Profile of Manager of Ottawa Public Library Alternative Services Alexandra Yarrow
The most recent one is a profile of Alexandra Yarrow, the Manager of Alternative Services at the Ottawa Public Library (OPL). Her duties include the Homebound, Bookmobile & Kiosk, and Accessibility Services.
"What’s your best time-saving shortcut?
There’s no one magic bullet, but I am really big on using the right format for the task (phone call, email, meeting, conference call). For instance, I schedule independent work times (we call it “heads-down” in my team). We operate in a very Outlook calendar-centric world, so I make sure to block off time far in advance for projects or reports, so that meetings don’t get scheduled and leave me running for the finish line at the last minute. When someone sends me an email about a piece of work such as a report, I move that email straight to the Calendar and throw together a to-do list in under a minute to get it out of my inbox. Everything in my Calendar (and lots of other places) is colour-coded by team name or audience. I get about 100 emails a day and usually reach inbox = 0 by Friday afternoon (...)"
"Do you find yourself always working on something? Or when you finish a project, do you take time to let your mind wander without concern for what’s next?
One project at a time? What world is this you speak of? I have nine on my departmental work plan, and those are just the ones that the rest of OPL is directly implicated in; my team is usually cooking up at least a few other small ones all the time. I let my mind wander when I am walking to work, on my bike, on a run, or in the shower. Those are the places where I get the best ideas. I’m pretty good at disconnecting, but I believe that everyone’s neocortex chews on things and spits out answers even when we think we’re resting."