Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting Ready for the New Year - Time For My Resolutions

Last year after listening to Lisa Louise Cooke’s podcasts about blogging and reading a number of blogs to get a feel for what was out there, what they looked like and what styles or formats appealed to me, I decided to take the plunge and start my own blog.  I kept it private for the first few months to get in the habit of writing (and more importantly editing), to practice adding pictures and gadgets, and to make sure I would follow through (I have seen a number of blogs that start strong and peter out rather quickly). 

I have always been the type who researches most anything I am interested in, plans how to get it done and schedules when I am going to do it – my parents are famous list makers, a trait which they passed along to all of their children and my catholic school education encouraged planning, more planning and then serious follow-through.

What I learned over the past year is that regular and consistent blogging takes time and effort but I think the rewards are worth it.  To those of you who enjoy family history and/or genealogy, consider starting (or restarting) a blog as a way to share your research, your methodology, and perhaps share any tips or hints you have learned over the years with the rest of us. 

As this year comes to a close I am glad that I took the plunge and started blogging (it was one of my 2010 resolutions).  Now as I look forward to welcoming 2011, it is time to think about my resolutions or goals for the coming year.

As important as thoughtfully making resolutions is taking the necessary action to keep them.  Publishing my resolutions is an attempt to “put it out there” and hopefully nudge me to keep at it throughout the year!  Once I made my list of resolutions (a whopping 16!) I decided that I needed to focus on being realistic and not get overwhelmed or set myself up for failure.  I like the idea of focusing my attention on a few goals at a time.  Rather than a lengthy list of New Years' resolutions that go by the wayside within a few weeks or a few months, I decided to make up quarterly resolutions.

In that spirit and fortified with some New Year's bubbly, here are my goals for the first quarter of  2011 ~
  1. I resolve to finish entering all the data I acquired on my summer 2009 research trip to Newfoundland into my Excel worksheets – this includes all the birth, baptism, marriage, and death register entries, as well as voter/elector lists, residence/phone book entries, cemetery markers and family group sheets I transcribed and/or photographed.
  2. I resolve to make an appointment with myself – same day, same time – each week to file (both paper and computer) so that I am organized and orderly in 2011 – Saturday morning from 7:00 – 8:30 am – usually this is before everyone else is up and about and before all those other to-do’s start happening.
  3. I resolve to work smarter, not harder, in 2011 – This is by far the most complex goal but I think it will make my life easier in the long run:
    • Plan - Make a series of research plans and focus on those plans and possible document sources to acquire the necessary information – in this regard use the research guidance tab in my Legacy program and use my GenSmarts program.
    • Document - Use a research log each and every day for the first quarter of 2011 (an FHL instructor mentioned this last year at a class on organization and research methods - I really planned to do it in 2010 but did not follow through – this is the year!).  After the first quarter I will reassess but I am hoping by then using a research log will be second nature and I will have a format that works perfectly for me!
    • Source - Enter the source citation at the beginning of my review of any item (film, book, newspaper, etc.).
    • Location - Enter the repository at the beginning of my review of any item.
    • Quality Control - Check any photographs, scans, or photocopies before I finish with the source and certainly before I leave a repository to make sure I have not cut off page numbers, or failed to enter necessary information on my research log! (Similar to the maxim “measure twice, cut once” – I don’t want to redo my research.)
    • Data Entry – Put it all together by entering it into my Legacy program, my Excel worksheets, my Creative Memories Memory Manager program and filing as appropriate.
    • Protect – Backup my computer on a regular basis – I have no interest in reinventing the genealogy wheel!
  4. Most importantly, I resolve to keep a positive attitude, be ready to learn and ready to help others both in my genealogy life and my real life.

Well ~ that is a start ~ each of these goals will be continuing throughout the year.  I will need to break these resolutions/goals down into manageable parts (more on that in another post) but I truly think I can do it – why not aim high! 

So, do you have any resolutions or goals for the new year ~ why not publish them and we can motivate each other to focus, focus, focus.

(photo provided by digital artist Simon Howden, thanks)

Happy New Year to you and yours. 
May 2011 bring all of us the World over
that which we most need ~ ~ ~ 
Peace, Hope, Love & Joy.

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