GLAM Blog Club August – Time

The theme for GLAM Blog Club in July was play. Rebecca explores the power of play in museums. Kassi has always liked playing games, in lots of different forms. Andrew shares the importance of safety mechanics and spotting triggers during role playing games. Sarah shares learnings from the CAVAL seminar Building Blocks for Digital Dexterity in the Workplace which included digital play as a way to train staff in digital dexterity. Anne encourages libraries to reduce plastics during plastic free July: Let’s play! 4 plastics it’s your librarian duty to get rid of… Philip makes connections between Play, trauma and recovery. On the Transgressive Archivist blog, the author states: “… GLAM institutions must be particularly mindful that not all of the material we hold is appropriate for being converted into data to be played with”; referring here to culturally and personally sensitive material held in GLAM collections. Andrew created an online mystery for staff to play on LibGuides. Thank you to everyone who blogged during July and the interesting topics discussed through the theme of play.

The theme for August is time. You might feel like you have more time now, too much time, or time is surreal. We look forward to reading your blogs. Thank you to Sae Ra Germaine, our guest blogger this month.

My relationship with time:

I’m sure I’m not the only one that has thought this, how the hell is it August already?! When I originally agreed to write this guest blog post way, way, WAY back in March, I had a very different take on time in mind and then… well, that “thing” happened.

I have always had a very close relationship with time. My father was an army man so things were to the minute, dinner was always at 1730hrs, no exceptions! To top it off he was also a mad clock and watch collector/fixer. So there was ALWAYS a clock right in eyesight. No joke there’s about 200 clocks “in” the house, who knows how many are in the shed! The ticking and chiming is meticulous. But lately things have changed, the only thing that accurately tells the time in that house is the digital clock that is mounted at the top of the kitchen cupboard in a bright red font so he can see it from any part of the living/dining area.

So suffice to say I’ve been on time to things about 99% of the time. But that was B.C. Before COVID. BC was a time where I could easily work out what time it was just by looking outside or by my regular schedule. My body clock was set to wake up 45 minutes before my train left in the morning, and I was ready to fall asleep 6 hours before I had to wake up. I relied on this for everything; to know what day it was, what I had planned for the day and most of all for my self esteem. Time was one of the very few things that I could control in this world. I’m usually pretty flexible with everything else but if you say I need to be somewhere by 5pm I will be there on time or (in most cases) earlier. I respected time and it respected me.

Melbourne has now gone into its second lockdown and like many others I’ve ended up in a massive slump. I always knew that this would be an on and off thing until some sort of vaccine was available, but for some reason this lock-down is harder than the last. Time is no longer something that is easy to control. I’m in endless Zoom meetings, one after another, I work outside of those hours to keep up with what I wasn’t able to do whilst I was in these meetings. Meetings would run from one into another. I’m now late to meetings, my brain is fried and it’s affecting my mood. I’m less patient. I’m feeling less in control of the bigger picture and most of all, and I will openly admit this, I have not been coping well at all. I then started to realise that maybe my dad not keeping his clocks in good time was a hint that he was not coping with this as much as I thought either. Not being able to go to his clock club meetings or his men shed was leaving him very isolated and driving my mum crazy.

Why is it now that this all started to sink in? Why not earlier? Why? Why? Why? Who knows, but at least I now recognise it. I had to get to this conclusion myself, but I feel that I should say (even though it’s said everywhere) please know that you’re not the only one and please don’t take offence if I’m not as responsive as I usually am. I’m trying to work it out and I know you are too.

In the meantime I figured I should share what I’m currently doing to get myself out of the slump. These tricks all seem so small and really easy to do…. so why didn’t I do it earlier? I’m not sure, but it’s what I’m doing now.

1) Take time to reflect: I have set 2 hours a week aside for me, my thoughts and my experiences. I think about what I have achieved this week, what I can improve and plan for the new week. I write things down, play a game on the Switch or sing at the top of my lungs. I just let it all out. I usually do this on a Friday afternoon, things are much quieter then in general so I use that time wisely.

2) Nothing new Fridays: Where possible I don’t start anything new on a Friday. I close off what I can, but if I start something and don’t finish it, I can’t switch off during the weekend and never get a break for my mind.

3) Mid-week I attend a Bitch and Stitch session: They are with friends from other parts of Australia and New Zealand but technology is marvelous and it gives me a great opportunity to talk to people and connect where I normally wouldn’t. It’s not work, it’s not COVID, it’s just time to bitch about things and connect with those that aren’t just family or work whilst creating something beautiful. I have made new friends during these sessions so there are silver linings to this pandemic.

4) Enter a social media/internet blackout each evening.

5) Going to “work” and going home rituals. My office is in my living room. It’s hard to separate between work and home, the lines are extremely blurred. So at 8:45am and at 5:30pm each work day I spend 15 minutes taking down or putting up my green screen. Whilst the green screen helps me with having fancy backgrounds during my calls it has the added benefit of providing a clear line between when I’m working and when I’m not.

6) Make sure you eat and stay hydrated!

7) This week, I attended a VALA “Leaning In” session facilitated by Carmel O’Sullivan and there were 3 words that just stuck with me: Calm, Cautious and Flexible. There is now a note on my monitor saying: Remember to be Calm, Cautious and Flexible. I’m working on not being so rigid about time and being more flexible. Adding some flex into my time and not saying yes to every. single. meeting.

I do look forward to seeing A.D. (After Disease). In the mean-time I hope to become reacquainted with Time and respect it again.