Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 Ways To Get Your Genealogy Done

I've been overwhelmed since an early age!
Does it ever seem to you like there’s never enough time to work on your genealogy? Or that you work on it, but there’s never enough time to get done what you want to do? I always seem to be feeling this way to a certain extent, but last week was especially bad. We were tackling a large project and I didn’t seem to have more than 5 minutes in a day to apply to anything I wanted to work on that wasn’t related to that project. I still got a few things done, though. Here are my top five ways to manage to sneak a little genealogy in on a given day, or better yet, a little extra research time beyond the normal!

1.    Block time
Have you ever heard of blocking time out on your calendar to get things done? It’s like making an appointment with yourself. If you have a doctor’s appointment or a work meeting scheduled, you will take the estimated amount of time and block it out on your calendar or schedule. Once you’ve done this you know that the time is dedicated to that task and anything short of an emergency will have to be planned for some other time. Well, do the same thing for your genealogy! That’s right find a block of free time, whether 15 minutes or 3 hours, and mark in a meeting called “Genealogy” on your schedule.  Keep doing this throughout the week or month. The larger the block of time, the better, but anything is good if it gives you a chance to work on your genealogy! Now treat it like all your other meetings and appointments—nothing short of an emergency…

2.    Prioritize
Now, you’ve blocked that time and are actually sitting down to work on your genealogy. You’re looking at a pile of papers or the flashing curser on the computer screen. What to do first? Take a few moments- not to long- or you’ll easily fill up that entire block of time. Glance through what you’ve been meaning to do and prioritize. Just like when you make a list of household chores, decide which ones are the most important to get done. Sometimes one thing needs to be done, before another task as well. Just take your list and put them down in the order of most important to accomplish or what needs to be done first. There! Now, if you only get part way through the list (and who are we kidding, we keep finding more people to add to the research list!), you will have accomplished at least some of the most important items.

3.    5 minute jobs
While you’re making that list, don’t forget to mark items that will only take a few minutes of time. Maybe put an asterisk beside them or highlight them on your list. Sending off a quick email to a cousin, requesting a record from a library or other organization, sticking a few papers in their proper file… Any of those tasks that take just a few minutes should be marked so they can be spotted quickly. These are for those quick little blocks of time you have. Maybe you’re waiting for your spouse to get home, or the timer will be sounding on the oven soon. If you’ve got a few minutes glance at the list and get one of these jobs done and out of the way.

4.    Delegate
Is there someone else that is interested in genealogy that could do some of the research for you? Can you request a library look up an obituary so you don’t have to go there? Are their kids in the house that could be bribed into filing for you or mopping the kitchen floor? Get someone else to do a few tasks for you, either genealogy or others that can give you more time for your research.

5.    Automate
This is similar to the one above, only you’re delegating tasks to the computer. Shaky leaves on Ancestry? They’ll help you find more information. Google Alerts that search for mention of an area or an elusive relative. Again, they’ll help. Anything like this will give you more time to go more in depth with your research.

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