10 things that energize me at work

blog post energize.jpg

Image by Aleks Dorohovich available from Unsplash

As a few others on #BlogJune have done, I’m going to blog today about the top 10 things that energize me at work. Thank you to Ruth Baxter & Katie Davis for your inspiration 🙂 So here’s 10 things that energize me at work (in no particular order):

  1. Coffee breaks with friends – there’s something about the combination of a warm moccachino (yes, I know they’re not real coffees, but they are still my drink of choice :D) and chatting with friends at work (either about work stuff or other stuff entirely) that just helps reenergize me and get some other ideas flowing
  2. Using pen on paper to write lists or to get my thoughts together. I find that working on a computer all day does not always help me to think creatively (and my eyes get sore – worn glasses since I was 4 :D). So having a wee break from the computer and going to pen and paper helps stoke the fires of creativity and envisage things in a new way.
  3. Closely related to number 2 – use pens, colour and paper to mind map (and not just write things in a list format). You can see one of my mind maps below:
    Mind map of professional development ideas rotated
  4. A change in routine – attending a workshop or talk, going to see a poster display, just mixing up my computer work with talking to people and getting fresh ideas. One thing that is really great about working in Ko Awatea is that we have many professional development opportunities or can sit in on workshops or seminars (like the design thinking workshop I attended the other week).
  5. Deadlines or being under pressure. Much like Katie noted, I am motivated by deadlines – I love starting new projects and rotating between things, but I’m not always the best (or motivated at) following through on things, so deadlines help me focus and be productive and complete things.
  6. Interacting with people – I really enjoy one-on-one tutorials or helping folk, and being able to interact with their problem/challenge and help solve it together. Helping other people does make me feel good, and I enjoy the challenge of working on something together and both learning more out of it. Often I have an ah-ha moment as I understand something about the topic together, or I have to figure out how to answer a question that I might not have thought about before.
  7. Sharing things & reading things on Twitter. Just having a wee break in my day to see what’s happening on Twitter, to exchange a thought or interesting article, and be inspired by what other people are thinking about and working on.
  8. Taking a short walk – I have been trying to build more exercise into my routine this year (particularly as my position is rather sedentary). I find taking a brief walk outside in the fresh air really helps to reenergize me (as sitting down for hours tends to make me feel a little sluggish).
  9. Music. As Katie said, often she’ll have a concert party in her car on the way to work. I find listening to music can help me focus on getting routine tasks done, and can sometimes calm down the ‘imposter thoughts’ that others have mentioned – “Am I really doing this right? Is this the best possible work I could be doing?”
  10. Talking with colleagues about ideas – often we’ll come up with some interesting ideas/problems/challenges at our weekly staff meetings which can help start some interesting ideas & collaborations.

So that’s what energizes me at work! What energizes you at work?


Playing with my image – Bitmoji


So, inspired by a post by Karen Miller, aka @infoliterai, I created an avatar of myself using Bitmoji  – which may look just a little bit like me 🙂 I love the creativity in creating the cartoons, and would love to try my own bitstips. However, I’m feeling a bit technologically inept tonight – I can find the page & the app on Facebook, but it looks as though the Bitstrips app on Facebook is no longer active, but I can use the avatar I created in Bitmoji in other cartoons. Any ideas on other apps or places to use this?

Emergence – How #BlogJune has helped me discover my voice

Emergence by ALice Popkorn
Emergence” by Alice Popkorn licensed under CC BY 2.0

I usually always look for a Creative Commons image to use with my blog posts; typically, I start out with an idea in my head and then find an image to match my theme. In this case, I was looking for images about “creativity” and this one really stood out to me. It’s slightly different from the theme I’d planned to write about, but it has set in motion a whole other line of thinking for this post – which I love! Serendipity – isn’t it a wonderful thing?

Anyway, this image is lovely because it perfectly captures the feeling of the new things I blogged about for #BlogJune – creativity, inspiration, things that make me laugh or smile, and creative writing 😀 Last time, I blogged more about work and library profession issues, but this time around, I really enjoyed exploring my creative side. I’ve found some fantastic books to read over the last month, and some interesting videos (like TED talks, Columbo, and more Monty Python clips – always good).

It also is a metaphor for the emergence or growth of my blogging ‘voice’ – I didn’t realize that creativity was a theme that resonated so strongly with me, but I discovered some great resources and writers this month which have really helped feed my interest in this area. I love the use of light and colour in this image and the vitality and hope it emotes – I hope my blogging voice continues to grow in the coming month and that this #BlogJune won’t be the shot in the dark for a largely dormant blog…

Out of interest, here are several other images I toyed with for this post (but ultimately decided it didn’t quite match the theme of this post – I may use them later on) 😀

Creativity is intelligence having fun
Creativity is intelligence having fun” by BK licensed under CC BY 2.0

I thought this was a really clever use of light and creativity, plus it’s coupled with an excellent quote by Albert Einstein – very hard to pass up!

Creativity vs art
Creativity vs art” by Conor Thaxter licensed under CC BY 2.0

Another excellent quote about the importance of creativity, but also a reminder that you need to be selective after you have been creative.

Creativity” by Mark van Laere licensed under CC BY 2.0

This image also elaborates on the theme established in the last one; creativity is important, but you may toss out many ideas to find one that’s a keeper. Loved the use of light, the physicality of the paper, and the shadow of the broom – very nice composition!

In closing, I hope everyone enjoyed the process of #BlogJune! I’m looking forward to catching up on more of the posts over the next month – see you on Twitter and in the blogosphere!

The creative process in 10 steps #BlogJune

Think I’m on a bit of a roll with this whole creativity thing (see my previous post), so here’s another one I came across today courtesy of Brain Pickings.

You can read the full Brain Pickings post here.

The thing I like the most about this model is that it emphasizes the creative process – which is filled with ups and downs, confusion, premature breakthroughs, and finally the completion. It’s important to be able to enjoy & appreciate the journey that you take while being creative – not merely the finished product!

“Creativity is not a talent – it’s a way of operating” #BlogJune

Looking back over my #BlogJune posts so far, they seem to be mainly about inspiration and creativity (along with some things that make me laugh!). I was quite keen to blog more about my new(ish) job and what I’ve been doing professionally, but I’m so involved with work stuff at the moment, it’s hard for me to step back and blog about it. We’re getting down to the pedantic details of going over our APA handout(s) again – do we need a comma there? Shouldn’t the title of the website be in italics? Is this in the APA Manaual? Is this even *clear* in the APA Manual? Man, I hate this thing!  Stuff like that…

This work is combined with a working group across no less than 3 departments (which sometimes impacts on at least 5 departments) that are combining our academic learning resources and putting them in an accessible place for students online. Necessarily, this involves numerous meetings (24 hours – count them! – last week) and emails threads.

This is also combined with the exciting task of  writing a collection policy for our Research Archive, developing user documentation and FAQs for the aforementioned Research Archive, and creating more online resources.

Accordingly, I guess I’m leaning more towards the creative stuff at the moment to balance out all the other things; hopefully when the pendulum swings the other way (as it’s bound to do at some point), I can explore some more work stuff on this blog.  Or I’ll stop making excuses and just blog about it 😛

Anyway – here’s John Cleese on the five things necessary for creativity – completely agree 😀

Also check out the Brain Pickings post on the topic – pure genius 😀 If you’re ever looking for more creative or interesting things in your life, you can’t go past Brain Pickings  – it is a serendipitous source of interesting bits and pieces that will make you think & laugh.

Motivation: Autonomy, mastery and purpose #BlogJune

I’ve shared an RSA animated short on this blog before, but came across this one today and couldn’t resist writing about it 🙂

I probably should have come across Dan Pink before (or his book Drive), but this is my first introduction to his ideas – which make a surprising amount of sense.

Money is not the ultimate motivator, but the three-fold concept of autonomy, mastery & purpose sums up people’s motivation for jobs that involve cognitive skill and development. If folk have an opportunity to decide what they want to do and time to do it, they will come up with amazing things – guess it’s the old adage of people following their passion.

It’s definitely something I’d like to see more of – to have that kind of atmosphere in the workplace would be awesome!