Magazine article American Libraries

Working Knowledge. (Professional Development)

Magazine article American Libraries

Working Knowledge. (Professional Development)

Article excerpt


Our director just announced a hiring freeze to deal with budget cuts. I'm barely keeping up with my own work, and I panic at the thought of taking on even more as people leave or retire. Can you offer any advice to get me through the busy days ahead?

Out of Time in Texas


A "band-aid" approach isn't the answer for the long run, but you can use the following tips to get you started on the right approach to managing your time.

First, try to minimize interruptions in your day by scheduling office hours and projects behind closed doors. Then consider delegating duties to volunteers or students as a temporary solution to staffing shortages. A word of caution, however: Be sure to evaluate if delegating actually takes up more time in added supervisory duties.

Above all, keep in mind the words of Peter Drucker in The Effective Executive (Harper and Row, 1966): "Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right." Concentrate on effectiveness first; then focus on efficiency.


The current economic climate and an increase in staff cutbacks are causing employees everywhere to feel pressured. While we can't control what is happening nationally, we can gain some control in the workplace by effectively managing our time. While no single method works for everyone, you can tailor the experts' advice below to your own individual work style.

* Keep only supplies you need on a daily basis on your desktop, says the National Association of Professional Organizers.

* Overcome procrastination. Try the "Swiss cheese" method suggested in Alan Lakein's classic How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life (Signet, 1974): Punch holes in a daunting project by breaking it into smaller tasks.

* Conquer clutter. When in doubt, throw it out.

* Handle paper only once. Barbara Hemphill in Taming the Paper Tiger at Work (Kiplinger, 2002) advises following the FAT principle: File it, Act on it, or Toss it out. …

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