out he’s here to do two days of research (today and tomorrow) at UCLA before he heads back to DC. If he hadn’t been for the alarm, we wouldn’t have run into each other. Isn’t that crazy?
The day is finally over. Though I was supposed to go to bed an hour ago, I was at least able to finish this post before midnight. Yay, me! Here’s to an easier tomorrow…