Life Lessons from the Library: Take Advantage of Down Time

It is almost 3 p.m. on the second afternoon of fall break. Most of our computers are filled with students who are finishing up on various projects that are due later this week. But in general, it has been a quiet two days. Only a couple of students have needed in-depth help with papers, and a few have had quick word processing questions.

In the library, we take advantage of whatever down time is provided for us. Charles is unpacking boxes from the renovations this summer. Sally is catching up on cataloging. Andrew has been training our new employee, Terry. Allison has been able to do some in-depth essay evaluation with students. And I’ve worked on a presentation about reading journal articles. These are not the sorts of things that we are able to devote time to when students are here.

I think it’s a good lesson for outside of the library as well. For most of us, there is never going to be an unlimited amount of free time to pursue dreams. We have to take advantage of the small breaks that appear in our already busy lives. And they are there if we will only look carefully:

  • Cutting back on only one television show a night can create 3.5 hours of time for other things each week.
  • Bringing lunch instead of going out can give you a hour a day for reading, writing, or other activities.
  •  If you are a compulsive joiner or you have a tendency to say yes to everything that’s asked of you, schedule one hour that’s just for you and when people ask you to do something, say (very truthfully) that block of time is filled.

Most of us don’t have scheduled down times like fall, spring, and semester breaks to let us work on those important projects or even not-so-important ones that keep getting pushed aside. But we all have mini-down times. So use them wisely.

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