Readers Choice Feature Article Contest

PL-NOV-DEC-2017-cover-artRRRThe other day I received the following email from Public Libraries Magazine regarding my article, Efficient Librarianship, a New Path for the Profession:

I’m writing to let you know that a feature article you contributed to “Public Libraries” in 2017 has been chosen to participate in the annual ‘readers choice’ feature article award. Five articles have been chosen and readers will vote for the article they feel should receive the award. The prize is $300 which is presented during the PLA member breakfast at the ALA Annual Conference.

You can see more here Please feel free to share and encourage voting among your friends and colleagues.  Thanks so much for sharing this great work with our readers!


Kathleen M. Hughes
Editor, Public Libraries
Manager, Publications

PLA, division of ALA

I encourage everyone to participate in the online poll, irregardless of whom you vote for.  If my article is selected, I plan to donate the prize money to our library partners, The Friends of the Palm Beach County Library System.

The deadline to cast your vote is this Friday, June 1.


What Gets in the Way of Being Productive?

The principles of efficiency are very simple.  Yet the mystery of this work is why so many people struggle to implement the basic moves on a consistent basis.  There seems to be more at play here than meets the eye.

In a recent blog post, David Allen addresses this question head on and generates some intriguing, yet familiar to GTDers, insights into the problem.

DA-Small“A typical question I get is, “What’s the one thing that we do that gets in the way of us being productive?” It’s not one thing, but five, all wrapped together: People keep stuff in their head. They don’t decide what they need to do about stuff they know they need to do something about. They don’t organize action reminders and support materials in functional categories. They don’t maintain and review a complete and objective inventory of their commitments. Then they waste energy and burn out, allowing their busy-ness to be driven by what’s latest and loudest, hoping it’s the right thing to do but never feeling the relief that it is.”

Read the rest of his blog post at the Getting Things Done web site.

Join Me at FLA

flalogoThe Florida Library Association Conference is happening this week at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando Florida from May 23-25.  I will be participating in several different events, including the Public Library Academy pre-conference on the afternoon of May 22.  As well, I am leading the breakout session, Lessons Learned from the Sunshine State Library Leadership Institute on May 24, 3 pm.

Although there are no Efficient Librarian sessions on the agenda, I am inviting all my blog readers to join me for lunch at the pool side bar on May 23 after the opening session wraps up around 11:30 am.  So, if you are attending the conference, drop on by.  I’ll even do my best to answer any productivity questions you may have!

On a completely different note, here is a link to an intriguing article on Tiago Forte’s blog called A Pattern Recognition Theory of Mind.  It may help you understand why you think as you do.

General Reference Filing – A Key to a Clean Desk

paper-filesDo you know someone who has piles of papers stacked on their desk?  Over time, these piles can spill out to neighboring chairs, tables, and even onto the floor.  In such cases, it is safe to assume that this person’s filing system has stopped functioning.

If not managed efficiently, paper filing systems can easily swallow up whole offices.  Therefore, it is important to tame them as soon as possible and keep them in check year-round. Thankfully, there are very easy steps to do just that.  For starters:

  • Use a single A-Z filing system for everything. Simplicity trumps complexity every time.
  • Keep a stack of file folders within reach to file anything quickly. If file folders are only available in a supply cabinet down the hall they may as well be on Mars for all the chance you will walk down to get one.
  • Purge your files annually. Reference material goes stale over time.  Toss things that no longer have any apparent value.
  • Keep your filing cabinets no more than three quarters full. Don’t let it get to the point where jamming in a document incurs a high risk of paper cuts.  Clean up or expand to another cabinet when space is low.

More great tips on general reference filing can be found in this simple handout from the Getting Things Done web site.

FLA Webinar – The Efficient Librarian: Workflow Management

Please join me as I present a flalogofree webinar this Tuesday afternoon, sponsored by the Florida Library Association.  (Please note that registration may be limited due to demand.  So sign up early.)

The Efficient Librarian: Workflow Management

The world of work seems to be moving faster and faster every day. Is it possible to keep up with the rapid pace and still be stress free? Yes, it is! To do so you must learn the path of the Efficient Librarian. An Efficient Librarian is an elite knowledge worker, navigating the complexity of the post Internet information world. In this workshop, Doug Crane will teach powerful methods for managing commitments and processing information which reduce stress and increase efficiency.  The workshop is based on the article, “Efficient Librarianship: A New Path for the Profession” published in the Nov/Dec 2017 issue of Public Libraries.

Speaker: Doug Crane
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM, Eastern
FREE webinar open to all Florida Library Staff
Click Here For Registration

Deciding Between Priorities

There is a common question I encounter in my Efficient Librarian presentations that can be best synthesized as this: How do I decided between different priorities?


The default resolution that many people fall to is an attempt to decide which item is most important.  While this can be helpful, adjudicating importance can be too subjective and imprecise.  A better guide to resolving this question was recently presented on the Getting Things Done blog.  In the post, senior coach Kelly Forrister framed a few different factors to consider.

1/ Context is first since it will always be required to do what you want to do. For example, if your computer is required to write an email, but you don’t have it with you, then you can’t take that action. If being @Home is required to mow your lawn, but you’re not home, you can’t take that action.

2/ Time available is also a limitation in that if you don’t have the time to take an action, it won’t matter if it’s high priority or not. If you only have ten minutes, but you need an hour to take an action, that will eliminate some choices.

Read the rest of the factors listed in the post on the Getting Things Done blog.

A Formula for Success

Is there a formula for success?  If so, it would have to be a simple approach that can be used by anyone in any situation.  Tim and Brian Kight, the founders of Focus3, believe there is a formula that if used with discipline will lead to any desired result.  In fact, they recently highlighted it on their blog:

E+R=O (Event + Response = Outcome) is cause and effect. Desired outcomes require deserving responses. The cause must meet the requirement to create the effect. What does this mean for you?

It means use a moment each week to clarify the cause and effect of E+R=O in your life. Are you responding in a way deserving of the things you want? Decide on your objectives, lock your focus on their importance, and make every action reflect your real desires. When you do this, success is with you in every response, even before your true objective is a reached.

Read the rest of this entry on the Focus3 blog.