As researchers, it is easy for us to get distracted. We have so many interesting ancestors to research, databases to check, books/articles to read, and cousins to email. It isn’t uncommon for us to sit down with one genealogy task in mind only to find ourselves a few hours later doing something completely different.
So how do we prevent our loss of focus?
A clearly defined research goal will help us focus on tasks that will help us carry out the goal. The best goals are goals with S.M.A.R.T qualities:
Goals with the above qualities are more likely to be reached.
In order to stay focused on the task at hand and not spend 20 minutes searching for a piece of paper, it is vital to be organized. If you need help getting organized, I highly suggest my e-book, Conquering The Paper Monster Once and For All.
Determine what your most common distractions are and then eliminate them. Step away from Facebook and Twitter. Stop checking your email. Turn off the television.
Practice Practice Practice
Having and keeping your focus takes practice. The more you practice the longer you will be able to keep your focus.
I am a big believer in writing down your goals and keeping track of your genealogy searches. Over at Shoe String Genealogy there is a fantastic form that is made just for goal-oriented searches. The form is free, printable, and can be accessed here.
Your suggestions? What are your best tips and suggestions to staying focused when doing genealogy research?
- The Weekend Genealogist: Time Saving Techniques for Effective Research by Marcia Yannizze Melnyk
- Managing a Genealogical Project by William Dollarhide
- The Organized Historian by Ann Carter Fleming