Thursday, December 18, 2014

Magical Thinking

In academic libraries, we've come to winter break.  If we're not actually off work, we have some time when there are no students and no faculty. I know that public libraries have a different schedule but surely there are similar times when the routine of the day to day calms enough for a librarian to start thinking.  Thinking big.

It is so tempting to think of all of the things that you can get done over break, or over the summer. I, for instance, according to this list, am going to catch up on my reading for an outside course, completely clean my house decimating the number of things I own, write two papers, outline a book, completely cull and reorganize my email, plan all of 2015 with subgoals any waymarkers, work on the library at my synagogue, apply to business school, do a 4,000 piece jigsaw puzzle while catching up on netflix, and, of course, catch up on all of my email and do budget planning for the next three years. Oh, and I have to also do that conference presentation.

It's break! I can do anything! I can do everything! It's break!

Now. Friends. I submit to you that whatever plans you have for break it is impossible to do them over break. It is possible that it is impossible for any person in any period of time to complete all of those things that you thought of. You simply cannot do it. I know I can't do it.

Even as I wrote the above paragraph I thought of about four more things that I can do can't possibly get done over break. So two things about the magical thinking of break:

There is a middle ground between doing all of the things you can never do and eating cookie dough in front of netflix for three weeks. Making the most of break means actually making it more relaxing and recharging for next semester. I've, sadly, found that eating cookie dough while playing Doctor Mario all day long is not the most reinvigorating. How do you, personally, reach a place where you're able to make progress on the things that are important to you while still making the most of break? It's different for everyone, so just think about that.

What other time are you able to sit down and think about all of the things that you need or want to make happen and still remain in a good mood than thinking about break? When the broad expanse of break is before us, possibilities are open. We can think "what WOULD I do, if I had all the time in the world?" Don't waste that feeling. Go ahead and make that list that not even an alien from the future could complete. Harness your dreams.

Knowing that I can't get all of this done over break and figuring out what is most important to me will let me set goals for each day where I am easily able to get everything done on my list, feel great about my productivity, and still chill out. I think I will be able to get more done AND feel more refreshed going in to next semester.

What's your plan for break? What is the thing that you're gonna get done? What is the thing you can't possibly accomplish?

Keep Rockin',

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