When life gets in the way of research

Finding time for genealogy researchI had a wonderful research trip last month and I really enjoyed being immersed in my genealogy research. But I don’t think I’ve done any family history research since then! That is a crying shame.

It’s not a bad problem to have:  I’m so busy with paying work (helping clients get organized) that I’m having trouble finding time to do genealogy research. But it’s also not acceptable. If I want to do this research (and I do), I need to make it a priority.

I know I’ve felt this way at times before, so I perused the articles from this blog tagged time management. And I was inspired. I noticed a shift in how things are going for me. My lack of research these days is truly due to lack of time, not lack of direction or feelings of overwhelm as it used to be. So that’s progress. (The end result–no research getting done– is the same, unfortunately.) My quarterly plan really gives me direction, which is so beneficial to how I feel about doing research.

But as I wrote in this article, it really is about priority management, not time management. I’m fortunate in that I have control over my schedule, both work and personal, since I don’t have kids and my husband makes few demands on my time. So I could, in theory anyway, reserve a day of the week for genealogy research. It might mean delaying (or possibly even losing) billable hours. Or it might mean prioritizing my desires over my clients’ (which feels really weird).

The bottom line is this (at least right now): If I don’t make doing my family history research a priority, time to do it is not going to materialize. I need to schedule it, not wait for free blocks of time. And, if necessary, I need to sneak it into available pockets of time.

In March 2013, I created a genealogy time-management plan. Looking back, it might have been overly ambitious and I admit it fell by the wayside. So now, I think if I simply block off  four hours a week where I focus on actual family history research (not writing this blog, not reading other people’s blogs), I will make progress. That sounds completely doable.

Maybe in June I’ll be able to schedule a little genealogy staycation of a few days’ duration. That sounds really wonderful.

How about you? How do you find the time to do your family history research?

Photo by nicksarebi via Flickr.


  1. John Sparrow says:

    I sympathise with you, and feel the same way. I do have the ability to prioritise my time in my Winter as I’m not as involved in earning a living (it’s more of a summer job). So I need to set some research priorities (not many as it can get overwhelming) and see how I go. Thanks.

    • John, you’re right that keeping the list of research priorities short helps keep one from getting overwhelmed! Looks like you’re in Australia, so winter is on the way. I wish you good luck in prioritizing your winter time! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Maria Tello says:

    I found your quarterly plan inspirational. What a great way to assure that you devote time to each grandparents lines. I have been working on my submission for accreditation, while working full time has been very challenging. After completing it, I am going to incorporate it into my future plan. I have committed to doing research on 2 nights a week, wee into the late hours and if I am home weekend evenings. So many to find, so little time! Thanks for your blog!

    • Maria, talk about a time-management challenge! You’re clearly dedicated to your research. I love that you’ve set aside specific time to do your research. Best of luck with it! And I’m so glad you’ve found my quarterly plan inspirational!!

Leave a Reply