“You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted.”
- Ruth E. Renkl
What is success? I guess each person defines it differently. I do know that in order to find success, it has to be defined. This is my first stumbling block. My work is incredibly rewarding. I feel a great sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. Most of the time I consider myself successful. However, when I get home from work I am normally so tired that I can't find the energy to do things like cook dinner or throw a load of laundry into the washing machine. I guess one could say that I am not a successful homemaker. My husband and I have divided up the household chores into "boy's jobs" and "girl's jobs." I often ignore my jobs because there are more important things to do, like design the library newsletter or buy books. Of the14 suggested activities to be successful, I only do 5 of them. I'm starting to wonder what it would feel like to do all 14.
I tend to disagree with many of the things on the list, so I decided to compose my own. Perhaps they are more work-related than they should be, but I love my job and some of the things I do on the weekends are things that I find very rewarding. That being said, here are my Things Successful Guerrilla Librarians Do On Weekends.
1. Put on your pajamas. This may be a small thing, but I find myself far more productive when I'm wearing pajamas. It gives me a sense that, at any moment, I have the freedom to take a nap. Rarely do I do it - but I could if I wanted to.
2. Make a list. Let's face it - lists are awesome. My lists are prioritized, sorted and color-coded. There are several good websites out there that make list making fun. The most popular online list maker is probably Remember The Milk. There's also Toodledo, which is great for librarians because it gives you all kinds of neat options. My favorite, though, is Asana. I love Asana for several reasons. First, you can make lists for other people. When I think of something that my assistant needs to do, I put it on the list and assign it to her. I can add due dates and attach files. The coolest thing, though, is that every morning, Asana sends you an email with your list for the day. It saves me time because I only have to worry about the things I need to do and I can forget the things I've assigned to others. I'm not so sure that the library employees like it, but I love it!
3. Think About Your Week. It sounds like a small thing, but I coordinate all my clothing for the week. Each day has a hanger and even has my shoes attached to it. It sounds like a small thing but it saves me at least 15 minutes every day.
4. Skip Shopping. Do you realize how much time people spend shopping for things that they get at a regular interval? I've discovered the best solution to this. I've been using Amazon Subscribe & Save for about a year now. I never run out of cat food, paper towels, laundry detergent and a whole lot more. You can choose your items, schedule your deliveries, pick your frequency of delivery, get free shipping AND get 15% off the price. You don't have to carry things from you car. You'll never run out of toilet paper. If you spend half an hour during one day, you can pick out all your stuff and never have to worry about it again. This is a true time saver.
5. Take a Nap. I am trying to take a nap for at least 1 hour each weekend day. It makes me feel like I'm spoiling myself and it's a guilty pleasure that cannot be topped.
6. Get a Movie. My husband and I have been trying to watch a movie every Saturday night. We sit there with our laptops and work - but we're still watching a movie. If it is interesting enough, we sometimes actually stop working for a little. There is very little that makes us both stop working at the same time.
These are just a few things that I've started doing to make my week easier and take me away from my computer, at least for a little while. Oddly enough, I still schedule my nap. When I wake up in the morning, I tell my husband what time I'll be napping and I stick to the schedule. In fact, I only have 10 minutes to finish this post before it's nap time. Kids do it and have a ton of energy - why can't adults? On long days during the week, I sometimes take a nap right in my office. I have an air mattress at the library and just close my door. Sometimes, I'll hear someone coming towards my office and another employee will whisper, "She's taking a nap right now." I guess every workplace has a different culture and in ours, the Executive Director napping is acceptable. Nobody ever questions if I'm putting in my 40 hours. I don't think I ever worked only 40 hours - even when I was part-time.
I think success is loving what you do. Even more important is that you incorporate other aspects of your life into your work in order to really enjoy it. My husband is a regular helper at the library. He moves things, attends events and helps me do everything from cooking to graphic design. It is fun working together and he appreciates me more and is more forgiving when I'm working around the clock if he knows what I do. Maybe it's just us, but it really works for the two of us. I attribute much of our great relationship to the fact that we both love our jobs and support each other in our endeavors, not just by watching but by helping.
I wonder - how do other people define success? Would they think that my idea of success just sounds like another way to work? I'd be interested in hearing how YOU define success. Maybe I'll learn something.
Well, it's nap time. I've already saved myself time by wearing my pajamas all weekend and having a bed in my office. As I crawl in under the blankets and put on an episode of Law & Order, I feel like a success!