Friday, July 2, 2010

On overcommitting

I've decided to take a leaf out of Hoi's book (blog) and title some posts "On ..."

This one is on doing too much. Or more correctly, on my attitude towards doing too much.

It's odd, because secretly I think I'm a quite lazy person. (Not a secret anymore I guess!) I watch a LOT of TV, spend a lot of time on teh intertubes, tweeting, blogging and reading blogs, reading silly stuff about celebrities, and chatting to friends or whatever. Oh, and I love sleeping.

But I actually do a lot. I work. I volunteer for ALIA (some say too much!). I do yoga. I spend a lot of time with my family, friends and pets. I occasionally date. I occasionally diet and exercise (small steps). And I've just submitted a mammoth proposal to do a huge research project on a conference mentoring trial.

It wasn't until I had submitted the 14 page document detailing the outline, methodology, timeline, budget and (projected) outcomes of this study that I realised that I had effectively given over the next year of my life to this project. And I also realised that I'd thought I needed to get everything done within a year - rather than complete the project, and THEN submit the deliverables within a year after that.

"Is it for a Masters or a PhD?" people keep asking me. "Um, no." "Are you getting paid for it?" That would be a "No" again. So why are you doing it?

The best answer I can give actually came from @restructuregirl : Fun, joy and networking.
Why add study to that? Chill out

I'd add: because I think it's a really important initiative for new graduates, and supporting new professionals is really important. And I absolutely love conferences, and want others to have the best experience possible.

Further lessons in chilling out came (apart from the multitude of Darth Vader clips @restructuregirl proceeded to send to me - she's obsessed!) from various sources.

Kay Harris, the awesome Convenor of Information Online where I'll be running the Conference Mentoring trial, offered me all sorts of assistance and help (including some volunteers to help out! Yay!), and in a follow up email wrote:
small steps my dear - plenty of people to help

My very best library friend (and one of my very best friends of all time) virtually a librarian talked me down from my anxiety ledge around the research project and gave me some salient advice around managing multiple projects and work.

@KatyKat and I had a great natter last night around life, libraries, study, work, ALIA and everything in between which left me feeling more invigorated and supported and part of a team that will achieve stuff! (Go NGAC!)

So I'm going to revisit my proposal, and make a coupld of adjustments to the timeline, and treat it more as fun and less as work. Because the reason I signed myself up for this stuff is not to to make myself stressed out: it's to help others and make a difference, and (hopefully) create a program that will be of lasting value to the profession. And to have fun while doing it.


  1. It will have lasting value. And it will be fun. And you should do as much of it at work in work time as you can!
    And you know you'll have all of us out here in LibraryLand to help you out wherever we can and live vicariously off your glory... :)

  2. Ooh, I should do a similar post myself...though I think my tolerance for overcommitting is lower than your's :-) As far as I'm concerned it should always be about the fun.

  3. I admire you for your determination in getting things done. It is always like sowing a seed, sometime you just have no idea what you will get till must later...