It’s January 2021! A great time to look ahead and plan what you want to accomplish this year with your family history, so let’s talk about what it takes to tackle and finish a family history project or book. Not just start it, but actually finish it.
Here’s my 2-Step Process for how I approach projects, large or small, and Get It Done.
Step #1: Sit down and take some time to plan before you jump right in. And don’t just think about it: Write it down–every step you must take to successfully finish your project.
For example, here’s what a plan might look like if I decide to scan a box of my parent’s photos:
- Organize the photos into logical groups or sets.
- Add a card with date, names, and occasion (if known) to each set of photos.
- Decide the order to scan each set.
- Create a matching folder on the computer to receive each set of scans.
- Scan each set in order.
- After scanning add any keywords or name changes.
- Repeat with the next set of photos until done.
This is only one example. You can do this for any family history project to keep you on track and keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Right now I’m working on a major family photo book project. My list of steps is quite long, and that’s even more reason to start with a plan and put every step in a logical order. If you don’t see a clear path all the way through to the end it’s easy to get discouraged and start to procrastinate.
And don’t be surprised if along the way you find that you need to add a step or break down a larger step into smaller bites.
So that’s Step #1: Make a Plan And Write It Down!
Step #2: is to schedule a time and a place to work on your project because unless it’s on your calendar it’s probably not going to happen.
I recommend two kinds of scheduling: a shorter, daily chunk of time that could be anywhere from 5 minutes to one hour and longer chunks of time, like a full day or half a day once or twice a week or once or twice a month. When you work on a project for a longer period of time you can really focus and make headway.
But if you have to choose between the two, a consistent daily habit has been proven to produce better results in the long run. I find that working on a project daily keeps it moving along and I’m able to keep better track of exactly where I am in the project.
So that’s my two step process for finishing a project: Write down a plan and schedule a time and place to actually get it done.
And by the way, it doesn’t hurt to set a deadline like I did this fall when I wanted to turn a set of three old Creative Memories albums about our family’s trip around the USA in 1998 into a single lightweight printed book so I could give one to each of our kids for Christmas.
I asked Charlie to help me out and we both put on the after-burners to get it done and by golly we DID it! And OH the sweet taste of victory! The book turned out beautifully and our kids were so surprised and pleased!
What about you? Want to get more done on your family history projects this year? Faithfully follow this 2-Step Process and you’ll have plenty of success to show by the end of 2021!
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