Thursday, 6 April 2017

Watching April and Other Distractions

April the Giraffe
Youtube Live Feed

All over the world people are watching a giraffe named April as we wait for her to give birth to her 4th calf.
It was supposed to be in March they said, don't tune out you will miss it they it is the beginning of April and we (read that ME) are still watching!
I have her next to me as I research, well, as I try to research.
Then something catches my eye...oh, what's she doing now? Is that a contraction? Why is someone in her pen?
Oh, look, they are feeding her carrots!

 We all get distracted and go down rabbit holes or chase after that darn squirrel every once in a while!
It happens when we get an email with a new DNA match or a message from a cousin who has information we need to take a brick out of a wall.
 It can be a Bright Shiney Object (BSO) in the form of a new DNA tool, an update to your genealogy computer program with new features to play with, or a new app to learn.
Some days things just don't get done as we fall in those holes, chase those clues and are blinded by the sparkly.
Our to-do lists don't get to-done.

There are a few things that have helped me stay focused and on track.

First, I set up a schedule for the day. What and when I am going to work on certain tasks. It is a flexible plan that can be tweaked as the day moves forward. The schedule may show two hours to work on a particular project, but sometimes, ideas flow, and there's a need to extend a little instead of stopping to work on something else.

Second,  I looked for tools that help me stay on track with my day and my projects. I use Evernote, Trello and Google Calendar.
These hold my schedules, notes and to- do lists and checklists. They each can be used on my computer and on my tablet and smartphone to be consulted where ever I am.
Trello boards are a great project management tool and help me to plan step by step in order to complete assignments and tasks.
I review them before getting to work to help me know what to do with my allotted time.

Have you ever decided to use a time management program or app, put all your info in it and then never open it?
A system and a routine for when I check my tools and what action to take helps me to use them to get the full benefit and be productive throughout the day.
In the morning my Google calendar events and Evernote to do lists and help me remember what I have to do.
In the evenings, it's nice to go over my schedule for the day and see the things that I have worked on and perhaps completed before planning the next day.

To all of this, I have added a Bullet Journal. Writing down my daily, weekly and monthly tasks has helped to process what I need to do and the best way to get it done. These items are then placed on my web based tools for easy access everywhere.

I have been trying harder to not go off the path after those BSOs and slide down deep rabbit holes. The goal is to add them to my to-do lists and project schedules.

I said I have been TRYING-but some days, you get this

April Saying Hello!

and it's so hard to look away! "Giraffe, Giraffe"!!

What helps you stay on track and focus on finding your family?

Helping you climb your family tree,


  1. Loved this! I'm glad I'm not the only one that readily admits how easily distracted I can get. I find that writing down everything I need to do for the day in the same spot- for me it is the old fashioned daily planner- including writing and researching time as well as the mundane go get food for your family, helps me stay on track and balanced. I also review the list at the end of the night and carry over to the next day and I try to leave Fridays open to finish whatever didn't get finished when it was supposed to.

  2. Well, lol, maybe you don't want April to be bigger than your computer screen. My huge distractions are social media. I will start out on FB checking all the groups I admin...soon I find some interesting post has sent me off on a tangent. The other thing that happens, is I will sign in to FamilySearch and hints will take me off to a family I had not planned on working on. After all we are supposed to try and use all our brain cells right. (smiling here) Great post.

    1. Good point about the screen! lol! We all have our issues, don't we?
      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment, Fran!

  3. Distractions are really hard. I use Evernote and Trello too as well as a heap of Google tools and they are great but ... Right now I am blogging from A to Z. It is my 4th year and I find the project and the discipline of daily posts does wonders for my research and achievement by the end of the month. But I have a whole lot of other things to do too - - probably better to be busy than otherwise :)


    Anne Young

    Anne's family history

    1. So true, Anne! Thanks so much for your comment!


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