Time flies when you’re having fun, and genealogy is truly so much fun. Time goes quick when you’re on the case of a missing first wife, locating which Anthony Smith is your Anthony Smith from the 1.23K ship manifests, verifying info from a marriage record that could be the missing key to the latest mystery.
It’s all endlessly fascinating.
These are all normal: lost afternoons when it’s suddenly dinnertime, a librarian gently letting you know they’re closing in 10 minutes, or you carrying your breakfast plate to the kitchen when it’s now lunchtime. I expect most of you know this.
However, invariably the time will come when it goes beyond losing an afternoon, or closing a library unexpectedly. There was a time when I lost an entire weekend before my husband finally shook me out of it.
That’s right. I lost 2.5 whole days and would have happily kept going!
This was in the honeymoon period of genealogy. Blank trees just waiting to fill up, hints on every entry. It was sheer delight, but seems a little terrifying to think back to. I had a good start on my dad’s side, but I had just gotten a ton of documents from a family historian on my mom’s side. A treasure trove of names, dates, just whole swaths of family I was looking forward to getting to know! I entered my office one Friday night just hoping to “get started.”
Suddenly it was the next day.
I just kept going. My husband brought me meals, coffee, and the occasional news of the world outside my office. The sun set, the sun rose. I don’t know if I slept, used the bathroom; it was all a blur.It was now Sunday evening when my husband finally snapped me out of it. I had been a genealogy zombie all weekend, and hadn’t spent any time outside of those 4 walls.
I didn’t have any little ones then but I did have a life and husband I was neglecting.
Time management has never been my strong suit, and I am still working on it. But I know now a good genealogist maintains good work flow by setting timers, alarms or phone reminders to keep you on track. Playing with your kids, reading or watching tv to give your brain a break, and a good shower every now and then is necessary to be productive in genealogy.
Those relatives will still be there to greet you tomorrow.
Though I don’t regret the time I spent with my newly discovered ancestral family that dark weekend, I have learned a huge lesson to never discover other lives at the expense of my own.
Has this happened to you? What tools or tips do you have to help with time management? Please share below!
For ways of organizing the treasures in your home please check out our post here.