Overson Family about 1915 enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage.com
Genealogy can become an all-consuming passion but it is always best to have moderation in all things. Some of us spend an inordinate amount of time doing their own genealogical activities and helping others with theirs. Is this a problem or even a concern? When I was working as an attorney, I could easily spend 50+ hours working every week. Some weeks, when I had a trial out of town, I might work as many as 60 or more hours in five days. Much of the time in my life, even when not in trial, I would work for twelve or more hours a day. No one ever questioned the time I spent because obviously, it was my job, and hopefully, I was getting paid to work.
So why is there a concern over the time spent doing genealogy? I may not be getting paid, but I treat genealogy just like I would treat my job as an attorney. There is work to be done and I am motivated to do it. Do I expect anyone else to spend the time I do? No more than I would expect everyone to work at their job more than 60 hours a week.
For most of the people I know, working at genealogy related activities is optional and falls into the category of "I will do it when I get around to it." Genealogy is more of a hobby or interest than a passion. In my case, when I retired from the law profession, I merely substituted genealogy for the time I used to spend as an attorney.
The first question you should ask yourself is which activities do you really value? Do you work full-time at a job, if so, what do you really want to do in leisure time? Are there other activities in your life you value more than genealogy? When you get down to it, maybe an interest in genealogy will never rise to the level of motivating you to become involved. There are other leisure activities that may seem more appealing such as gardening, camping, fishing, sewing, painting, crafts, and many other worthwhile activities. What if you feel "guilty" that you aren't "doing your genealogy?" Guilt can be a motivator but it is usually not a productive one. Is genealogy a recreational activity? Here are some of the most popular recreational activities in the United States:
- Watching TV.
- Family Time.
- Going to Movies.
- Renting Movies.
This is part of a list of the top 50 such activities and genealogy is not listed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this chart shows the that
On an average day in 2014, nearly everyone age 15 and over (96 percent) engaged in some sort of leisure activity such as watching TV, socializing, or exercising. Among those who engaged in leisure activities, men spent more time in these activities (6.0 hours) than did women (5.2 hours).Watching TV was the leisure activity that occupied the most time, accounting for more than half of leisure time, on average. Men spent 3 hours per day watching TV, while women spent 2.6 hours. Socializing, such as visiting with friends or attending or hosting social events, was the next most common leisure activity, accounting for 0.7 hours per day for both men and women.
Here is the chart.
It is also noted on this same page that "on average, adults age 75 and over spent 8.0 hours per day engaged in leisure activities—more than any other age group; 35- to 44-year-olds spent 4.1 hours engaged in leisure and sports activities—less than other age groups."
All I really did was trade my leisure activities for genealogy. You don't have to trade all of them. I spend time walking, riding a recumbent bike, watching movies, and other activities. I just spend more of my leisure time doing genealogy than anything else. If you evaluate what you do every day by keeping a detailed diary or inventory, you can easily find an hour or two a day for genealogy but there is always a trade-off. You have to give up a portion of you leisure activities.