Ways to describe avoiding a task

How To Stop Procrastinating And Get It Done

Why do we put off things we know we should do? Whether it is exercising more, clearing out the garage or managing our photos, we have an idea of what we need to do but the thought of going through the actions of these tasks can seem overwhelming, distasteful or pointless. Even knowing that putting off certain tasks could hurt us later, we will still hesitate. So how do we stop procrastinating and tap into motivation when we need it?

When faced with a decision to make or a task to complete, we usually rely on our self-control in order to push ourself to get things done. Furthermore, our motivation, which is based on the expectation of receiving some reward for our efforts, can support our self-control, and make it more likely that we will get things done in a timely manner. (1)

Procrastination happens when our motivation to finish a task is weakened and the rewards are abstract or negligible. Not having a clear objective, being told to do something, or just being too tired at the end of the day are all things that can weaken our desire to complete a task. Fear is what often helps us finish a task. It’s what drives us to buy home or car insurance because we fear we won’t be able to afford the outcome of a disaster. The reward is knowing that most of the costs are covered if something horrible does happen.

But not all things are so straight forward. Recently my brother experienced a terrible flood in his basement due to freak rainstorm. Four inches of rain fell in 1 hour in an area that typically gets 3 inches over the whole month. As a result of the flood, my brother lost many possessions that were ruined by the 4 ft of rain that turned his basement into a swimming pool. Insurance would cover some of his belongings, but not the photo albums filled with pictures from the days of shooting film.

In addition to rebuilding his basement, he is now faced with going through his waterlogged computer and soaked albums to see what, if any images are salvageable. Insurance doesn’t cover photographic memories.

From a photo management perspective, my brother was on track to do everything right. He had backed almost all of his digital photos to the cloud but there were still some images on his computer and all the prints in the albums remained unscanned. He knew what needed to be done but he just hadn’t finished the task because there was technically no urgency and as such, no real motivation. Flooding of the type he experienced is still extremely rare.

The “just in case” tasks are often the hardest to complete. For those, we definitely need a plan.

Quote about Time

How to stop procrastinating

1. Have a clear objective

The first step to overcoming procrastination is to have a clear objective – the absolute WHY you need to do the task in the first place. I hate cleaning my house but I love a clean house. My objective is a clear. I am motivated by the discomfort and anxiety that a chaotic house brings. To encourage me to get through this loathsome task, I treat myself to a cold beer when I am done. With photo archiving, the objective is to preserve and protect past memories. And potentially, share them with others. The motivation is that in their current state they are vulnerable to time and moisture. Scanning 25 years of prints however, is a daunting task.

2. Understand your type of procrastination

The second step to overcoming procrastination is to understand why you, as an individual, are avoiding the task. This excellent resource can help you figure this one out. It could be lack of energy, not sure where to start, or fear of doing it wrong. It could be that the task, like photo archiving, is too big. One option could be to break it down into smaller parts.

3. Create a plan of action with measurable and obtainable goals

The key to this step is to create a schedule that suits your personality and lifestyle. Look at the overall objective and break it down into smaller more manageable tasks. Set a deadline for each task. Fit those tasks into your day. For example, for photo archiving, review one album each night while watching tv, or decide on two albums a week but pull them out and leave them on the kitchen table so you can review them whenever you are in the room. Make it as easy and enjoyable as you can. Turn on your favourite music, pour a glass of wine. Whatever reward you can think of that will motivate you to finish the task. Try to get into a flow of work by eliminating distractions and creating a comfortable work environment.

4. Set deadlines that are concrete yet reasonable

It’s important to set a completion date, as it constrains how long you work on a task. But it is also important to decide on dates that are reasonable for your day to day life. When you are just starting to exercise, don’t plan on working out every day. Start with two days a week and go from there.

If you are sorting through your photos, set a date for the completion of each stage: reviewing, scanning, and organizing. Allow yourself some flexibility but not too much. Create some form of accountability with a friend to check in with you.

5. Reward yourself

I like to save my desert until after I finish the dishes. That way I am motivated to get them done and I get to relax over something yummy. Figure out what will motivate you through the steps, not just at the final completion of the project, but at all the milestones along the way. Whatever your objective may be these steps can help you get it done. The key is to remember WHY you are doing the task. Write this objective down, put it on a post-it and place it where you will see it every day. Or set reminders on your phone. The key is to stay focused and not fall off track.

And if this still seems overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is strength in knowing what you are good at and what will just take too much of your time and effort. Sometimes it just makes sense to hire a bookkeeper or a handyman, or in my case, someone to clean the house.

When it comes to photo organizing, I can help guide you through the process. Feel free to contact me here.

Screen shot of camera roll on smart phone

How To Free Up Space on Your Phone

We’ve all been there. That moment of sheer panic when we realize we are witnessing something spectacular: the first step of a child, that perfect sunset, or the off chance meeting of a celebrity and NO! Our smart phone is full. No more storage left. No more images can be taken. We desperately try to delete an image or two to make space but how do we choose?

Our smart phones can be our life lines to everything: they are calendars, contacts, game centres, music hubs, social media connections, cameras, oh, and phones. As a result they hold a lot of information that can suck back all that precious storage you paid for when you bought the thing. To avoid the desperation described above, we need to keep our smartphones lean and mean with regular maintenance and cleaning house.

There are some basic steps for freeing up space on your phone:

Delete any downloaded music

I like to have a copy of my favourite playlists on my phone so I am not always using data to listen to music. However, tastes change and maybe there are lists you don’t listen to any more.

Get rid of all those apps you don't use or haven't used in months

The data stored with a lot of apps can take up a lot of storage. Be merciless. You probably only use about 10-20 apps on a daily basis anyway. On the iPhone there is an option to see how your storage is being used (Settings/General/Storage). You can offload apps – this keeps the app but deletes the data associated with the app, or you can just delete the app.

Clear out the Recently Deleted Album

Just because you have deleted a photo doesn’t make it go away. Apple, for example, gives you a 30-day grace to change your mind and stores the image in the Deleted Photos Album. If you need to free up space you have to go into the Album, select all the images and hit delete again.

Speaking of deleted photos, in this post, I talk about how necessary it is to regularly and ruthlessly edit your photos. This is the first step to good photo management and to avoiding the panic and frustration mentioned above. It is so easy now to take thousands of pictures but mixed in with the gems are some really lousy shots just cluttering up your phone. You need to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Whenever you are waiting in line, on the bus, or ignoring that annoying person who won’t stop talking, stop dredging through Facebook or Instagram and start deleting. To stay on top of all the images you take, you need to get rid of those useless extra images that you took by mistake in Burst mode, the video you shot when you meant to take a still, the out of focus shots, and the unflattering images where someone is talking, eating or stuck in that horrible half blink.

By getting rid of the images we don’t need we free up space for better images down the road. But another good practice of photo management is to make sure your images are being backed up to the Cloud through either Google Photos, iCloud or other providers.

These wonderful services can be set up to back up your images any time you are on wifi, without you having to think or worry about it. The fees for this vary with Google,  Apple and Amazon so you need to find the best option for you and your family. The fees change regularly but you can get an overview from this document to get a breakdown of what each provider offers.

If you do delete an image off one device, say your phone, it won’t delete it off the cloud so if you are getting rid of those bad images you will have to do it in both places. That’s why it’s a great practice to delete them off your phone BEFORE you back up to the cloud.

Final Step to Free Up Space

Both Google Photos and iCloud allow you to reduce the amount of space your images take up on your phone.

In Google Photos, it’s a setting called simply “Free Up Space” (In the app, click on the icon in upper right).

On an iPhone, Google will actually delete images in your Photos folder that are older than 30 days off your phone. The images remain in your Google Photos account and you can see them through the Google Photos app on your phone when you are online. The images themselves are moved to the Recently Deleted album in the Photos app. The images will stay in that folder for 30 days unless you delete them right away. If you really need to free up space immediately, you have to go into the Albums section and scroll down to the Recently Deleted album. Select all the images and delete them permanently off your phone. Of course, you wouldn’t want to do this until you are certain you have backed up all your photos to the cloud successfully.

With Apple Photos or iCloud Photos, there is an Optimize Storage setting (Settings / scroll down to Photos app) that converts images older than 30 days to a lower resolution format on your phone, reducing the amount of space they take up. This can help temporarily, but if you really have limited storage, you are going to run out of space again pretty soon. Make sure your images are backed up to icloud and delete them permanently off you phone.

So before things get scary, follow the Photo Management Best Practices
  1. Ruthlessly edit your images on a daily basis
  2. Back up to the cloud – whatever service suits your style and budget
  3. Back up your images to your computer or external hard drive. (Always good to have another backup option.)
  4. Select Free up space or Optimize Storage
  5. Delete any images you have saved to other places off your phone.

Yes, photo management takes time and thought. It all comes down to what you want to do with your images. If preserving memories is important to you, then you need to take steps to make sure your images are in a safe place. Carve off a little bit of time each week, put on a pot of coffee, cue up your favourite tunes and take care of your images

Still life of digital cameras

How to Choose Your Photo Management Provider

One of the essential steps in the process of protecting your photos is to make sure you are saving a back up of your images to the cloud or off site storage. But choosing the right photo management provider can be challenging. Here are a few tips to get you started.

The advance of smartphone cameras has allowed all of us to take as many pictures as we like virtually for free. But at some point, your phone will run out of space and the time will come to move the images into some form of backup system.

A lot of the confusion about putting images in the cloud is around the difference between a sharing platform and a backup storage platform. Facebook is a sharing platform and should never be used as a backup of your photos. Same goes for Flickr. Google, Apple and Amazon and storage platforms that also allow you to share.

People have probably told you to save your images to some form of storage platform. But as smartphone technology continues to develop and the providers continue to change their offerings, it’s hard to keep up. Our kids laugh at our ignorance but the reality is we just don’t have the time to stay on top of who’s providing the best backup services. There are jobs to do, mortgages to pay, lives to live. 

Your choice of provider really comes down to the type of smartphone you and your family members use, how many and how big your files are, and finally, your budget.

Type of Phone

As we all know, the world of digital photography has totally exploded in the past 15 years. My first digital camera was 3MP. When Apple introduced a smartphone in 2007 it was 2MP. The latest iphone has 12MP and three lenses. Huawei’s smartphone camera can shoot 40MP. The technology keeps getting smaller, more refined and more powerful.

Even with all the advances, one thing has remained the same. Are a you a Mac or a PC? It’s not that Macs and PCs don’t like each other, it’s just that in the world of bites and bytes, like prefers to talk like to like. So, if everyone in your family prefers the iPhone and they have iPads and Macbooks, it can be easier to stick with the Apple platform and use Apple Photos as your provider. The same goes for Pixel smartphones and Google. This is not a hard and fast rule, just something to keep in mind.

Number of and Size of Your Images

Understanding your storage needs can get a little confusing. Most people simply shoot images and a little video with their smartphones. Others like to ramp up their video production and create high resolution movies. Some providers put limitations on video size and image type so knowing what you and your family like to shoot is important.

When it comes to knowing the size of your files, there are two numbers to keep in mind. The resolution of your images and the size of your images. Your smartphone camera resolution is defined in MegaPixels. That is how many millions of pixels there are in one image and the amount is determined by multiplying the number of horizontal and vertical pixels.

My iphone shoots 12MP. The image size is 4032×3024 pixels.  Which means each image has 12,192,768 pixels. We then say that the image (divided by 1 million or a mega) would be a 12.1 MP image.

However, that is not the file size of the image only it’s resolution. The resolution of an image is its quality, the more pixels in an image the smoother the lines, the better the colour and depth. But the higher the resolution of an image, the larger the image will be.

The size of an image is defined in MegaBytes or MB or (10,000 Bytes).

Basically, to create a colour digital image, the sensor uses 3 colours per pixel. Each colour is defined as a byte.

So to determine the size of our image we need to multiple 12,192,768 by 3 which would be 36,578,304 bytes.

But that is too big to really talk about so we divide it by approximately 1000 (1024) to turn it into kilobytes (1000 bytes) and then divide again by approximately 1000 (1024) to get MegaBytes.

We then end up with a 34 MegaByte or 34MB uncompressed image.

But smartphones almost always shoot in a JPEG format which is compressed to save on space. So in actual fact the images on my 12MP phone average 3-5MB in size.

In terms of online storage space, Apple offers the first 5GB or GigaBytes (1000 MegaBytes) for free. So you would have to store up to 1000 images to reach that total.

Google offers the first 15GB  (15,000 MegaBytes) for free. That would be up to 3000 images for free.

But as I said, most people shoot images and video so the number and size of your videos will affect how much storage space you will need.

The size of video depends on resolution and how long the video is. Most providers will limit free storage to video that is shot at 1080p but many smartphones can now shoot at the much higher resolution of 4K. Google will compress your video to fit their requirements which could really affect your project.

In addition, all the providers allow you to back up more than just your images. Documents, music, and email can be included in the backup process and will add to your total count for storage. You can choose what you want to back up in the settings but it’s a good idea to back up all the files that are important to you. If you wanted to save money, you could just save your other files with a different provider or to a personal hard drive.

Apple Photos

If you are a Mac user then you will most likely prefer to use Apple Photos because it syncs so well across all the Mac devices, iPhone, iPad, MacBook etc. But what else is good about Apple Photos.

  • First 5GB free
  • Auto upload with wifi from your phone or iPad. Synced with your computer when signed into iCloud
  • Store images in the cloud and keep a smaller version on your phone to free up space
  • If all members of your family have iPhones you can create a family plan for about $4 a month/200GB
  • Share private photo albums with friends and family who have an apple id
  • Can create albums to organize your images and view them on both your phone and computer
  • Edits to images are synced across devices
  • Can view images on your devices through airplay and Apple TV
  • Apple One account allows you to upload photos, documents and more
  • Third Party printing options available through iCloud on your computer
  • Fees

How To Set It Up

Go to Settings on the Phone / Click on ID at the top / Click on iCloud / Turn it on and customize

Google Photos

Google Photos is a natural choice if you use an android device but it also works quite well with any device.

What has separated Google from the rest in the past was the free unlimited storage of your images. For the trigger happy photographer it was the best deal, so long as you only shot jpegs (what all smartphone cameras shoot) and were willing to keep the image size constrained to their specifications (less than 16MP – what most smartphone cameras shoot).

However, all of that will change as of June 2021 when they will no longer offer free unlimited storage. There rates will most likely be similar if not lower than Apple but it is something to keep in mind. Pixel 1-5 phone owners are exempt from this change.

  • First 15GB free
  • Need a Google account to upload images (free, comes with Gmail address if you have one)
  • Upload images easily through an app on your phone and wifi.
  • Available for PC and Mac users
  • Free up space on your phone by deleting images out of the proprietary photos app but you can always view them through the Google Photos app and wifi
  • Can upload images from your computer too through HTTPs://photos.google.com
  • You can share albums with anyone by sending out a link but that link is not necessarily private
  • Organize your images on the phone or computer with albums
  • Excellent face recognition, pretty good object recognition to help with organizing
  • No real printing options from the software
  • Google One is the family option – one payment for multiple accounts. Plans start at around $2 for 100GB. Any type of file, including gmail accounts, documents can be uploaded but all count toward your quota.
  • Fees

How To Set It Up

  • Download the Google Photos App
  • Sign in with Google account.
  • App has to be open on your phone for automatic backups to the cloud

Amazon Prime Photos

We’ve included Amazon in this list because if you are an Amazon Prime member you get free unlimited photo storage and 5GB for other types of document storage. However, unlike Apple and Google photos, the sharing options are limited.

An Amazon Prime membership is around $79 CDN a year but you get the movie and music streaming services and deals on shipping from Amazon.ca as well.

  • Best for people already paying for Prime and have family members who need to back up images too. Also best for just cloud storage not actual viewing, sorting, or editing
  • Back up on phone is automatic with Amazon Photos app. On the computer you have to use the Amazon Drive desktop app but you can set it up to auto backup at certain times.
  • Available for both PC and Mac users
  • Organize photos by date or album
  • Share files only through social media
  • Files are private unless you share a link to them
  • Viewing and organizing images once they are uploaded is awkward
  • Printing is available through Amazon Prints but only in the US
  • Fees
  • More Info

In Conclusion

Once you decide on the best photo management provider for your needs, the set up is pretty straight forward. However, if you do hit some bumps along the road, feel free to contact me for advice. The first consultation is always free.

Happy Backing Up!

Graphic showing how to back up images