Tackling Procrastination: A Genealogist’s Approach to a Clutter-Free Life

Imagine created by DALL-E and Ellen.

I’m excited to share a series of decluttering blogs with you. For those eager for even more insights, I invite you to explore the latest addition to my website: Decluttering for a Healthier and Happier Life. Dive in to transform your spaces!”

One problem with having a cluttered life and mind is that procrastination can take hold. If that happens, you’ll find that you are often late, disorganized, and frustrated. If you really want to rid your life of clutter, you must understand the power of doing it now, regardless of what “it” is.

It’s Not Easier to Wait

Procrastination may seem like the easier path when faced with an unappealing task. However, delaying can lead to severe consequences. For example, just as a cluttered, dusty house might cause allergies affecting family health, a disorganized collection of genealogical records can lead to lost stories and connections, making research difficult and sometimes impossible.

Procrastination Can Be A Symptom

But why don’t we deal with our disorganized genealogy collection? We might say that we procrastinate, and there are many reasons why we procrastinate.  The number one reason people give for their procrastination is that they are lazy or to busy. But are we lazy or that busy, or is something else going on?

Procrastination can be a defense mechanism against our fears. In The NOW Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore suggests it’s the fear of failure. The fear of being imperfect and the fear of impossible expectations can prevent us from acting on and attaining humanly possible goals.   So, we need to have compassion for ourselves.

Therefore, procrastination is not a character defect but an attempt, although unsatisfactory, to cope with the fear of having our worth held up for judgment. The fear of judgment is the feeling that even after you work your hardest and achieve the goal set out for you, it might not be good enough.

Sometimes, that judge is our worst critique … it’s ourselves. 

Define Your Genealogical Goals

Staying present and proactive is easier when you are clear about your objectives. What do you aim to accomplish in your genealogical research? Setting a goal and understanding the goals for the year can guide your efforts and help prioritize tasks. When creating your goal, be sure to make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound (read more about SMART Goals HERE).

Quiet Your Mind to Sharpen Focus

Quieting the mind can enhance focus, whether through instrumental music, white noise, or meditation. These techniques are particularly helpful before delving into complex genealogical research, allowing for deeper concentration and more effective problem-solving.

Dedicated Focus on Genealogical Tasks

When organizing or researching family history, complete immersion in the task can significantly enhance both enjoyment and efficiency. Whether sorting through old photographs, transcribing documents, or connecting with distant relatives for information, full focus can transform these tasks from mundane to gratifying.

Timely Execution: Know When to Start & Stop

Developing a structured schedule using time effectively can prevent procrastination. For genealogists, this means allocating sufficient time for each task, from setting up research materials to digitizing and storing them properly. Underestimating time is a common pitfall that can lead to clutter and incomplete projects.

When I lecture on dealing with your photo legacy, I suggest working on the project for just 15 minutes each day—at least to start. Attendees are usually surprised to find out that if they committed to just 15 minutes, they would be over 91 hours further along in their project one year later.

In genealogy, as in life, no one is promised tomorrow. Taking control and acting now ensures that you can preserve your family’s legacy effectively, ensuring that future generations can benefit from a well-organized and richly detailed family history. Never underestimate the power of acting immediately to live a happy, healthy, and clutter-free genealogical life.

If you’re not already a member of my pack (after all, many of you are Family History Hounds like I am), you can sign up here or click the form below, and you won’t miss a post. By joining, you’ll not only get updates on blogs, but you’ll also receive special offers from my genealogy friends, and they’ll all come to your inbox.

Comments are closed.