Some days it seems like the laundry pile never diminishes, the dishes multiply like rabbits, and the fun part of keeping house – decorating and making things beautiful – gets shoved to the back burner. The same thing often happens in our creative lives. That Downloads folder bursts at the seams, pictures pile up on the camera memory card, and Photoshop languishes unopened.
While folding laundry recently (a great time for reflection and brainstorming), I realized that many of my strategies for managing housework translate perfectly to digital scrapbooking. So today you get a two-for-one blog post! Here’s my list of tips for dealing with housework – or digital scrapbooking.
- Lists in your head always seem overwhelming and unending. Get it all out on paper (or a computer/phone document). Write down absolutely everything you think you need to do. Don’t forget to include “Facebook browsing” and “email,” because these are time-consuming tasks often left off the “official” list!
- Choose one easy, short task and do it. How about gathering all your photo devices (DSLR, point and shoot, iPhone, video camera, etc) and downloading all those memories? This gives you a quick burst of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, and gets the ball rolling!
- Now go back to your list and prioritize it. What must get done today/this week, what would you like to get done today, and what could wait? Dishes and clothes must be washed, but cleaning out under the refrigerator or reorganizing cupboards can probably wait another week. What are your urgent digital scrapbooking tasks, and which ones can you put off? You can probably guess the next step – give yourself permission to temporarily ignore the low-priority tasks. For example, one thing I would like to do is copy all of my kit previews into a single Previews folder. This will take a good chunk of time, and it isn’t a high priority for me, so it’s at the bottom of my list. Sometimes these less-important tasks are the ones we actually enjoy, or at least would prefer over others. Copying previews is a mindless task I can do while watching TV, and much less intimidating than organizing photos. However, organizing my photos will benefit me much more in the long run.
- Stop avoiding that one thing you really don’t want to tackle (like cleaning out the refrigerator – or organizing photos). If you’re anything like me, you waste more time avoiding the less-enjoyable tasks than you would just doing it. I tend to fritter away my time on Facebook, Pinterest, and blog-surfing when I’m in avoidance mode. Recognize when you’re surfing the Internet as an avoidance mechanism, and ask yourself, What am I putting off? Tackling that project will take a massive weight off your shoulders. And it probably won’t be as bad as you think – things are always bigger and more intimidating in your head.
- Focus on one thing at a time until that one task is complete. Of course there will be interruptions – kids fighting, lunchtime, switching laundry, fussy baby, phone calls, and so on. But redirect yourself as soon as possible and don’t start another task until the first one is finished.
- Reward yourself along the way. My favorite reward is chocolate, but other great “rewards” include a set amount of Facebook or Pinterest time, or anything else that you enjoy. Especially if it’s a big task, break it down into manageable chunks, set goals, and reward yourself for reaching them.
- Make time for play! All work and no play, especially in the creative realm, make Jill a dull girl. Always remember your purpose. For me, that’s memory keeping. Yes, the photo and supplies organization, cleaning out my memory card and download folder, performing data backups, and other related tasks are important, but the only reason I do them is to further my memory keeping. Make time to play with the kids, try a new activity, take a walk. If I never take the time to play and make those memories, and then have fun and play while recording them in a layout, what’s the purpose of it all?