Maintaining the Balance: Finding Time

clock.bmpOver the past few months, I’ve felt completely off balance. I’m not talking in a physical sense.  It’s more a statement of life in general.  There have been quite a few changes going on, some temporary and some permanent, and my usual routine has gone out the window. With things settling down a bit and a new routine slowly falling into place, I’m seeking to regain that balance, and as I do so, I’m looking for ways to fit my family history research back into my life.

There are several ways that we need to balance our lives and family history. There are considerations of time and money spent, as well as space considerations for the documentation that accumulates. Over the course of the next week, I thought I’d examine some ways I try to achieve balance when it comes to time, expense and space.

Finding time is probably the biggest problems I face these days. My workload has increased both at home and in my office. In addition, with the end of the school year approaching, my PTA work has picked up significantly with end of the year events and planning for next year. Here are some ways I hope to squeeze some extra time in for my family history.

  • Be mobile. There are a lot of family history chores that I can move about with. With my laptop and wireless technology, I can be surfing for ancestors out on the back porch while my daughter plays, or reviewing family history files in the parking lot while I’m waiting for her during her martial arts class. Also, when I need to get filing done, I have one of those plastic file boxes, where I can do some preliminary sorting and filing using manila folders. I just label the folders with family surnames, grab one of those prolific piles from my office and take it with me. 
  • Early to rise. I’ve always been more of a morning person when it comes to getting things accomplished. So rather than staying up later, when I’m less energetic and less likely to get anything accomplished, I am getting up a half hour early so that I can take a few minutes to knock out some family history tasks over my morning coffee.  This is extra helpful to me, since it also inspires my work.
  • Schedule it. I’ve found that when I say, “I’m going to work on family history sometime today,” sometime never comes. However, if I have a scheduled appointment or task, it gets done. I’m looking at family history that way now. For me it will be that half hour in the morning that I am scheduling. For you it might be more convenient in the evening, or possibly the time will change depending on the day of the week. By scheduling it and treating like you would any other standing appointment, you can keep your research caught up and be more successful. 
  • Piecework. When you find yourself with a free moment, try to dodge in and do a quick bit of filing or organizing. If you can keep up with the little things, when it comes to your scheduled time, you’ll find you can get more out of it. When I’m too busy to do something I do the post-it note thing and jot down quick tasks. Then when I have fifteen minutes or so before I have to do carpool, get to an appointment, etc., I have something quick to fill that time. One quick task that my mom and I have been doing is transcribing old notes and emailing them back and forth. It just takes a few minutes to transcribe a record, file it electronically and share it.

If you have a timesaving idea you’d like to share, please add your comment. I know I can use all the timesaving tips I can get! Tomorrow we’ll talk about budgeting for your family history.



4 thoughts on “Maintaining the Balance: Finding Time

  1. One timesaving idea would be to stop blogging…but I don’t think you want to do that. It does become time consuming – trying to figure out what to write, then gathering info, and finally writing and posting.

    I make a to-do list for each repository I may visit, so then I have a ready list if I do find some time to go to the library or FHC. I also have a to-do list for data and note entry into my software that helps keep me focused on a goal rather than wandering off onto the web.

    I hope you find more time to do what you want to do, not what you have to do!

    Cheers — Randy

  2. One doesn’t find time, one makes it! A few short bits may be fine, but it is better, I feel, to carve out larger slices. You are then also more likely to plan that time carefully, rather than hopping in and out of “interesting” sites.

    Unlike the writer of this piece, I would never be able to write in the early morning; early evening is far more productive for me.

    Keep at it! Beverly

  3. How to keep all good ideas in your mind untill logd down on the papir?

  4. Terje, Take all the misprinted computer printouts, cut them up to make scrap paper and leave wads of them with a pencil in likely places–car, bedside, kitchen counter or refrigerator–so there is always paper and pencil when ideas strike. At the end (or beginning) of each day, collect comments and you have a ready-made to-do list.

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