10 Ways Waking up Earlier Will Help You Become a Successful LIS Professional

by Courtney Baron, former Head Editor, INALJ Georgia
previously published 3/18/14

10 Ways Waking up Earlier Will Help You Become a Successful LIS Professional

courtneybaronTime management is a geeky interest of mine. I love reading books and articles on the subject and I’m inspired by the way successful people fit it all in simply by managing their time. Tweaking the way you spend your time is such an easy, plus FREE, thing to do and it can have an enormous effect on your life. I think librarians, who love to organize and plan by nature, are probably better at managing their time than most. How else do we fit in all our projects and priorities?

Library students, like myself, often work full time jobs and volunteer while in school. But the multiple identities don’t stop once you enter the profession. LIS professionals often engage in professional development, are actively involved in their communities and professional organizations, and maintain a strong online presence. So no one can deny that we aren’t busy or hard workers! Unfortunately, nurturing your career while balancing your family and personal life can be exhausting and even the best time managers get burnt out. But I have one tip that I promise you will help streamline your productivity, give you more energy, and set the tone for the rest of your day.

Get up earlier.

Are you already doing this? Great! If not, it’s time to quit pressing the snooze button and get out of bed. Why? The first hour or so of your day is generally uninterrupted time with few demands requiring your immediate attention. It’s the perfect time to fit in some projects that focus on improving your personal well-being, your family life, and your career.

Need some motivation? I highly recommend Laura Vanderkam’s short e-book What Successful People Do Before Breakfast  and the newly published e-book Early to Rise: Learn to Rise in 30 Days has amazing reviews so far. The blog Money Saving Mom has a great series on waking up earlier that follows the Early to Rise book. Not a morning person? Me either. But it really does make a big difference when I make it a priority to get up and have some quiet time before going into the office. It also means I arrive at my job feeling refreshed and eager to tackle my most important task of the day. Waking up earlier is the easiest way to find an extra hour in your day, but if you can’t make it a habit, then try to set aside some time at another point in the day for yourself.

We all know we can get up early to exercise, catch up on housework, or cook a nice breakfast with our spouse and kids. Those are definitely wonderful ways to spend your morning. But there are also specific things you can do to improve your career that I think are worthwhile. If you can wake up just an hour earlier each day, you can devote a solid hour towards building your career. Here’s a list of ways to spend your newfound hour in the morning as a LIS professional or student:

  1. Volunteer! I usually post jobs for I Need a Library Job and edit my state page first thing in the morning. I’m also doing a remote internship and is the perfect time to work on that.
  2. Use your free hour to catch up with social media. Librarians have a stellar online presence, but it can get overwhelming reading all the blog posts, tweets, and Facebook notifications. Make it a priority to tweet at least one LIS tweet per day or write three blog posts per week.
  3. Catch up on listservs! We can get so busy that we end up skimming listserv emails. Don’t miss out on something important!
  4. Research upcoming conferences, from big to small, and prepare abstracts to submit for presentation opportunities.
  5. Read journal articles and news articles concerning the LIS profession. Stay updated on the field! Use your knowledge of current practices to draft your own article for submission.
  6. Take an online class – either working towards your MLIS, a supplemental degree, or for professional development.
  7. Work on your technical skills. Teach yourself HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or XML with w3schools (http://www.w3schools.com/).
  8. Are you interested in another subject that would help you at your job or go into another branch of the LIS profession that interests you? Art history or medicine, for example? Do some studying with the help of online tools like Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/).
  9. Build your LinkedIn profile and contribute to the ALA or I Need a Library Job groups, for example. Put yourself out there and make some contacts!
  10. Look for jobs! This is the perfect opportunity to apply for new jobs or research the qualifications of positions that interest you. If you aren’t quite ready to apply for your dream job, then you will know exactly what you need to do with your hour to get there in no time.

If you can devote one hour each day to doing a combination of the above tasks, where will your career be in one year? Five years? It’s amazing how putting in just one hour a day for LIS-related tasks can make such a big difference. If you can do this consistently, you will go far. Put in the time and reap the rewards!


also formerly published on 3/26/13

Naomi House

Naomi House, MLIS, is the founder and publisher of the popular webzine and jobs list INALJ.com (formerly I Need a Library Job) and former CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) of T160K.org, a crowdfunding platform focused on African patrimony, heritage and cultural projects. INALJ was founded in October 2010 with the assistance of her fellow Rutgers classmate, Elizabeth Leonard. Its social media presence has grown to include Facebook (retired in 2016), Twitter and a LinkedIn group, in addition to the interviews, articles and jobs found on INALJ. INALJ has had over 21 Million page hits and helped many, many thousands of librarians find employment! Through grassroots marketing, word of mouth and a real focus on exploring unconventional resources for job leads, INALJ grew from a subscription base of 20 friends to a website with over 500,000 visits in one month. Naomi believes that well-sourced quantity is quality in this narrow job market and INALJ reflects this with many new jobs published daily. She has also written for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 LexisNexis Government Info Pro and many other publications in the past decade. She presents whenever she can, including serving on three panels at the American Library Association's Annual Conference in Las Vegas; as breakout presenter at OCLC EMEA in Cape Town, South Africa; as a keynote speaker at the Virginia Library Association annual meeting; at the National Press Club in Washington DC; McGill University in Montreal, Canada; the University of the Emirates, Dubai, MLIS program and the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Naomi was a Reference, Marketing and Acquisitions Librarian for a contractor at a federal library outside Washington, DC, and has been living and working in Budapest, Hungary and Western New York State. She spent years running her husband’s moving labor website, fixed and sold old houses and assisted her husband cooking delicious Pakistani food. She is preparing to re-enter the workforce and is job hunting. Her husband is now the co-editor of INALJ, a true support!  She has heard of spare time but hasn’t encountered it lately. She pronounces INALJ as eye-na-elle-jay. 


  1 comment for “10 Ways Waking up Earlier Will Help You Become a Successful LIS Professional

Comments are closed.