In the past, I was easily overwhelmed by my genealogy research. As my tree grew, so did my opportunities for research. I would sit down to research with no idea what to work on. A few years ago, I implemented a quarterly plan, where I would focus on one line per quarter, which helped narrow things down. That helped somewhat.
My focus got better when I implemented a few practices:
- I decided to focus on one line (my Adams line) all year. That was last year, and this year, I’ve been sticking with the Adams family.
- I started keeping an informal research log. At the end of each session, I write down next steps.
- I consistently research every day, even if it’s as little as 15 minutes. That keeps my head in the game and means I don’t have to refamiliarize myself with my research at the beginning of the session.
Things were going along very well for the last six to nine months. Then I went to RootsTech.
The double-edged sword of being focused is that you get a lot done, but you have blinders on about other avenues or opportunities for research. RootsTech stripped off those blinders and I took lots of notes about possible things to research. I also came back from the conference with a busy client schedule and not as much time for research.
The result? I feel like I’m floundering a bit. I’m still researching daily. I’m still writing down next steps, but I’m a bit all over the place.
So today, I’m resolving to regain focus. My intention is to do that by choosing a project I can complete in a reasonable amount of time, one that has a clear start and finish. I have a bunch of unprocessed documents in my Surnames folder. As part of my digital workflow, I’m supposed to process all documents as I download them, but when I was at the Family History Library right before RootsTech I wasn’t able to do that. I’m going to focus on extracting data from those documents and filing them properly. In the case of the handwritten deeds I downloaded, I’ll also transcribe them.
I’m already feeling better because I have a focus, I know what I’ll be working on and I’ll be doing so systematically until I finish. When I come across other leads, I’ll write them down in my follow up folders in Evernote. (I keep follow up folders by surname in my Genealogy stack.) I’m hopeful that by the time I finish with this project I’ll have my mojo back and be able to stave off those feelings of overwhelm!
Keep your eyes out for a new 30 x 30 challenge in April. I’m going to need one!