When I saw this on Facebook I wanted to hide my face. I could easily be the poster child for ADGD. Sometimes I get so mad at myself for going off on tangents instead of staying focused on what I am supposed to be working on. I will start looking at the 1870 census for a particular family and then I will see another name of interest on the page which causes me start looking at Civil War records to see if the man served in the war. Then that man’s wife’s name catches my eye and I think I might know who she is so then I start looking at compiled genealogies to see if the man married the woman that I think he did. The woman turns out to be the daughter of a different man than I thought but could her father be the same man that I saw in the tax records last week? I go back and have another look. In the meantime, I have totally forgotten about the family I was looking up in the 1870 census. Sigh…
When I am doing genealogy research for other people I MUST stay on task. Going off on unrelated tangents just isn’t an option no matter how tempted I am. I try to use the same tactics that I use to stay on track when doing professional research when I am doing my personal research.
- I use Research Calendars almost religiously. I used to not use them at all because I thought that they took more time than they were worth but I have totally changed my mind about that. Research calendars keep me focused on the research goal at hand and I can then use them to write up my final findings. I can copy and paste my citations right from the calendar.
- Another tactic is to start a new family file in Legacy for the person/family that I am working on. I can merge that file into my main file later. It keeps me from flipping to unrelated persons because it is too much of a bother to close the file I am working on and open up my main file. It keeps my target family isolated and that keeps me on track.
- When I am starting a new project, I try to clean off my desk completely. I file all the documents that have been piling up and I put away any reference materials. I clean out my in and out boxes and make sure that everything I will need is at my fingertips. I want nothing but the project at hand within my vision field and I don’t want to run out of printer paper or ink when I am in the middle of something.
- I set time limits. I will set aside a certain amount of time to work on the specific project. Knowing that I am on the clock really helps me stay focused. I will even mark blocks of time off on my calendar. Treating your research as an actual appointment will help you make time for it.
- I make sure that all of my other genealogy obligations are caught up. Right now I am in ProGen 18 which involves reading, studying, assignments, feedback and chats, I belong to the NGSQ Study Group, I have a Power Point presentation that needs to be updated for a lecture I will be giving, and I write two blogs. I have to stay on top of those things so that I can devote blocks of time to research.
Thank you Deidre Erin of Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches for the great ADGD graphic! It is a great reminder for us to stay on task.
Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis