We just finished our first month of the ProGen program with a group discussion. October's topics were Defining Professionalism and Ethical Standards; excellent subjects to begin a program like ProGen with. Our assignments had to do with citations and mission statements.
It was fabulous to prepare the assignment and get feedback from my classmates. The different perspectives people have are always helpful and keeps one on their toes.
This month's "light bulb moment" came from page 12 of the book, Professional Genealogy. In discussing research assignments, work must "... be performed with the greatest degree of efficiency possible in both time and cost." As hobbyists, efficiency in time isn't necessarily a priority. As professionals, doing client work, efficiency is a priority and a necessity. By doing my own personal research as if I had hired myself would be a great way to up the level of work performed and better manage my personal research time (translation: you could find more of your dead ancestors!).
Have you heard of Parkinson's Law? Tim Ferriss discusses it in his book The 4-Hour Workweek. As Ferriss puts it, "Parkinson's Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion." (p. 77) How does this relate to your own research? Put a deadline on your research assignments, even if it's your own personal research. Then report back to yourself as if you were the client. See how much more you can get done.
The other thing I learned is that a mission statement really is critical to whatever kind of work you are doing as it will help you stay focused and communicate to others just what you are all about. It's also not easy to come up with one.
To learn more about the ProGen program visit their website.
Mills, Elizabeth Shown, editor. Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001.
Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. New York: Crown publishers, 2007.
To cite this post:
Goodrum, Michelle. “ProGen Month 1.” Michelle Goodrum. The Turning of Generations, 9 November 2011. http://turning-of-generations.blogspot.com/2011/11/progen-month-1.html : 2011.
© 2011, copyright Michelle Goodrum