Be Here

This week I was having a conversation with a work colleague about how important and difficult it is to be exactly where you need to be when it comes to our work. Most of the time, we’re all floundering somewhere in the too little or too much sections. We’re all trying to “be here”, otherwise known as that sweet spot where everything is humming along nicely and everything makes perfect sense. But most of the time we’re all trying to get there. I’ve had a lot of that in my professional career. There have been moments where work has been too much. In those moments work guided who I was and the balance in my life suffered because of that. On the other side of things there were moments where work has been too little. My work and in turn those that I worked with suffered because I wasn’t showing up to do what was needed to be done.

Age has helped me me find the tools, skills, and ideas that I need to be here. I’m sharing these below and I hope that someone will get something out of this.

  • STRUCTURE: Find what kind of structure you day needs. I am not advocating for a robotic life where everything is planned out down to the minute. Instead I have found it good to have some loose structure around what I accomplish during certain parts of my day. This has helped me personally, but I have also found that it helped me quite a bit when it comes to management and leadership. When staff have a structure around their workdays it tends to lessen the anxiety around working with the public in libraries.
  • WORKSPACE: I understand why people have their desks and why they surround themselves with familiar items, mementos, and photos of their lives. When a person has their own workspace they are better able to settle in and focus on the work that they need to do. That workspace has been mighty important to me and is something I have struggled with in my adjustment from work at the Benson Memorial Library to the Wellington City Libraries. I need a space to focus on what needs to be done. When I have that space I do my best thinking and my best work. I’m able to get that work done at a good pace that is constructive for both my job and my overall being.
  • MUSIC: For me, having music constantly playing in the background keeps me tuned into being where I need to be. It provides me with the energy to focus and to keep moving ahead. What does it for you?
  • OUTSIDE OF WORK: What do you do when you’re not at work? How do you spend your time away from work? I find this to be an important thing to look at. Surround yourself with people that you want to be with. Make time to participate in activities and adventures that mean something to you. Do some kind of exercise. All of these things keep my energy levels where they need to be.
  • REFLECTION: We know ourselves best so why not take some time to reflect on what we’ve done and make an attempt to learn how to better ourselves? This website has become my place of reflection. I write these posts to better understand myself. By putting them out into the world, I am hoping to nudge everyone else to consider the same type of reflection in their own lives as well.


  1. Another fantastic entry on that all too elusive work-life balance. As one of my former mentors once told me, “Never forget! We’re all simply human beings, just trying to survive!” I like to use the HALT method of checking in – are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired? Putting on my own oxygen mask first is one of the keys to making library management work for me.

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