5 Tips to Beat Procrastination & Get Organized!

Many genealogists have the resolution of “getting organized” this year.  Unfortunately, most people will probably procrastinate too much and not be any more organized than they are now.  We’ve all fallen victim to the temptation of lady procrastination:  You know you should be working towards tackling the piles of genealogy stuff but you just don’t feel like doing anything.  So how do you stop the monster that is procrastination?

  1. Break Your Work Into Bite-Sized Pieces. One of the main reasons people procrastinate is because they just feel overwhelmed.  When just thinking about organizing your genealogy stuff makes your head spin, then it is time to break the huge goal into bite-sized goals.  Instead of vaguely saying that you will “get organized in 2011″, say that you will file away the pile of papers on your desk this week.  Next week, focus on cleaning up 30 of your digital genealogy files.  The week after that, clean up your desk (yes – there is a desk under those papers).
  2. Create a Detailed Timeline With Specific Deadlines.  Now that you have your work broken down into more manageable bits, it is time to create some deadlines.  Having a series of deadlines for specific tasks will push you to complete the tasks.  Create your deadlines and put them on your calendar – in pen!  Once you put your tasks on your calendar, do not let anything short of an alien invasion prevent you from sticking to the deadline.  Remember to make your deadlines robust so that if you don’t finish the specific task by today, you’ll be jeopardizing your next task.  This will create a sense of urgency in getting your work done.
  3. Get a buddy. Having a friend can make the entire process of getting organized fun.  Having a buddy will keep you accountable to your goals and deadlines.  You can learn new organization techniques or become inspired to keep pushin’ on.  Remember: No one says you have to see your buddy face to face – online buddies are great too!
  4. Tell Others About Your Goal. Telling other people about your goals has the same benefits as having a buddy – except on a larger scale.  Tell your friends and family members about your goals and deadlines.  Talk about your goals and deadlines on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter page, at genealogy society meetings, etc.  The next time these people see you, they will ask you about your progress.
  5. Get a Grip & Just Do It. (Yes – this is tough love!)  At the end of the day, you have to take action.  All of the planning, strategizing, and dreaming will mean nothing if you don’t take action.  No one has ever procrastinated their way to success.  So if you are procrastinating on getting organized, then just get a grip and do it.
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4 responses to “5 Tips to Beat Procrastination & Get Organized!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 5 Tips to Beat Procrastination & Get Organized! | Elyse's Genealogy Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Great post Elyse. I especially love the “tough love”! Getting organized last year was the best thing I ever did genealogically speaking (thanks to your handy tips!). Not only did it help my research as I re-discovered and was able to analyze so many pieces of information that I had misplaced or had not fully understood/appreciated, but ultimately if something happens to me, someone can easily go into my office, look in the neat and well organized filing cabinets and digital library on my computer and carry on my research. Ultimately, that was the main impetus for me to get my genealogical act together.

  3. Hi Elyse,
    These are tips that are familiar to anyone who had tried to organize any big project, but I always love reading them again — especially in the kind of detail you’ve included and the discipline you suggest! I got my blog started because I had a deadline: the 100th anniversary of a love note from my grandfather to my grandmother — AND the centennial of his leaving for America, which I’ve posted. Having deadlines is crucial for me to get things done – and when you only have to answer to yourself, it’s easy to find an excuse. I like the term, “robust” for making those deadlines stick! Thanks for the reminders. It’s like “keeping the faith” — gotta keep hearing the mantras of what works!
    Linda Gartz´s last blog post ..Mystery Writing

  4. Thanks Elyse for the kick in the butt, I’m sitting here in my office papers, magazines and books everywhere. Vowed to purge my office before starting another year of projects…hmmmm, instead I’m reading blogs. Back to work. Lynn

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