Create A Genealogy Habit to Get Things Done

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It’s a familiar scenario for many genealogists: you start the day full of motivation to explore your family history, only to hit a roadblock that diminishes your initial enthusiasm. The solution to this common issue is to build effective research habits rather than relying solely on willpower.

You already perform many tasks habitually each day. For instance, your morning routine of waking up, getting dressed, and perhaps even reviewing genealogical data over breakfast are all habits that have formed over time. These routines, which you execute with little conscious effort, help you manage a significant portion of your daily activities—around 60 to 70%.

Start with the Clock

Use your clock as a guide to develop a new genealogical research habit. If you know an activity, like reviewing census records or writing up family histories, takes a couple of hours, schedule your tasks with enough time to do them thoroughly. Set alarms to remind you to start these tasks, building a rhythm that eventually becomes second nature.

Link Habits Together

If you have an existing habit, consider tweaking it to support your genealogy work. For example, if you typically browse the internet during your lunch break, turn this habit into a genealogy-focused session. Instead of random browsing, dedicate this time to searching online databases or engaging with fellow genealogists on forums.

Create One Habit at a Time

Resist the urge to overhaul your entire genealogical approach at once. Focus on establishing one effective habit at a time, such as organizing digital files or cataloging physical documents each month. Give yourself ample time—perhaps a month or more—to fully integrate each new habit into your routine.

By focusing on creating sustainable habits rather than relying on fleeting willpower, you’ll find it easier to progress in your genealogical research, even on days when you’re less motivated. These habits will support your research endeavors and ensure you continue making discoveries about your ancestry.

1 Comment

  • Nan Bailey says:

    Thank you, this is a great suggestion and will help me keep moving with my research. Plan and make a habit of the task, just what I am needing right now. The next step is to see where I can steal the time from