Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Eating the Frog and Following Your Bliss: Tackling the To-Do List

Photo by Bev Sykes
As I have mentioned before, I recently had the pleasure of taking an online youth services management class through UW-SLIS, taught by the inimitable Marge Loch-Waters and one of the topics we discussed was finding your zen. By this I mean finding a balance between life and work, managing stress, and getting everything done. It's not always easy and it's something a lot of us struggle with throughout our careers.
This year has been an overwhelmingly busy one in the Children's Room at my library. It's awesome - we love what we're doing - but it's meant that figuring out a to-do list system has been a MUST for me. Stacy Dillon wrote a great post for the ALSC Blog about various organization systems and what she's trying out. (I am using Wunderlist at the moment.)
But once you have settled on an organizational system, how do you keep yourself productive? One of my classmates in my management class suggested "eating the frog". 
"Eating the frog" basically means doing the worst thing you have to do that day to get it out of the way. The "frog" is something you need to do, but don't want to do. Get that thing out of the way. The idea is that if the first thing you do is eat a frog, the rest of your day will seem easy by comparison.
[The term comes from a quote that is repeatedly credited to Mark Twain, but might not actually have been something he said.]
So, I think that's pretty good advice. Tackle something important on your to-do list that you just don't want to do. And it is true that it makes everything else on your to-do list seem much easier!
But sometimes that to-do list can just be overwhelming. Or sometimes you get to a point where you have a bunch of stuff you need to do and they're all of equal importance. When I reach that point, I follow my bliss. I start working on whatever seems the most fun, whether it's putting in a book order, planning a preschool storytime, or getting materials together for our monthly staff reader's advisory discussion. Something's getting done off the to-do list, which is going to make it a little less overwhelming soon.
And maybe tomorrow I'll eat another frog.
How do you keep yourself organized and productive?