In my life-long quest to become organized, one of the goals I set for myself was to consolidate all my random genealogy to-do lists into one. My first thought was just to use the To-Do List feature in my RootsMagic program. While that is a very useful tool, it just wasn’t working for me.
I thought about creating a spreadsheet, but that seemed like overkill. Plus, I wanted my list to be accessible no matter where I was.
Then I started looking at Evernote. I found a series of blog posts about using Evernote for genealogy by Colleen Green and Shannon Thomas. Know what I discovered? Evernote has CHECKBOXES! Yes, please.
The first thing I did (because it was the most important) was to create an icon for my to-do lists. I noticed that Shannon used one for her research logs, and I wanted something other than a tag to identify a note as a to-do list. So I created an icon for my to-do lists … and while I was at it, I went ahead and created one for my research logs and research plans. I just copy and paste this little icon at the bottom of each note. Since it’s the only image in the note, it shows up as the thumbnail on the list.
Then it was time to get serious and create my to-do lists. The first list I created was a “general” list – one that holds all the items that are not person-specific – such as “make a list of relatives who were in the military.” I systematically went through the to-do lists I already made in RootsMagic and transferred them to Evernote, creating a new note for each person, and creating surname, place name, and repository tags along the way. I’ll use those later when I’m ready to check some things off – then I can click on the “Vanderburgh” tag to pull up all the to-do items for my trip to Evansville.
Once I copied over all the to-do items from RootsMagic, I went through my blog posts – one by one – and added all the things I said I needed to do (which never actually made it onto a to-do list). Ironically, one of the items I came across was a goal I made for myself back in 2011 that said “keep a to-do list in one place …” so, I guess I can (finally) check that one off!
All told, I have 59 separate to-do lists now, and I’m sure that list will grow – if I ever get the chance to actually work on my genealogy again. But because all of my notes have been appropriately tagged with surnames, places, and repositories, I can find all the ones I need with one click. The best part? I have access to my to-do lists from my phone, my tablet, my laptop, or any desktop computer.
Where do you keep your to-do lists?
Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com
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