React: To change in response to a stimulus.
Since the fall semester started all I have been doing is reacting. You need an information literacy session next week? Let me schedule that for you. You need help with your lit review? Let me look at your research question. You noticed something looking strange on the website? Let me update that CSS a little. There’s a call for conference programs? Quick, let me submit a proposal.
Everything I do at work is something I have done before as a librarian. Nothing is out of the realm of normal librarian duties and almost all of this is work I typically enjoy doing. Yet I find myself annoyed, stressed, and at times unenthusiastic. It’s not the work that underwhelms me at the moment, it’s the way that I’m going about the work: I’m on autopilot.
As exciting as the start of a new semester can be, it can also feel like an onslaught. I’ve been so busy trying to check things off my to-do list that I haven’t taken any time to think about the work that I’m doing. I’m not going about my work in an intentional, purposeful way, and the stress that it causes is catching up with me. I recently read a post by Information Tyrannosaur Andy Burkhardt who suggested asking yourself “What do I love doing?” and refocusing your energies in that direction.
At the moment I have classes to plan, web advertisements to design and research guides to revamp, but I’m choosing not to do them. I think that most people would say I am creating more stress for myself by not using my time productively, but I for me, taking the time to stop, think, and write this blog post is a way of refocusing my energy and reviving my librarian mojo. I need space to reflect on my teaching, explore new project ideas, and hash out ideas. This blog is my often neglected pet project that I think is ready to be move to a more integrated role in my professional life. As I write I give myself the opportunity to think about the work that I do, which not only makes my work better, but makes me feel better about my work.