This week in the Leatherby Librarians at Home blog series, we’re finishing out our blog’s visit to the Rinker Health Sciences Study Commons with a conversation with health sciences librarian Ivan Portillo.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of working from home so far, and how did you overcome it?

Currently the most challenging aspect about working at home is knowing when to call it a day. I’m the type that likes to be productive all the time and now that I’m at home, it’s hard for me to separate work from home. I constantly feel guilty if I put on a movie or read a book, when I know I could be working on something or being productive some way, even when it’s the weekend or 8:00 at night. I’m learning to overcome this by giving myself set hours to work each day and not constantly monitoring emails at all times.

2. What is your favorite remote resource for students and/or faculty?

My current favorite resource are the library’s subject guides. I’ve been trying to update the subject guides I create for the health sciences programs at Chapman. Since everyone is relying on our online resources now more than ever, I’m getting more feedback on how to improve these guides, which provide curated resources for specific programs and courses. It’s nice to point to a page and let faculty and students know that this will provide everything you need!

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?

Cover of Feel Free by Zadie Smith. Cover contains the title and author's name in large, shadowed black and white text, with concentric circles of turquoise and yellow behind the text

Zadie Smith’s Feel Free, one of Ivan’s current reads

I’m currently reading two books, which is unusual for me. I’m reading Feel Free by Zadie Smith and Adjustment Day by Chuck Pahlaniuk.

Cover of Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahnuik. Cover has a yellow background. The title is in blue font on the left hand and bottom sides of the cover, and the author's name is in black font on the top and right hand sides of the cover. In the center are three ears in a vertical row, in purple, blue, and green, from top to bottom, with red tags attached to each one.

Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahnuik, Ivan’s other current read

4. What is the most interesting change you’ve made to how you do your job in the past few weeks?

I have a cat who constantly needs attention, so if I’m ever working while seated she’ll jump on my laptop or run around my feet to get my attention. I’ve resorted to working in the kitchen, standing up with my laptop on my kitchen counter. I noticed that when I stand, she tends to give up on getting my attention more quickly.

5. What is your number one piece of advice for students learning remotely and/or faculty teaching remotely right now?

Give yourself breaks and learn when to stop working for the day. There’s nothing to feel guilty about and your mind will thank you later.