I love doing genealogy research, but I often have trouble finding time to do it. Because it’s seldom urgent, it falls to the bottom of the priority list, like so many enjoyable things. Since I blog at my other blog, Organize Your Family History, it’s important for me to do the research so I have genealogy-related things to blog about. But, as I said, it can be a challenge to find time.
In early August, I decided to implement a personal 30 X 30 genealogy challenge, in which I committed to doing 30 minutes of genealogy research 30 days in a row. It was amazingly effective. I did not miss a day, and I had days where there was no way I would have done it otherwise—one day there was a big family emergency, but I managed to do my research. Another day I led a huge organizing team for 10.5 hours, but I got in my 30 minutes before leaving the house.
One thing that made it easy was that I was working on a specific project (transcribing my great great great grandfather’s Civil War pension file), so I had a specific task to do and could skip the step of deciding what to work on.
I think one of the reasons this was so successful is that it felt realistic. 30 minutes is not a long time. And the whole thing would be over in 30 days. If I had made a one-year commitment, I probably would have given up on week two.
My 30 X 30 genealogy challenge ended on September 5 and I probably did research all of five times in the remaining weeks of September. Today is October 1 and I’ve decided to implement another one, starting today, so that I get more genealogy research done.
But I’m also thinking of other areas of my life where I could implement a daily challenge. It could be a great way to jumpstart a new habit. I think, for me, the factors I need to make it a successful challenge are:
The obvious choice for me is exercise, something that I struggle to find time to do every day. I will commit to taking a 30-minute walk, or the exercise equivalent, as measured by my Apple Watch, every day for 30 days. Today is the first day of October, and it’s nice, though not required, to start things like this on the first day of the month. So off I go! I’ll report on progress here.