How many times have you endeavored to do something to advance your progress in an area, but then never took the first step forward, either from lack of time, or lack of motivation, or some other persistent reason?
This has been my plight in genealogy for too long. I download podcasts, buy books, fumble around on the Internet, but in the end I haven’t set aside a true chunk of time to accomplish anything of lasting value, whether it be by educating myself or in advancing my own research. Daily life has taken over: After caring for two kids, a husband, a house and a full time job, there’s just never any room for focusing long enough to move ahead with anything else.
As you might know from an earlier post I finally enrolled in the Boston University Online Genealogical Research Certificate Program and, although it is a lot more complex and time-consuming than this type-A personality had expected it to be, it is long overdue.
For one, the required texts are Professional Genealogy, Evidence Explained, and The BCG Standards Manual – – all books that I owned prior to signing up for the course. When I purchased the books I did so with the intention of sitting down to read them so I can apply the wonderful array of knowledge each of them offers. Yet I just never found the time. Time is always my biggest problem.
My solution to time or motivation problems has always been to jump in head first and set a goal that will take me down the road I want to travel.
Motivation problem: Exercise. Solution: Sign up for the half-marathon and raise money for a charity while training for it.
Time problem: Genealogy. Solution: Sign up for the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research.
What better way to accomplish a goal than to set a deadline and be accountable for it to someone other than yourself?
The BU course started May 8th and I have spent over 60 hours since then — yes, 60 — working on the discussions, readings, and assignments related to problem solving, organization, research design, and report writing covered in this first module — and I still have a few readings and one assignment to wrap up before the next module starts on Tuesday. (So you’ll forgive me, I hope, if I don’t manage to post a weekly Fab Finds this week).
In those 60 hours I have learned more than I could ever have accomplished on my own in the same time frame, not only from the readings and assignments, but through the online conversations with the instructor and my peers. It’s those conversations that are a priceless benefit to the course.
It’s been a heck of a time commitment, but my impression after the first 12 days is definitely two thumbs up.
What are your suggestions for managing time or motivation problems that interfere with accomplishing your goals?
[Flickr photo courtesy of cubworld]