We all know the scenario. You set an objective for yourself and your research, and fire yourself up with the ambition to achieve it. You go for it with all your energy, but then get distracted, slow down, and become occupied with something else. Before you know it what you’ve been aiming for is left by the wayside.
Whether you’ve set yourself the objective of setting up a genealogy blog, finding your way through a particular ‘brick wall’ in your research, or simply sharing your tree with the extended family, it helps to be able to stick with your goals. Here are a few tips which may help you with this, and to avoid letting big plans lay forgotten.
1. Write down what you’re trying to achieve, and set a timeframe for it
It’s nice to have a goal, but it’s very easy to put it off unless you have a ‘when’ as well as a ‘what’. If you’ve got an objective in genealogy, set yourself a provisional deadline. If you don’t meet it, it isn’t the end of the world; but having a timeframe in mind should help give you a sense of urgency as you go about your work.
2. Leave reminders for yourself
One of the biggest problems in losing sight of our goals is simply forgetting about them, or putting them to the back of our minds. You can counter this by leaving yourself reminders. These needn’t be post-it notes on the refrigerator (although they could be that); they can be anything to a note in your calendar to a scheduled email to yourself every week. The key is to make sure your objectives are fresh in your mind.
3. Tell other people what you’re trying to do
It’s a lot easier to stick to your commitments if you have other people nagging you about them, so tell others about your plans. They don’t need to know the ins-and-outs of what you’re doing, and they don’t even need to be genealogists, but if you let these people know what you’re doing you’ll have some accountability for what you’re doing.
If you don’t want to tell people in real life, why not make an announcement on your blog? It may not give you in-person reminders, but you’ll still have made a public commitment to what you’re doing.
4. Set regular time aside for when you can do it
It’s helpful if you can make regular progress on whatever genealogy goals you’re trying to reach. It breaks up the workload, and makes the task a regular feature of your life. So if you’re waiting for that big free weekend before you get started on the whole thing, it may be worth reconsidering. Just an hour or two every week can make a big difference.
5. Start right away
Talk is cheap, and making progress is what matters. So if you have a genealogy goal, it makes sense to stop dithering and make an initial start on it right away. All too often tomorrow turns into the day after, and the day after turns into never. Don’t let that happen with your genealogy goals!