3 Surprising and Valuable Benefits of Digitizing Family Photo Albums

2014-05-21 11.10.03 The genesis of the project was practical and uninspired – but the outcome was akin to finding hidden treasure.

No Room For Albums

When we moved into our smaller space,  we simply did not have room for the family photo albums we had lovingly assembled over the years. We had no choice but to box them up and put them in an unfinished attic.

Concern About Loss

Although we had not looked at most of the albums for decades, it still felt wrong to put them in an inconvenient and somewhat unprotected space. Family photographs comprised the few sentimental items remaining after our mega-edit of over 80% of our possessions. Making the memory books inaccessible undercut the purpose for retaining them.

Resolve to Not  Get Used  to It

When I worked as a house cleaner, I was consistently surprised at how quickly people could tune-out glaring upkeep issues.  Needed work  became “invisible” if  it was left unattended for a certain period of time.

As we approached our first attic storage anniversary,  I knew we needed to take action or our albums and the need to protect them would be largely forgotten.

Process Easier Than Anticipated

Once started, the process of digitizing our family albums was much easier than anticipated.  While there are many wonderful tools and protocols,  we simply removed photos from albums and sorted them into batches such as “1980 Ranch”,  “2006 Graduation”,  “2009 Hawaii”, etc.   Placing the year in front of the batch description created an easy to follow chronology.  We then ran the batches through our ScanSnap scanner and uploaded the images to DropBox.  Such made the images accessible on all our devices and easy to share.  It was also a great comfort to have the images backed-up and significantly safer from loss.

Simple Life Reboot PostcardsFirst Surprise Benefit – Discovery of Hidden Love Letters
As I mentioned,  we had not opened most of the albums for decades. I had forgotten the numerous postcards we had included in the albums due to our family practice of purchasing extra postcards to supplement our rather deficient photographic skills.

As I began removing postcards from the magnetic pages, I discovered most were not blank.  Rather,  much to my delight, we had  a huge cache of  long forgotten messages sent by beloved family members who have since passed.  These beautiful  messages shared tales of adventure and love.

Second Surprise Benefit-  Easy “Then-and-Now” Photos

With family images easily accessible on my iPhone,  we could now take time-lapse pictures with family members re-creating a scene from a photograph taken years earlier.  What fun!!

Third Surprise Benefit – Opportunity to Reach Out

As we assembled our new digital database of  family images, we came across images we knew others would want to see.   With a few clicks,  we were able to forward images that opened new lines of communication and allowed us to reconnect with loved ones.  In so doing,  we rediscovered why the images were so precious to us in the first place.  They preserved memories and created new opportunities to connect with our loved ones.  It was a legacy worth preserving,  cherishing… and sharing.

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We would love to hear how you save and share family images. Please let us know in the comments below.


Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com


The Joy of Capture with Evernote

Kids jumpingOne of the biggest challenges in tackling a new project is the assembly of  pertinent information. When starting out, it is difficult to know what resources might be ultimately be helpful and how they will fit with the plan. As resources are gathered,  particularly from different mediums, organization and retrieval can also be difficult.

Fortunately,  there is Evernote. I have been using Evernote for the past year and my appreciation for the tool continues to grow. Though I am not an expert user, even my rudimentary use dramatically improves my work flow and peace of mind.

For me,  Evernote is the perfect capture tool.  For Simple Life Reboot, I use Evernote in the following ways:

Audio Capture: When I have an idea for a post or website improvement on my morning walk (which happens almost every morning),  I record an audio note.  Later,  I transcribe and enter the appropriate topical tags.

Photographic Capture:  When Dave and I brainstorm,  we often write on a whiteboard.  Instead of recopying  the information,  I take a picture in  Evernote.  I also take Evernote pictures of  the events in our journey including moving out of our house,  the moving sale, before-and-after pictures, and scenes which inspire me.

Screenshots.  When I am on my computer reading a post or looking at a website with helpful information,  I take an Evernote screenshot and attach the URL.  I also take screenshots of tutorials to display on my iPad as I acquire new technical skills for Simple Life Reboot.

Linked Master Note.  While I can review all information on a topic by searching or reviewing tabs,  I further organize disparate information by preparing a Master Note linked to other notes. For instance, when attending a conference recently,  I linked maps, a screenshot agenda, and emails saved in Evernote to a Master Note on the conference.  One stop shopping for all the information!

Journal.  Dave and I  seek to document and accurately convey our  Simple Life Reboot journey.  In order to do this,  I maintain a journal with simple Evernote notes tagged with “SLR Journal”.  The ease of use, access on all of my devices, and the fact that it is searchable makes it easy to access information.  At the end of a long day,  I sleep better knowing that my notes and thoughts are safely tucked away.


Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com

5 Simple Ways to Beat Distraction by Cell Phone

cell phone

I find myself checking my cell phone literally dozens of times every day.  Has someone called, texted, left a message?  The evil little device puts me in touch with everyone, ALL THE TIME.  Of course, it’s not really evil, but without it I would feel…well, inadequate.  There, I said it!  Besides, how will my business associates, clients, friends and family  get in touch with me if they need to?

And yet…I sometimes long for the days when I actually had fewer options and less “connectedness”.  My woefully outdated cell phone is both a tool and a distraction.  It can deliver wonderful little surprises in the form of text messages and pictures from my wife or kids, or it can interrupt an important meeting if I have failed to mute it.  Like many of you, I feel this need to know what is going on all the time.  Otherwise, I am “out of the loop” on things.  Pitiful, isn’t it?

I have found the best use of my cell phone, by far, is when it allows me to discuss dinner plans with my wife before getting home from work.  My stomach is thrilled with the technology. But I have to ask myself, “Am I controlling this tool, or am I letting it control me?”

Steps we all might take to keep interruptions at bay include the following:

1)  Make sure all notifications with sound are turned off, except the morning alarm and incoming calls.

2)  Turn your phone off during all important events.  But be aware, simply turning your phone off is not effective in stopping all notifications from “punching through” as there are some notifications that may have been inadvertently set to pop-through a locked screen.

3)  To ensure notifications will not interrupt,  put your phone in airplane mode to cut the device off from receiving outside information.  The phone will be as quiet as a mouse for as long as you want.  Turn it back on when you’re ready for the onslaught again.

4)  Decide not to check your phone for messages more than once every couple of hours.  Do not become a slave to your phone.  If it is an emergency, the notification will come in the form of a phone call.  So relax.

5)  Do not check your phone or emails first thing in the morning.  Carve out that time for yourself to contemplate the day, to focus on your workout or your creative side or whatever activity gives you the energy and focus to take on the rest of the day.