I think the hardest part of each day is fitting in the time to look for and learn something new. There are so many projects running across my some days, I don’t have much free time. It’s taken a while to find a system that works. The one thing I’ve learned is that, in the area of time management, few things are universal. Regardless, I’ll share what is working for me, and hopefully get some ideas from you in the comments below.
The first thing I had to do was get organized. You may have remembered my BUJO experiment. Well that failed, mainly because I would forget to bring it or not have a pen. I tried several mobile task managers, but settled on Asana. It’s a group project manager, but I love the way it looks on my phone and it’s ubiquity. Once I could better organize the projects on my plate I opened up a great deal of time for myself.
My biggest friends are aggregators. I subscribe to LibrarySherpa (which is powered by Nuzzle) and utilize Feedly (adopted after Pulse was bought out and changed). Also, RSS feeds have proved to be a huge boon. So for that last one, I fought RSS feeds for a LONG LONG time. I didn’t see the point, until my inbox was already full and was now additionally cluttered with emails I didn’t have time for. The RSS feed leaves it on the side of my Outlook, waiting patiently for me, and does not follow me when I get home. RSS has really allowed me to step away when I got home, as my inbox was no longer pinging early in the morning and late at night with some new post. Instead, on my lunch break I scan through my different feeds, open what links seem most interesting, and I feel decently informed day to day.
Another help is saying yes to projects. I find that having a goal to accomplish makes it easier to both try something new and excusable to search around for a new solution to that problem. It feeds my need to tinker the same way updated research guides in subject areas I don’t know feeds my need to learn new things.
What does not work for me: Twitter and Podcasts. Twitter is a deep dark rabbit hole that I am neither good at navigating nor capable of escaping once I fall into it. It has been more of a time suck than a productivity boost, except in the . As for podcasts, I cannot multitask, so the only time to listen in on my drive. I prefer listening to NPR because that take no curation on my part and is often speckled with interesting non-work related topics.
For major shake ups and exploration, conferences what I rely on. Technology has helped us shape happy information bubbles to live in, and conferences help me peer out of my personal bubble. It takes a few hours to really plan what I want to do and learn at a conference and there are always a couple of bad choices you have to self correct on site, but in the end, it is worth it to come back energized. When you cannot travel to a conference, and this is my one major exception for Twitter, follow the hashtag for the event. Librarians are amazing at live tweeting, sending pictures of their sketchnotes, and overall providing enough information to make following a hashtag a decent substitute for attending.
What do you do to keep on top on new developments?