The #1 problem I hear from people who KNOW they need to do something with their boxes of photos is, ”I don’t have time!”
If you’ve ever said, “I don’t have time!” you’re in good company because most family historians, including myself, have said that at one time or another.
What’s The Difference?
Everyone has the same amount of time, so how do some family historians manage to make so much progress and others never seem to get it done? It’s not always because they’re not busy. Most of them lead lives that are as busy as ours, so let’s consider what is probably the main reason they get stuff done.
Lesson From An Old Fable
You all know the story about the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise plods along and keeps going while the rabbit, who is faster, runs for a short burst but then gets totally distracted.
The moral of the story is to stay consistent. Studies show that consistent daily effort produces better results than a burst of activity now and then. That’s true for learning an instrument or getting good at a sport, and it’s also true of our family history.
I’m not talking about the kind of commitment where you spend every moment of every day on your boxes of photos until you get it all done. I’m talking about a much smaller commitment where you consistently do something once a day or one or more times a week every week until you get it done.
Let me suggest once a day, 6 days a week.
Before you say, “No way! That would never work for me!” hear me out because I’m going to tell you how it’s possible to do that.
Consistency Will Improve Your Focus
Truth be told, I haven’t always been consistent, and that was part of my problem. I’d start on something and then stop in the middle of it and then be all confused about where I was and what I was doing. Anybody relate? Uh! It was such a PAIN. Being consistent is SO much better because I don’t get confused and lost.
The Secret To Staying Consistent
Here’s the #1 thing that will help you stay consistent: Choose a time commitment so small that it’s almost impossible not to succeed. As in 5 minutes.
Do you think you could finagle 5 minutes a day, 6 days a week to work on your boxes of photos? I think most of us can manage at least 5 minutes, and there are plenty of things you can do in 5 minutes that will move you forward, and then, if you have a little bit more time on a particular day, you can do more.
My aspirational goal is to devote 30 minutes a day to family history, But when I have a really busy day I consider myself successful if I do at least 5 minutes. That’s my minimum. Five minutes of action on my family history honors my commitment and keeps the habit alive.
Forming A Family History Habit
That’s how working on family history turns into a habit, just like making your bed or brushing your teeth. Even if I only do 5 minutes I can still pat myself on the back for reaching my minimum goal.
THAT, my friends, is a WIN!
The cool thing is that my Family History Habit has turned into one of my favorite times of the day, and I often go longer than my aspirational goal of 30 minutes just because I’m enjoying it so much.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve found this to be helpful and do share any tips of your own on how you make time to work on your family history!
Make 2020 Your Year To Get It Done!
It’s about to be a brand new decade so it’s time for challenge, and here it is: What if you could unlock all your boxes of photos in 2020 and turn them into easy-to-share family history that you’re proud to pass down to the next generation? Would that be a WIN for 2020?
It IS possible and I want to help you do that, so on January 8 I’m hosting a 7-Day Unlock The Boxes CHALLENGE class to help you get it done in 2020! It’ll be a total no-brainer to join—you’d be crazy not to! So watch for some more info and the sign-up announcement, which will come right after Christmas. And if you’re not on my email list be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of the details about my Unlock The Boxes Challenge for 2020.
May 2020 be the year you finally turn your boxes of photos into shareable family stories!