Video and Show Notes
How Alice the Genealogist Avoids the Rabbit Hole Continued…
Part 1 and part 2 of this short series can be found in episode 68. In part 1 we covered what makes us vulnerable to getting distracted, and how a research plan can help. In part 2 we talked about how to deal with BSOs (bright shiny objects!)
In episode 68 we covered:
1. Use a Cloud-Notetaking Service
- Get a free Cloud note-taking tool and use it consistently. (Examples include Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep.)
- Use the website, software, and/or app to capture unexpected finds while researching. Both Evernote and OneNote work on all platforms.
- Your notes in your account will synchronize between your devices (depending on the program and plan you choose.) You can add to your notes or work with them anytime, anywhere.
2. Schedule BSO Time
I use Google Calendar to stay organized and schedule my BSO time. Create a BSO calendar, and then schedule BSO time on your calendar. These will help you remember to follow up. Knowing you have set aside time in the future to explore the BSO helps you mentally let them go and stay on track with your research plan.
In this episode:
3. Mobile BSO Organization
Success comes from pairing your research plan and process with a great supportive research environment. We have a variety of “environments” we work within such as:
- On paper at our desk
- On our mobile devices
- On our computer
Let’s look at how we can set up a workflow for BSOs while mobile computing. My two favorite methods for capturing BSOs on a smartphone or tablet are 1) Cloud Notetaking, and 2) Home Screen “Bookmark Apps”.
Option 1: Cloud Notetaking
I’ll be using Evernote on an iPhone as an example. (You may see slight variations in the instructions depending on the service you use and your device.)
Evernote is a great choice if you want to easily sync and use your notes on all devices including your desktop computer and / or laptop computer.
Before you begin, you’ll need a free Evernote account at evernote.com. You’ll also need to download the free Evernote app from your device’s app store, and log into your account.
When you come across a BSO while researching online in a web browser (such as the Chrome or Safari app), here’s how to capture it:
- Tap the Share icon on the web page.
- Select Evernote from the menu. If you don’t see it tap More for the complete menu of available apps. If you still don’t see it, make sure you have downloaded the app.
- The app will open and should open a new note. Edit the note as desired.
- Tag the note with the “BSO” tag, as well as any other tags you find helpful.
- Tap Save.
- The note is now saved to Evernote. If you are on WiFi, Evernote will synchronize so that the note will be available from any device signed into your Evernote account.
Option 2: Home Screen “Bookmark Apps”
Keep in mind that these aren’t the same as “Bookmarks” found in your web browser apps. I call them “Bookmark Apps” because they do save a particular web page, and they look just like apps. In the menu this feature is called “add to home screen.” (see image)
Bookmark Apps are best for when you plan to do your BSO follow up on the same mobile device.
How to capture a BSO as a Bookmark App:
- In your browser app, when you come across a BSO web page, tap the share icon.
- Tap Add to Home Screen.
- Edit the title so it will be easy to remember why you wanted to follow up on it.
- Tap Add (iOS – this may be different on Android, or different browsers)
- The web page “bookmark app” is now on your home screen.
Once you have created at least two BSO bookmark apps, you can then create a folder.
How to create a folder:
- Move the bookmark app by pressing and holding it until it shakes.
- Keep your finger on it and drag it onto the other BSO bookmark. This will create a folder.
- Name the folder “BSO”.
- Press the home button to save.
Now whenever you have some spare time you can tap the BSO folder and get back to one of those items that previously caught your eye.
How Alice the Genealogist Avoids Falling Down the Rabbit Hole Part 4
Creating a Supportive Computing Environment
The following tools are available for your computer desktop or laptop.
In addition to using Ctrl+Shift+T (Win) or Cmd+Shift+T (Mac) to restore a closed browser tab, you can also right-click on the new tab plus sign and select Reopen closed tab from the pop-up menu. You can do this multiple times and web pages will continue to open in the reverse-order that they were closed.
Turn Multiple Tabs into One and Save Memory with OneTab
Online genealogy research can leave you with a lot of open web browser tabs. While using multiple tabs allows you to jump back and forth between web pages and records, they can take up valuable computer memory.
You can dramatically reduce your memory usage with the OneTab extension available for both the Chrome and Firefox browsers. With one click, OneTab will combine your open tabs into a clickable list in one browser tab. You can even export the list for future reference.
Reduce Email Distractions
- Gmail now has a Snooze feature which allows you to temporarily file an email until the date and time you select.
- Snoozed emails will reappear in your Inbox at the scheduled time.
- Retrieve snoozed emails at any time by clicking “Snoozed” in the menu on the left.
Get Back on Track with MyActivity
When you are signed into your Google account, MyActivity tracks the searches you conduct and the websites you visit. By visiting your MyActivity, you can search for and return to any previous activity. You can also turn it off. Go to MyActivity and click Activity Controls from the menu. Switch the slider to the off position. Visit MyActivity at https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
Save Time by Previewing Your Google Search Results
Rather than clicking on each search result and loading the page (which also takes you away from the rest of your search results), use the Google Results Previewer web extension for Chrome. Once installed you can simply hover your mouse over a result link to reveal a preview of the page. Then you can decide whether to click through or preview additional results.
Click here to get the Google Results Previewer web extension for Chrome.
Resources for Further Learning
Premium Members: download this exclusive ad-free show notes cheat sheet PDF. Not a member yet? Learn more and join the Genealogy Gems and Elevenses with Lisa family here.
Genealogy Gems Premium Videos:
- Organize Your Online Life
- Using Evernote to Create a Research Plan
Evernote Quick Reference Guide, by Lisa Louise Cooke. Available at Genealogy Gems Store.