Another year is here and it’s time for genealogists to consider resolutions. Devoting more time to genealogy is a good place to start especially if you have problems finding time for research. One of my first columns dealt with finding time for genealogy. If you’re like me, a huge list of tasks prevents you from researching as much as you’d like. The usual suspects are family, volunteerism, offices or committee work. If you’re not finding time for your favorite hobby, then you are likely overwhelmed with no “me” time left over.
I’m urging you to place yourself at the top of the “to do” list this year. Genealogists need free time to work.
Many years ago I was at the State Library when a woman came in and sat at my table. She confided that she had the afternoon to herself. About 15 minutes later she got a phone call from her teenager who had been chosen to compete for an award at state level. There was an impromptu party underway and she wanted Mom there. Mom dutifully packed up laptop and notes, and told me she was proud of her daughter, but the wistful look she gave the bookshelves on the way out spoke volumes about never having “me” time.
How do you find time? Here are a few ways to grasp time from your busy schedule. Consider watching less television and dedicating an hour or two or one evening a week to genealogy. Also, consider trimming commitments. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and if something doesn’t bring you joy, then cut back on that activity. Learn to say no. I know it’s hard but I’ve had to take a set of hedge pruners to my own commitment list and I am proof you can do it.
Also, if your husband spends hours watching football or your wife spends hours sobbing over the Hallmark Channel, seize that time to do genealogy. If you’re a calendar keeper, write a time each week when you work on your genealogy the same as you note doctor appointments and family birthdays.
When you block out time to work on genealogy, turn off your cell phone and let voicemail or your answering machine take over for an hour or so. The world won’t slide off its axis if you snatch a little time for yourself. Neither will it stop spinning if you don’t get the furniture dusted every week. My cousin assures me that dust is a great preservative of furniture and that sounds logical to me.
Look hard at your schedule for chances to fit genealogy in. Cut out the less important things you feel you must do. And, don’t feel guilty about it. Women especially self-guilt when we do something for ourselves, but if genealogy is your favorite hobby, don’t neglect it. Find time for it and for yourself. You’ll get things done and you will feel better and be happier. Oh, yes, and you’ll have more joy in your life. Happy New Year.
Columnist Nancy Battick of Dover-Foxcroft has researched genealogy for over 30 years. She is past president of the Maine Genealogical Society, author of several genealogical articles and co-transcribed the Vital Records of Dover-Foxcroft. Nancy holds an MA in History from University of Maine and lives in Dover-Foxcroft with her husband, Jack, another avid genealogist. Reader emails are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.