One of the hardest steps in the organizing process is to get started – no matter what’s being organized. Actually, I should say that statement holds true for most things in life. Starting something new takes a little bit of courage, a dash of planning, but most of all: motivation! As a Professional Organizer, I’m not that different from any other coach in that my job is to inspire and motivate. I want to show you what’s possible! That’s why today, I want to get you motivated enough to tackle your own photo collection! …And don’t forget to enter the giveaway for an extra kick in the pants! 😉
One Step, Two Steps, Three Steps Forward…
The biggest misconception about getting organized is how long it takes, so let me set the record straight. It’s not an overnight process. It can’t be..because you didn’t get into this mess overnight. If you think about how you got to where you are, chances are it happened over a long period of time. We are so impatient nowadays that we expect instant results in everything from making dinner to answering emails to losing those last 10 pounds, that we don’t give anything the time it deserves (Yup, I’m guilty over here…). Unfortunately, life doesn’t care that you’re busy. Some things you just have to make time for anyway.
Getting organized is essentially reverse-engineering how you got to where you are, one step at a time. It means figuring out where you went wrong and replacing those habits with new ones. It will take some time, but don’t let that scare you because like all good things in life, it’s totally worth it. In fact, I look at it as a good thing. It’s a relief to know that when I start to organize, I don’t have to do everything at once. I like that it’s a step-by-step process. It makes things more manageable.
Now, you probably have many areas in your life that could use a little organizing (Hey, we all do, right?), but here’s why I think it’s important that you start with your photos:
1. Your Photos Aren’t Safe!
If you don’t have a backup, you’re playing with fire. With one wrong click, your whole family history could be gone. That is a sad statement, but unfortunately it’s true. Tech accidents happen ALL THE TIME. I know this because I’m the one they call when they’re trying to recover a precious photo from a crashed computer. Being able to deal with digital files is a must in this day and age, even if you’re a self-proclaimed “non-techie.”
Physical prints are in danger too, mostly because of poor storage methods and from events beyond our immediate control. Millions of photos are lost in household accidents, flood, and fires every year. In short, if your answer to the question “What would you save from a burning house?” is “photos,” then you need to start scanning and backing up A.S.A.P.
2. The Mess will Snowball
The longer you wait, the worse the digital mess gets… Your photo collection will only continue to grow as more time passes. It’s unlikely that you’re gonna stop clicking photos, so the sooner you deal with it, the better. We take a staggering amount of photos every year, and like it or not, your phone will eventually run out of storage space. Technology is going to continue to evolve too, so you have to evolve alongside it, or get left behind. Don’t less the mess snowball on you!
3. Your Stories are Getting Lost!
When was the last time your wrote something on the back of a printed photo? I bet it’s been a while. This is kinda disastrous because (unless you’re totally into metadata), your stories are getting lost. A few years from now, you will have forgotten why you took the photo in the first place. Not good. I don’t want you to be the weak link in the family tree! An organized photo collection is a wonderful gift to your future descendants!
Find Your Purpose
If none of the above reasons are enough, find your own purpose! It’s easier to keep a goal when you know you’re doing something for a reason. Create a list of the top 3-5 reasons why this decision would make you happy. What exactly would happen? And who besides you would benefit from it? Don’t forget to write them down either because you will connect with them better that way.
I’ve Got Plenty of Motivation, Now What?
You’re motivated! Great! Let’s keep it that way! Starting the organizing process is one thing, staying motivated in quite another. How do you keep going when there are so many other things pulling you in different directions? Well, if you’ve taken my organizing formula email course, you know that there are a series of steps you can take to stay on track with your efforts.
Here are a few of them:
1. Visualize the Finish Line
Visualization is why olympians win the gold. Your mind is an incredibly powerful tool, and it all starts there. If you can imagine your photos beautifully organized, you have something to look forward to; something to work towards that’s more tangible than just an idea. Visualize how you will feel once your project is done, and what impact it’ll have on your life!
2. Set Your Goals
Once you have that mental image ready to go, write down the different steps you need to take to get there. Set some goals. Nothing too big, but nothing too small either. The steps need to be realistic and flexible both in terms of size and duration, so that you don’t get discouraged. For more help on how to do this, check out my project management blog series Divide & Conquer, where I explain all of this in detail!
3. Execute Your Plan
This is the hard part, but if you’ve done a good job in the planning stage, you have a much better chance of succeeding. If you write down your purpose and your goals, you can look at that piece of paper every time your motivation starts to fade. That usually does the trick! Remember to schedule appointments with yourself to actually do the work, and if you find that you’re having a hard time sticking to it, it’s time to get a coach! See below.
Need More Help? Get a Coach!
If you feel overwhelmed or unsure of the organizing process, it might be worth your time to get a coach instead of trying to figure it all out on your own. The right coach will keep you motivated continuously and you might actually show up more if you know someone’s waiting for you. For most people, it’s easier to keep appointments to others than to yourself. By getting help from a Pro, you’ll shorten your learning curve and get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time.
If you can’t afford to hire a full-time coach, consider a DIY solution where you get check-ins from a coach from time to time. I provide virtual coaching via Skype and as well as e-courses to help you get projects done on your own. Right now you can enter the giveaway for DPO PRO®: The Ultimate Photo Organizing Masterclass, which includes step-by-step guidance as well as support from yours truly to help you complete your first photo organizing project on your own!
I hope you’ll make your memories a priority in your life – even if it’s not a 10-minute task. For more daily motivation, you can join us in our Facebook community Photo #Organizing Fun where you can ask all the questions you want, as well as get a personalized motivational speech! See you on the organized side! 😉