Do a little bit every day

My dad skiing at Stowe in 1947

This New Year’s Eve I have resolved to remember my father’s advice, “Don’t let a big project overwhelm you, break it into small manageable parts.”

Personally, I have often put off starting a huge project because it seemed to be way too much to tackle. It is amazing how many other things get done when I am procrastinating!

If you had told me five years ago how many hours I would spend working with my family’s DNA results, I might never have started. That would have been sad as I would have missed out on the endless pleasure genetic genealogy has brought me and the many others I have helped.

If I had known twenty years ago where writing down the family stories would take me, I could not have imagined the thousands of hours I would spent on genealogy. I have enjoyed just about every minute of it, except perhaps going to the library or archive and not finding the record I was searching for.

Both of these hobbies are easy to break into small manageable parts. One family line at a time or one location at a time or one group of connected matches at a time or even one chromosome segment at a time. Whatever works for you.

I had been overwhelmed thinking about organizing and tidying up my office. Two years ago my New Year’s resolution was to reorganize it. I have a whole small bedroom with closet space and plenty of light, why such a shambles!

In that spirit, a week ago I started doing a little bit of office clean up each day. This is working, even if somewhat slowly.

My Office New Years day 2018

It may still look messy to you but it is greatly improved. Compare it to the picture at the bottom of the page. You can see the floor now. Notice the water glass in the open desk drawer. Having destroyed a keyboard and a laptop by spilling liquids (usually coffee), I have devised this way of protecting my electronics!

To get started, I also reminded myself of the advice I gave my son when I saw how messy his dorm room was, “Everything needs a place that it goes when you are not using it.” Or to a friend whose apartment was a disaster area, “When you walk through the room, pick up one thing that you can put away now and do that. Eventually it will all be under control.”

When I went back to my January 2015 post to get the photo, I noticed this comment from organizing expert, genealogist, and blogger Janine Adams ” My big piece of advice is to work on it small, frequent bites. Don’t wait until you have a free weekend and think that you’ll spend two solid days on it. In my opinion, an hour a day for a week is better than spending a day on it once a week. ” Great minds think similar thoughts …

A Happy New Year to all of you!

My Office 9 Jan 2015

BEFORE: My Office in January 2015

9 thoughts on “Do a little bit every day

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  1. I am thrilled to have found your information! Great job and information ! I found another club of sorts too and it might be something you would like. It is called Learn Do Become and it has been a great design of what your father taught you. Small pieces vs huge chunk. I am always grasping for new knowledge and ways to help myself get through. You have a great way and this may be fun for you. Look it up on FB too! LearnDoBecome by Eric and April Perry. I am a constant fan of you, Thank you and may your 2018 be blessed!

  2. Thanks for the inspiration, Kitty. I usually get as far as my desktop. Perhaps I’ll start this time on a corner where I’ve piled miscellaneous odds and ends. I understand oh too well the pleasure of seeing floor again.

  3. At least we can see the floor now! That is an improvement! Being very low on energy, I have been teaching my husband to do this as well, I have to do it in 15 minute segments or less, but it still works. Persevere!

  4. I love that this post is an inspiration to so many of you, my dear friends. Keep up the good work! For me it is also accountability – a record of how the office looked today.

    • Vernon –
      The reason i4GG has been holding this in San Diego is convenience for CeCe. So many speakers live here or nearby, plus her husband Lennart’s audio visual staff … But there has been discussion of going elsewhere. Keep your eye on the web site next summer to see.
      Videos from this one will be purchasable in about February

  5. This made me laugh out loud as I am a researcher by profession and hobby. In academe, we called it, “chunking,” when we broke down modules into parts.

  6. We had to operate what the Japanese call the 5S standard of housekeeping which means, sort, store, sweep, shine and sustain. For the sustain part the recommendation is to tak a picture of your newly organised space and pin it to a wall as a reminder of how your spac should look for ever more

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