Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Too Many Distractions

Are You Like Me Finding it Difficult to Complete things.

I frequently start to do things and then find myself doing something else other than what I started out doing and totally forget to do the thing I originally wanted to do.
This is particularly true when I turn the computer on to do something, The same can be said for the other devices my phone and kindle. As soon as the internet is connected those messages start coming in along with the emails.
I seem to spend more time reading and responding to messages and less time doing the tasks that need doing both at home and work.

Unfortunately I do not have any magic answer to how to avoid these distractions. It takes time to weed out the unimportant from the most do now and the one that can be left till later (but then never get a second look), you cannot rely on the system to highlight what may be important.
The quantity of mail/post that come through the letterbox (in the mailbox) has dwindled, although we still get the unwanted flyers delivered by the mail service (the mailing preference service cut out much of the unwanted mail), but I am sure the quantity of other messages has more than made up for this.

Joining websites to connect with others in the genealogy community has led to much of this but is not the only reason. As soon as you buy something or show an interest in something you get bombarded with the marketing emails, most of which never get read, banking is done online and much of the news updates I read are the same.

So as someone who finds it difficult to finish things, how do I discipline myself to restrict myself to the important things. Calendars can be useful especially those with attached to do lists and reminders, but you do need to look at them everyday. The worst distractions can be the addition of new websites or datasets for genealogy.

I have been trying to organize my genealogy information for some time now as some of my earlier posts will testify. When Thomas McEntee announced the Genealogy Do Over I thought here is my chance to really get organized with the help of others. Life, a genealogy conference and WDYTYA live all added to the excuses for not getting this past first base, with the start of Cycle 3 I really must decide whether I have my priorities right.

My first priority is to decide what time I have available and how I am going to use that time. Get the balance right between work, family and pastimes.
Plan time into my day for the things I want to do and also the things I have to do and don't take on more than I can manage.

Then maybe when Cycle 4 starts I will be commenting on my progress and adding to the distractions for other researchers.


Anna Matthews said...

I can definitely relate to this, especially this past week when I allowed myself to become distracted because I didn't want to do the things on my to do list!

Jan Murphy said...

I tried to start the Do-Over on the first cycle, but I couldn't keep up because my computer crashed rather spectacularly. But here's what I've learned from following the discussion in the Facebook group so far.

Thomas suggested two topics per week, which turned out to be too much for a lot of people to cope with. There have been varying responses to this. Some decided to take the steps in order, but to spread them out so they were doing one task per week. Some decided to do as much work in each week's task list as they could, then come back and do more in the next cycle.

I'm still in sort of a holding pattern, having cherry-picked the Do-Over tasks I most want to do - keeping up with online educational opportunities (webinars) and dealing with my digital filing system (which in my case means cataloging all the webinar handouts and other research materials I've accumulated over the last two years). Once I've settled into a routine of *always* filing and cataloging the research material as I acquire it, so it doesn't pile up again, I'll be in a better position to deal with the historical record images.

The advantage of waiting has been that I've had a while to think about the concepts, instead of trying to implement them before I was ready. For instance, over the past several months, some of the webinar presenters have shown their research logs, and I've been able to look at using logs in the context of a specific research problem. This "sinking in" time helps make information more intuitive -- and in my experience, it's easier to perform a task well when you understand why it needs to be done, instead of going through the motions because someone told you that you should.

So my advice to others considering a Do Over is that it's okay to allow yourself some time to think about each task. The prompts for each week aren't roadblocks that you must complete before you move on, but things to think about and incorporate into your everyday routine. Like your research itself, you come back to them and refine them when you can.

Hilary Gadsby said...

Since I wrote this post I tried to put myself into the position I was in when I first started.
I have a new project in Family Historian my genealogy software and I started with my son and I am entering names for all the people in the family who I personally know or knew.
The next step will be to enter any information I was given by any of these relatives.
Then I will look through to see which original documents I have which support or add information to the personal history I have from the relatives.
I have questionnaires and notes from interviews as sources for some of the information and a recorded interview with my father in law.
Family photos can also be added to support the information and I will also bring in any other supporting documents.
Some of these have been added as sources previously but I know that source citation was my weakness and I need to have a traceable research log.
Having a tree with missing sources is no longer an option if I have no source the information cannot be entered.