Thursday, 18 June 2015

GDO3: Getting Ready (Again) for the Genealogy Do-Over

I'm getting ready for Cycle 3 of Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over.  I participated in Cycle 1 back in January 2015, and as I look back at that cycle's 'getting ready' post I realise how far I have come (although I'm not saying I'm there just yet).  I learned a lot - and I mean a LOT.  I took 'slow down' as my mantra - and I have slowed down.  However, lately I have noticed myself speeding up a bit and wandering in circles, so I think it's about time to start another Do-Over.  Oh *steps back in amazement* a new cycle starts on July 3rd!  How fortuitous! What a coincidence!

Last time, I began by saying things like "I'm not in a mess.  I'm not in a mess."  And I'm not.  Well, at least, not a total mess.  Order is beginning to come out of the chaos.

"Slow Down" was to be my mantra.  It worked; I slowed down.  But I began to speed up again.  Note to self: must slow down again.

I put all my certificates away in acid-free pockets.  That is an achievement in itself.

Done the software research.  Made the digital folders.  Coloured them so I can see which line is which.

But the biggest thing I got out of Cycle 1 was the Research Log and how to use it.  You see, I always looked at a Research Log as something you did afterwards.  Writing down what you'd done, how far you'd got - and most genealogists will tell you that, once they're exhausted from researching, THAT'S IT.  You have no energy to write it all down.  But Thomas's Research Log was different.  Yes, there was still space to write it down, but the important part was planning your research beforehand, and writing it down beforehand.  That way, you don't end up sitting in front of your computer, wondering what to do now.  You have a written-out plan, so you can dive in and say "right, I'm going to look for this bit first" instead of wandering here and there through your family tree, which is beginning to feel like a magical grove where you can't see the sunlight.
Can't see the forest for the trees

And another key part of the Research Log?  It was made in a spreadsheet workbook, so you could have a special page devoted entirely to "ooh, look at that" type ideas.  We called them BSOs (Bright Shiny Objects).  Instead of stopping what you are doing and going off on a tangent (and then suddenly realising it's 3 a.m. and you have to get up at 6.30 for work) - you go to this special page and write it down.  Then you can come back to it later, when the BSO becomes a serious focus of research as opposed to an "ooh, look at that".

In Cycle 1, I felt like I was hanging on by my fingernails.  Now, In Cycle 3, I'm sitting on the bottom step (not the 'naughty step', you notice).  There are plenty more steps, and I will take them.  Slowly.

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