I love doing family history research. I really do. I’m also trying to figure out ways to integrate it into my organizing business, so technically it’s work. So why haven’t I done it in more than a week?
I can make excuses for why I haven’t made time to do any research. A week ago I returned from a week-long trip and I jumped right back in to full client load. My desk is a mess. (Embarrassing, but true.) But here’s the thing: since I’ve been home I’ve managed to catch up on most of the TV shows I recorded in my absence. I finished reading a book. I watched a couple of college basketball games.
It really does come down to priorities. (Priority management is a more accurate phrase than time management.)
As I contemplated the fact that I frequently close up shop and leave my desk for the day before I do any research, I realized a few things:
- The messy desk really does get in the way. (Note to self: Clear it off every night like you used to!)
- The time I thought I’d try to do it every day, 5 pm, isn’t conducive. Now that it’s winter, it’s dark at that time. I like a lot of light when I’m squinting at old handwriting.
- If I’m running late trying to get the rest of my work done, I continue working past 5 pm and research is sacrificed.
- I need to make it very, very easy to start doing the research. One way I might do that is to outline for myself at the end of each research session what I want to research at the start of the next one. Then it’ll be as simple as grabbing a file from the cart stored in a closet a few feet away, rather than rolling out the whole cart. And it gives me immediate focus.
- I need to examine my priorities for my time and see where this research fits in. Is it more important than keeping up with social media or whittling my inbox down to zero? If so, I should do it before I do those daily tasks.
- It’s important to recognize that I don’t need hours at a time to do research. As little as 30 minutes can glean some great results.
The process of writing this blog post has given me new resolve. I have a lighter day tomorrow and I’m going to make sure I do some research, earlier in the day. And I’ll make a note at the end of the session about how I want to start the next session.
I think I’ll take a few minutes to clear off my desk right now.