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Happy New Year!

Welcome to Think Outside the Stacks and an especially big thanks to all of you who keep welcoming me to your inbox month after month. We're going to spice things up a little this year. I'll start each issue by sharing a few resources on a particular topic and then get to the resource round-up. As always you can shoot me some feedback at or @BethReads on Twitter. 

Let's Talk About: Productivity, One Big Thing, and Batching

Let's be honest, I've been in your shoes. I know most of us are understaffed and under-resourced. I also know that when we love what we do, when we believe in it, we want to do as much as we can. So, if I can help you work just a little more efficiently and give you some time back I'll give it a go. 

The 20% of Productivity Advice that Produces 80% of the Results (via Doist)
Our shelves are full of books promising to teach us how to work smarter but a few basic principles can go a long way. 

One Big Thing
I stumbled across One Big Thing: How to Do More by Planning Less and I've been having great results. I think many of us are guilty of doing the small things that aren't the important things.You can try the mentioned app, but if you use a paper planner like I do you can use a sticker for your big thing, a different color pen, or a highlighter. 

And that one big thing? It might help if you're batching tasks: 

I've been enjoying the Productivity Paradox podcast from Inkwell Press lately and I want to share a topic that I think is lesser known than lists or habits but could have a big impact for youth services people. 

Batching is grouping the same kind of tasks together to improve your focus and reduce transition time. 

Productivity Paradox Episode 29: Batching Tasks
The details of batching, why it works, and some examples. 

Work More Efficiently by Batching Your Time (via Brazen)
A quick overview of batching if you just want the high points. 

How to Get More Things Done: Batching Your Time ( via Simply Organize Life) 
A step-by-step guide to batching and scheduling your tasks. 

Batching for Youth Services Staff

How can you use batching to work more efficiently? I have a few ideas:

Storytime Planning (and program planning in general)
What if instead of planning each storytime before moving on to the next you planned several at the same time by batching the tasks?  You check your catalog once, you go gather books once, you open up your song and fingerplay resources once, you get out your flannel board supplies once and so on.  

When most people do displays they do it one at a time. They make a list, gather the books, make signage, gather or make props, and then set it up.

It would be much more efficient to pinpoint topics for all of your displays and do each task for all of them together. For example, if you can open your software and get into the flow of making signage for three or four displays at once that is going to save you time over refocusing and reopening the software three or four different times. 

The same goes for making social media posts, fliers, or book lists. Sitting down and scheduling a month of Facebook or blog posts is going to have better results than doing one whenever you can squeeze them in individually. You can break it down more than that and batch outlines, batch writing, and batch graphics creation individually too. 

If you're hungry for more check out Episode 35 on Automating Your Schedule. We have SO MANY tasks that occur weekly, monthly, and yearly in the library and it could simplify a lot of planning including summer reading/end of the school year. 
Resource Round-Up
Our Most Highly Anticipated LGBTQA Books of 2018 (via BN)
A nice list of upcoming releases to add to your lists. I'm especially looking forward to White Rabbit and The Brightsiders. 

Most Anticipated Diverse YA Books in 2018  (via Hypable)
I always figure the more mainstream the site the more teens are going to be looking for the books. There are some amazing titles on this list. 

2018 Picture Books We Can't Wait to Add to Our Libraries (via We Are Teachers)
Lots of big books on this list. I did a writing webinar with Aree Chung where he showed us some of Mixed and it's super cute. 

18 of the Most Buzzed-About Middle-Grade Books of 2018 (via Read Brightly) 

If you have a non-library/non-publisher source that posts lists of upcoming middle-grade books please share!

72 of the Best Math Picture Books for Kids (via Stay At Home Educator)
Counting, shapes, sorting, and more. A great list of books that feature preschool math concepts. 

Heart Bouquet Cards (via Red Ted Art)
These super cute and clever cards would be great for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, or just because. 
We Work in the Service of Children (via Crawling Out of the Classroom)
Putting the needs of children over the comfort of adults. 

How to Use Gender-Neutral Pronouns (via Life Hacker)
Whys and hows of getting comfortable with gender-neutral pronouns so that everyone we serve can be treated with respect. 

A Therapist on How To Empathize Without Burning Out (via The Cut) 
I see so many posts from librarians who know how rough their kids have it or have had suicides or shocking crimes in their communities. Here is some insight on feeling for our kids and teens without breaking.

Don't Be the Grumpy Film Critic of Children's Literature (via Nerdy Book Club)
Creating non-judgemental spaces for kids to take reading risks. 
75 Star Wars Crafts for Kids (via The Nerd's Wife)
Lots of variety to complement any May 4th or other programming you're working on. 
Inspirational Splatter Paint Activity (via Buggy and Buddy)
This is a fun splatter paint activity with a nice encouraging twist. The results look pretty good too.

Valentine's Art Projects (via Red Ted Art)
A nice variety of heart themed projects to spread the love in February. 

Winter Haiku Poetry (via Playful Learning)
A winter writing program for everyone old enough to understand syllables. This would be even better if you can take a quick nature walk around the building or collect some winter nature objects ahead of time to inspire their writing. 
The 99 Best Things That Happened in 2017 (via Quartz)
It wasn't all bad! With citations even.

30 Day Self Care Challenge (via Want for Wellness) 
I like this one, it's a nice variety of things that aren't just "be indulgent and treat yo'self". 

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