22 September 2017

Make Progress with a Guilt-Free Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar

One task a day - whatever day it is - can make great progress for your family tree.
What day is it? Genealogy day!
Your family tree hobby started out so fun. You were filling in great grandparents and finding them in the census. You were adding great aunts and great uncles you never met.

Then your fun little hobby got serious. And time-consuming.

The "serious" part is wonderful. My reason for writing this blog is to inspire every family tree researcher to do the best job possible.

But that "time-consuming" part is not as wonderful. It keeps us from doing our best. And maybe it makes us feel a little guilty for leaving so many tasks unfinished.

I have a suggestion that can help you make noticeable progress and put an end to any feelings of guilt.

First let's think about all the tasks you wish you could do throughout your family tree, such as:
  • Adding a portrait photo to each person
  • Giving a well-formatted citation to each fact
  • Gathering every available census for every person
  • Using a consistent format for each place name
Next, think about your research materials outside of your family tree. You have files and folders, and maybe binders and books and catalogs and recordings and photo albums. They all need organization, scanning and analyzing.

Focus on one task and get more done.
When you have time for genealogy,
a task calendar can help you focus.

Now, how can you make good progress on all these different tasks without feeling like the job is too big to manage? A Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar™.

You don't have time for family tree work every day—I'm not suggesting that.

This is a calendar with days, but no dates. Picture a Page-a-Day calendar that you place on your desk, peeling off one sheet of paper for each day of the year. But your Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar has no specific day of the year assigned to each sheet of paper.

Instead, it's a sheet for each day that you have some time to spend working on your tree. You sit down to work, and the Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar tells you that today's task is to scan your photos.

It doesn't say you have to finish all your scanning. But that's your focus this day.

The next day you have time, the next sheet of the Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar tells you to find all the family tree facts with no citation.

Maybe the next day you'll be searching for those missing census forms.

You can make yourself an electronic Genealogy Task-a-Day Calendar—which is totally something I would do—or you can make one using a small, spiral-bound notebook, or a sticky notepad.

Each time you use the calendar, you'll be working on your assigned task. That should erase any guilt you may feel for not having everything done and perfect.

You're working on it! Cut yourself a break.

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