Step #4 of my five steps to help ease the feeling of overwhelmed was Make Lists! I'm a list maker. Always have been and I'm sure I always will be. Mr. Brown Eyes (my spouse) tells me that I have a ticker tape list running across my forehead the minute my feet hit the floor in the morning.
I'm not sure its quite that bad, but he is correct. When I hit the shower in the morning I pretty much know what my day is going to be like. I know what needs to be done, I know what I want to do and most of the time, baring any emergencies or such I pretty much get 'er done.
As I said before alot of this boils down to priorities. Its really pretty simple. What is important to you and how badly do you want to take care of those things?
My first list of the day is what do I need to get done as far as our home goes? Do I need to toss in laundry? Take out something for dinner? Put something in the crockpot? Do the bird feeders need filling? Are there any projects that I need to take care of? I have a pretty standard routine that takes place for cleaning, it's primarily a Monday morning thing. There's a list - Laundry gets started, dinner goes in the crockpot, dusting is done, usually the house cleaning is complete on Monday's by noon. There are several good sites with lists that can help with that. One that is very popular is the FlyLady site. She has lots of helpful ideas on getting your house in order & organized. Another is the Martha Stewart website. The link I provided links to her "lists", cleaning, organizing and more. Worth taking a look at if you are challenged in that area.
Once that is done then we look at genealogy. I've always got one major project going on in my office. I've currently got two major lists I'm working on. One is my "Michigan Research" list and the other is my "Medina County Ohio Research" list. Both of these are generated by my software. Another list that I like to generate from my software are "database" search lists. Not difficult to do, but oh so helpful. I will be doing a follow up post on generating those lists shortly. Those lists show me where my "holes" are and what I need to be looking for. We all have those holes in our research.
I also keep to do lists for ALL my favorite genie haunts. Those include Library of Michigan, Allen County (Ft Wayne), Indiana, Montgomery County Record Center & Archives (Dayton, Ohio), Medina County, Ohio public Library. Each repository that I have plans to visit has a to do list - some are obit search lists, some are vital record wants, some are major lists with books, microfilms and more on them. The lists include call numbers, newspaper names and details of what I want and why. Easily customized for all needs. I keep those in Evernote. Always accessible and available for spur of the minute "honey want to run off & research weekends?". Prepared? You better believe it!
Lists are just so important. Both in our genealogy and our personal lives. I've got my Christmas lists going already. Not what I want, but what do I have for each of my grandsons and kids. Can't really go into detail here because I do know my kids read this. I've got a little notebook sorta thingy that has a space for each person I shop for. I have written down the "gee, I could use that" stuff that I hear during the year, then as I find it it gets taken of that list and gets added to the BOUGHT list. So far no one has ever found that list. Comes in handy when you go out shopping and come back as to what goes to what grandson. I use my iPad for my grocery lists. Its great, it shows up on all devices so there's never a chance I don't have my list with me.
I try really hard not to make lots of paper lists but sometimes hard as I try I end up with post its on my desk for genealogy stuff I want to remember, for reminders, for blog topics that I want to write about (I've got one going right here next to my laptop now).
In short, you need to find a way to make lists that work for you. If its paper, if its electronic that works too. The main thing is that using lists helps keep you focused. Keeps you on track. I'm a visual person. Seeing it in front of me, whether on paper or on the iPad or in Evernote keeps me on track. With my list I can see my goals and where I stand. If I have a list of 12 things to do and my goal is done by noon, there's still four to go and its 11:15- I better get off the phone and finish that list. Yep, keeps me on track.
Are you a list maker? If not, maybe you should try it! Sure helps me!