For me, the biggest impediment to starting a research session is not knowing exactly what to work on. Today, I was reading an article on what to do with the last few minutes of the workday and was struck by a suggestion from Julie Morgenstern, a hugely successful professional organizer. She suggests spending a couple of minutes to identify the most important thing you’ll do in the first hour of work the next day.
I do something like this for my work life (I plan the top four priorities for tomorrow), but it occurred to me this could be really useful for my family history research. If, at the end of each research session, I identified a few things to work on in the next session, the question of what to work on would disappear. I’ve flirted with this before, but what struck me today was that I could create a form (I love forms!) that I would fill out at the end of each session and keep it handy for the beginning of the next session.
I have a similar form for my work day (here’s a link to it on Pinterest), so I adapted it for my family history research. It’s pictured on this post. At the top I have the top four research items to work on. At the bottom, I have a checklist of things to make sure I do as I close up the session.
I think this form will go a long way toward getting me past that barrier to getting started. And making it easier to get started will help me carve out little bits of time to do my research.