Re-energize Your Research! Re-energize You!

Energizing

Photo Credit: ctr @ freeimages.com

The last couple weeks have been busy at our house. Celebrating Easter, Confirmation and the final tournament of club volleyball season has kept my little family on the go. You know how it is, with all these events packed into a couple weeks. There’s less researching, less writing, less Facebook time and less Twitter on my part.

At first I was really bothered by that. No blog posts! Few tweets! Everyone will forget me! Oh no! The earth will quit turning! But as the days went by and I enjoyed my family events I realized the sun came up every morning even without a new blog post or Facebook message from me.

Maybe it’s happened before to you too. The pressure you feel (probably self-imposed) to keep up with social media, along with your blog writing and blog reading. Somehow we get in the mindset that pushing harder for more blog posts, more tweets, more of everything makes us smarter and much more professional. Then if it doesn’t get done a small somewhat frantic panic sets in. There’s so much “computer work” to do and what if I don’t get it all done! I’ve felt just that way these past couple weeks but you know what? I came to a realization.

It’s okay to step away from the grid now and then. We need time to re-energize and to restore our enthusiasm for genealogy, our research, in fact our daily life!

My online dictionary tells me this about re-energize:

rē-ˈenərjīz/ verb; give fresh vitality, enthusiasm, or impetus to

You know what? That’s exactly what stepping away has done for me these past couple weeks. In the time away I’ve done some thinking about my writing and research. I’ve spent some quiet time planning what direction I want my blog to take. I feel good about my decisions. I feel refreshed. I’m ready to get back on track. I found that I’m more than ready to learn, to research and write again. I want to jump back into social media and see what my friends have been up to and you know what? I don’t feel guilty about the time spent with those who mean the most to me or the moments I spent listening to my own thoughts.

Every now and then I think we all should unplug for a few days. No stressing about it, just enjoying some time to ourselves. We all need to regroup now and again and how much better our contributions will be if we’re enthusiastic and re-energized! So look at your calendar and take some time to unplug. I am!

January 2014 – Goals, Resolutions or the Process?

Photo Credit: Kaliyoda at http://www.sxc.hu/

Photo Credit: Kaliyoda at http://www.sxc.hu/

I’ve hesitated in making New Year’s resolutions this year. It’s worth mentioning because I always do. Each December I review the last year and put together a list of goals for the soon to arrive January 1st. I believe in goals. I don’t accomplish a thing if I don’t have an idea of what I’m working toward. You’ve heard this quote or something similar to it.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” ― Yogi Berra

I believe that and I’ve accomplished a few goals in the past. Quitting smoking is one but I can’t name anything else right off. Yet I can produce lists of goals from the last several years. Lists that include losing weight, exercising daily, a healthier bank account and writing a book. Great well intentioned goals. None accomplished. So do I cross out the 2013 and just add 2014 to the header of last year’s list or try another approach?

I’ve seen and read about choosing one word for the year. I like that idea. I find using a chosen word to be a guide as I make decisions through the year. It keeps me mindful of how I want to conduct my life but not necessarily helpful in accomplishing my goals. Now if it works for you certainly go with it, but I’m still faced with my desire to achieve in this new year and how to go about it with some success.

I did find another approach through Marian Pierre-Louis that I’m going to try this 2014. Maybe you’ll find it helpful too. She recommended an article on her Facebook page which really resonated with me. Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead by James Clear. I recommend you come back and read it when you’re done with this post. Continue reading

Blog posts: When is enough – enough?

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

Blog – Photo courtesy of stock.xchng

I help out with The In-Depth Genealogist facebook page. Yes, some of those quirky questions come from me! Many questions are fun and some are thought-provoking regarding our genealogy research. My hope is to get us thinking. Who knows what new ideas we may come up with and what problems we may solve when we delve a little deeper?

A couple of months ago I asked the question: “How often would you like to see the blogs you read updated? Are you disappointed when it’s only once or twice a week?”

The topic generated several answers, some offline discussion and although not scientific, I thought the outcome interesting enough to share it with you.

Everyone that commented said they check several blogs a day and many more over a week’s time. This speaks to the quality of genealogy blogs on the web! There is a lot of educational and insightful writing being posted in the genealogy cyberworld. Readers are anxious to get it. The respondents generally agreed they found most blog posts come on Mondays and Wednesdays. A couple of replies suggested posting on other days of the week. By publishing new blog posts on days other than Monday and Wednesday the genealogy reading public would be able to enjoy fresh reading material throughout the week. Perhaps a good thought to keep in mind.

Yet the single most important idea I came away with Continue reading

Genealogy Timelines . . . here I come

Now that I’m back in my regular routine I skipped through my notes to see what project I was working on. I have a desk top full of various size notes with all sorts of scribbles, but I’ll deal with that later. Right now I wanted to see what my latest, greatest idea was. It was to start a timeline on some ancestors. I wanted to put the really important events in their life together so I could study it and maybe come to some conclusions as to why they did just what they did! You may have read my post a couple of weeks ago on timelines here.

So I started out googling genealogy timelines for macs. My thought was to do a timeline with computer software so I could arrange, rearrange or add events. Neatness was a big consideration too!

It was a tough go looking for timeline templates. After looking at many, which were only for pc’s, and finding just one for my mac (@ $19.95 it was too much for this timeline novice) it occurred to me to check my own genealogy software. I know, I know. Why didn’t I do that first? Beats me! Some days I start at the end or even in the middle! :-)

After opening my Reunion program and searching my online manual . . .  Voila! There it is, the who’s and how’s of timelines. It took the afternoon to get the basics down but as you can see, ”Houston, we have a timeline!”

Rebecca Holmes Williams Timeline

Rebecca Holmes Williams Timeline

I choose my g-g-grandmother Rebecca Holmes Williams as my first timeline recipient. I feel such a closeness to her and wanted to understand her life a bit better. I wonder why a passel of this family moved from eastern Ohio to western Ohio during the Civil War. Why her husband, my g-g-grandfather didn’t serve in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the war and how she coped losing four sons as infants and toddlers. Rebecca did have three daughters live to be adults yet she buried two of them as well! My g-g-grandmother had to be quite a woman, tough as nails! I know this timeline will help me with all my questions.

I put the family’s vital information above the bar and the extenuating events of their life below it. The distinction between the two will help my see a correlation of events, I hope.

My next step is to do some hard-core research and reading. I need to find the history of Tuscarawas County, floods, droughts, fear of war spilling into their community. More info on the children and as I find something pertinent, add it to my timeline. Hopefully many “events” will also unlock answers!

So meet me back here two weeks from today. We’ll see how my project has progressed and if I’m any further in my research.

How about you? Have you started some timelines? Do you have any tips for me? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Motivation Monday – I sorta took February off – but I have a plan!

Hello fellow bloggers! Remember way back in January when Stephanie over at Corn and Cotton invited us to join her Motivation Monday group? Genea-bloggers were encouraged to outline their monthly goals the first Monday of each month and then take Fridays to update and share their accomplishments. It was the choice of each individual to update weekly or monthly. The purpose of the group still is to encourage each other as we pursue our goals and cheer accomplishments.

Guess what? I pretty much took February off. Now I got stuff done, but it was random. A hit or miss in getting research or organizing stuff done. You know what I mean? No real plan, so some stuff happened but a lot didn’t.

I can see flitting from one thing to another just isn’t going to work. So with some real thought and a true desire to accomplish things in my genealogy research – I have a plan! I work part-time, so I have the luxury of a couple of days a week where I should be compiling loads ancestor data. With my plan I will!

As hard as this is for me to admit, I accomplish so much more in the morning. I’d rather sleep in and roll out of bed about 9ish (wouldn’t we all?) but I’ve come to realize too, my most productive hours are in the a.m. Once 3pm rolls around I’m no good at concentrating, writing, etc. So those tasks that need me to “focus” need to be put in the morning hours and the “lighter thinking” jobs can be left for the afternoon.

*So starting this very morning I’m getting up at 5am daily. I will read/answer my email, exercise, get my bundle of joy off to school, play with twitter, eat, shower and start my workday by 8:30am.
*Then to my desk where I won’t check Facebook, but will do actual work. First putting together a research strategy for the day, that idea came from Tonia’s blog here. Then I’m thinking two hours research without self-induced interruptions. Real research! No sneak peeks of twitter or my email. Just work!

*Next a break for lunch, followed by education. I’ll put aside an hour to watch a webinar, read a couple of chapters in a book, etc.

*Finally before my bundle of joys arrives home from school, I’ll take a half-hour to organize the days research, putting papers away, clearing my desk and having a clean slate for my next off day.

I admit this schedule is just for two days a week but ohh how those days could be profitable if I only put my mind to it and stick to my plan. Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it! My next post will have this month’s specific research topics that will be worked on in the above time slots!

How about you? Do you have a schedule? Tell me how yours works and give me some tips. I’m all ears!