Flailing Around With Your Genealogy, How to Control 3 Time Wasters – Part 2

Stuck? Getting Nowhere?

Have you noticed that time waster(s) make it easy to flail? Or that flailing encourages MORE use of time waster(s) than normal?

Exploring that last question for a minute. You’ve checked your Ancestry DNA. Then you read a couple of newsletter posts. Email is next. And one of those mentions Facebook so…

What IF… A time waster had been reduced in mass so you could NOT spend several hours there.

Identify a Time Waster Then Control It Instead of “It” Controlling You

Start with the Easiest Three Things To Do

Three areas where you can lose time without even realizing it are:

  • Email — how to pick mail that can be eliminated.
  • RSS Feeds or Newsletters – how to determine whether to read or dump.
  • Facebook – controlling your Facebook environment.

Work these one at a time or simultaneously … I’m doing simultaneously. As I come upon any of the situations below, I evaluate & handle it. Seems like less of a big job that way.

Email – Do you read EVERY message you receive? ALL of it? I didn’t think so. I don’t know anybody that really does. So Email makes a GREAT place to eliminate cruft that has grown over time.

  •  Stores where, over time, you have subscribed. A suggestion on criteria to keep or unsubscribe.
    • Are you regularly NOT reading the message from ‘x” store?
      • If Yes, then unsubscribe.
    • Are you reading occasionally but have not ordered anything from them (or visited their “real store”) because of their message?
      • If Yes, then unsubscribe.
      • If No — was the order or visit over a year ago? For me, my how-far-back-to-I-go … did I Christmas shop there last year?
        • If I have not ordered in the last 14 months or visited a store because of their emails, unsubscribe.

You can do the above as you go through your email. Apply the questions and unsubscribe if it meets that criteria.

You can also go through say the last two months worth of email looking just at the stores, the shop-now-great-deals type of  emails & apply the criteria. Either way it works.

Remember — unsubscribing isn’t permanent. YOU can always re-subscribe. Believe me — they’ll be glad to have you back.

  • Jokes & funny stories or pictures.There are some people that once they send you the first joke or funny store/picture, the I’ll-send-them-this-and-this-and-this-and… to the point where every message from them is RARELY read. I actually took care of this some years ago. It works.
    • Send the person a message and ask that they either eliminate or reduce to a very few (emphasis the “very“) jokes or funny stores/pictures. Tell them honestly that you really want to stay in contact with them but your email has exploded and their actions will really help.
      • If the person totally ignores you and continues with the barrage, mark them as spam.
      • Yes, I had to do this with one person who just would not stop.
      • Yes, it stopped ALL of their mail. And sadly I did not miss it. For me 99.9% of their mail was jokes.
    • Unsubscribe from any “joke list” you are on. This used to be quite the thing quite a few years ago.
    • Unsubscribe from any “picture, clip art list” you are on — unless you are ACTIVELY using the pictures or clipart.

RSS Feeds or Newsletters – 

  • Newsletters – even those from genealogy sources.
    • How many newsletters do you subscribe to?  That includes genealogy or other type. For me, the other is WordPress.
    • And how many of those are REALLY useful?
    • Do you pay for any of these?
      • Those — REALLY examine. Are you getting your monies worth? Not that the content in the newsletters is worth every penny. BUT are YOU USING it????
      • I took a long hard look at this aspect of my newsletters and realized that I wasn’t.
      • My subscription ran out on one and will soon on the other one. Both are excellent. But if I’m not using them, it is a waste of time and almost a thorn in my side everytime I see one.
  • RSS Feeds – I use Newsblur.com since Google killed its Google Reader app.
    • The demise of Google Reader actually has saved me some time. I would go to Google Reader multiple times a day and check out an article. The Google Reader app was on my iGoogle page (also going away November 2013). Since that was my home page, I saw it often, etc. etc. Now that Reader is gone, I check Newsblur once a day. And I don’t read as much as I used to. Before I only had the titles. I set up Newsblur to show a bit more than that.
    • I moved almost all of my Newsletters into Newsblur. Given what I said above, I spend less time reading.
      • I will move the rest of them by the end of the month.

When time permits, I’ll read more but in the meantime, I’ve got better control.  I set up a Genealogy category and a WordPress category in Newsblur which also helps speed checking of truly helpful articles.

Notice that the above also has diminished the load on my email account(s) too.

Face book (or Other Social Networking Site)

Facebook is used for ALL sorts of reasons. For me it’s an easy way staying up with friends made through the years as well as family. It’s also has genealogy potential if used correctly. But how much time can you “afford” to spend on Facebook? Add in playing games… “Oy vey.”

  • Games – Depending how far behind you are, stop playing games. Or limit yourself to one game. And limit the time spent playing it.
    • Personally I never play games on Facebook and turn off every notification on games my friends play. I don’t want to know.
    • And here’s where a piece of strong truth that may tick some people off.
      How can you look your genealogy society members in the eye and tell them you “don’t have time” to do the role you agreed to and they see you posting game after game on your Facebook. Don’t think people don’t notice. They do.
  • Over-commenting – A comment is not needed on everything that is shown to you on Facebook. Many times “Like” accomplishes the same thing.
    • I found myself slipping into the O-C mode lately. It takes time to write comments. I need to take my own suggestion here.
  • Friends who post too much taking up your time just scrolling through their stuff.
    • Facebook provides a way to “hide” a single post. Look at the message to the right of the sender’s name. Mouse over the horizontal line just above the person’s name. You’ll see a down arrow appear. Click on that down arrow.
    • Then click on “I don’t want to see this” — the post is hidden and you will see the information below pop up on your screen. Note:  If you made an error you can Unhide now. I don’t know if you can “Unhide later”. Once I hide it, I’m done with it.

      Facbook's Don't Want to See this.

      Don’t Want to See This? You can make it disappear.

    • Note that you can stop all posts from the sender. And if two people posted the content (via share) as seen above, you can block the other person too. Advise you use this carefully.
    • You can click or NOT on one of the radio buttons under “Why don’t you want to see this?”.
      • I only do when I find it truly annoying or not interesting. I may even find it quite interesting but I don’t have time for it right now. And how often do we go back in Facebook anyway?
      • There are a few things I think shouldn’t be on Facebook. But my Facebook friends are those i know personally or professionally. Those don’t post that crud.
      • If it’s spam, what do you think I do? If you think I don’t click that button, you haven’t read all of my post WP: Brute Force WordPress Attack. Spammers get no mercy.
  • Groups and Notifications from Group Postings – there are some really good genealogy groups on Facebook. But…
    • Some groups are VERY active. If you have Notifications turned on for the group, you can be overwhelmed with the flurry of posts on the group’s page.
      • Suggestion 1: The default for groups is Notifications ON. After being admitted to a group, click on their link under Groups in your left nav. Click on the Notifications link on the group’s page and select Off.
      • Suggestion 2: If you comment on a group entry and the discussion turns to a non-interesting exchange, go to that entry & click on “Un-follow”.
    • Leave Group – Just because you joined doesn’t mean you have to stay. Go to the group’s page, look for the little gear button in the top nav. The dropdown menu has the open to Leave Group. Suggestions for reasons to leave a group:
      • Group’s direction is not as advertised.
      • Group’s admins allow spam entries to stay around too long.
      • Entries in the group are not providing value.
      • Group is unfriendly and puts down people.

Other Social Areas like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. may also need some “control”.

Apology to you the reader: This post got “posted” before it was ready. That’s the one thing I wish WordPress would change. The “Publish” button and the “Update” button are in the exact same place. It is VERY easy to publish before you are ready to do so. I went ahead and finished the editing. I may even add an image to the top. But it’s late at night and I fear further will end up making more errors and more work.

There will be a Part 3 to this topic. If the above helps ONE person get even one of these back under their control…I’m happy.