Getting Organized: What’s Your Goal?

I’m moving from tech tools for being organized to actual organizational tips and systems for our genealogy (research, notes, files, and more). I’ve always worked on the principle that if you can’t find something in less than a minute, your system is not working.

If you are like me, you are busy and there are never enough hours in the day! Being organized is a key component to getting the most out of our time. Consider the following:

  • You should be able to find your documents in a short period of time. If you can’t find what you are looking for quickly, then your system isn’t working.
  • Your system should be understandable to others. What will happen to your work if someone else has to take over?
  • Your system should preserve your documents. You don’t want your descendants (or whomever takes over for you) to have to relocate all of the same documents.
  • Your system should reflect your purpose for your research. Ask yourself, “What is my goal?” and “What am I going to do with my stuff?”

In this series, I’m going to discuss some of these thoughts as they pertain to my own system, share with you some of the ways I keep organized, tips on research plans/logs (or “plogs” as I call them), and so on.

I’m hoping that the act of writing up this series will also help me get organized again. I’ve let it slide lately because I’ve been so busy! Stay tuned for some excellent tips and thoughts on getting organized!

An actual view of my desk today. Yikes!

6 thoughts on “Getting Organized: What’s Your Goal?

    1. Excellent! I still find I have to use paper. I’m just a tactile person. But getting it all organized and keeping it that way is the important thing! I’ll discuss both paper and digital systems in this series.

  1. Excellent topic. I find that I’m drowning in paper – and my office is a disaster zone. I have created a folder in my documents for each surname I’m researching – and then within that folder I have created a folder for each person. I’m slowing scanning documents and notes and filing them in the folders on my computer. It’s a slow process though.

  2. Looking forward to your tips. My desk looks similar to yours only instead of binders it is document boxes and file folders. I don’t organize by surname. Never made sense to me. I organize by record types and locations.

    Currently setting up the family archive using archival processing methods as the basis for the archive. Everything is being scanned including dimensional items like militaria, (patches & medals, & coins). Large items are being photographed. The next step is everything is logged into Zotero complete with box numbers and folder numbers. The great thing is Zotero will become my finding aid. Do a search click on the entry and up pops the document! So far so good.

    1. Excellent! The biggest thing an organization system needs to do is make sense to YOU! I couldn’t find anything if I organized by record type. It makes sense to me by surname (by couple actually as you will see in later posts). To each their own!

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