An idea for the never-ending To-Do List

Looking around my desk, I am surrounded by lists: lists of library projects, quotes about reading for Instagram, titles I want to read, procedures to write up for Student Congress, faculty members to email, potential Advisory activities, PD opportunities. I am the queen of sticky note lists–they are stuck all over my desk, my paper planner (both inside and out), on my computer and piled in my top drawer. I’m surrounded by great ideas, but so often the immediate takes precedence and those great ideas remain two-dimensional, lifeless and flat like the paper on which they are written.

What if I carve out time, maybe one hour a week or two hours per month, to devote to one project, one idea, and see how far I can get with it? Progress after all is the result of consistency, not perfection. If I am consistent with spending focused time with one idea, slowly I’ll find success and be able to whittle down the to-do list.

This all sounds great, right? But what happens when I run into the inevitable stumbling block, the problem I can’t quite figure out my way around? Will I be able to keep persevering, pushing towards an answer, or will I throw up my hands and abandon the project? We all know the benefit of tapping into the collective wisdom of AISL through the listserv, but I wonder about taking it a step further–I envision meeting with a small group of librarians a few times during the school year who are each working on their own projects, strategizing and encouraging each other in turning those ideas into launched programs.

Here’s what I propose–a peer mastermind workgroup of AISL members who commit to meet online once a month to share their progress on their individual goals and who are willing to brainstorm with each other about solutions to any hurdles that may arise. I am not Type A enough to adhere to the mastermind structure set forth in this ACRL article by Susan A. Schreiner about professional mastermind groups, but some guidelines would have to be established along the lines of when and how long to meet and the structure of each session (i.e. each person has the floor for 15 minutes to share their progress and ask for input on roadblocks, etc.).

While this could feel clunky at the start, I’m willing to endure some awkwardness for the potential payoff of clarity, focus and helping each other grow in our practice as school librarians. If you, like me, are intrigued with this possibility and perhaps have an idea lurking on your to-do list that needs a little nudge to bring to fruition, I invite you to join me and share your thoughts here.

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