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  • Writer's pictureKim Richardson

How Do I Stay on Track?

Ever start researching and get completely off track? Sure, it happens to the best of us. But, if we want to make true progress, what can we do to stay focused?

Take small steps not giant leaps. Set a small, specific goal. Instead of saying "I'm going to do research" or "I'm going to research my father's side of the family," try something smaller like, "when was my grandmother born?" It is much easier to focus on one small question at a time. And as you string together several small accomplishments, your family history really begins to develop.

Write a mission statement. Once you think of your goal, take a moment to write it down on a sheet of paper. Fill in the blank: "my mission is _____." For example, my mission is to determine when Joe and Jane Smith married. Place that paper on your workspace or tape it onto the bottom of your computer screen. Keeping your written goal "front and center" will help you stay focused on your mission.

Keep an extra notepad handy. Record any thoughts you have that do not relate directly to your mission statement on a separate notepad. You may run across interesting pieces of information that tempt you to abandon your mission. All you have to do to stay the course, is write that information down and where are you saw it so that you can return to it at a later time.

After you complete your mission, allow yourself some time to do nothing but go down the rabbit holes of genealogy searching. We all love to chase those shiny pieces of information that distract us from our mission statement. It's fun. So allow yourself time specifically for that. Say to yourself "today is only about doing interesting and fun searches." And then go enjoy!

Staying on track and sometimes take a little extra effort. Plan ahead and remain steadfast in your mission. The rewards will amaze you!

Stay focused by taking small steps and keeping organized notes and "to do" lists.

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