January 29, 2024 by Mason Bell

In bookshelves and dusty closets across the country lie photographs documenting birthdays, family gatherings, vacations, and Christmases stuck to cheap plastic albums whose pages and spines are starting to crumble.

With three children and a large extended family, I often find myself worrying about these family treasures, vowing to save these images in digital form. A vow I have made and failed to honor for several decades.

But no more!

For the last two months, this writer put down the keyboard and warmed up the photo scanner still in the packaging from the last attempt. Photos pulled from disintegrating albums were scanned, organized, and given to the now adult kids in the images. Thousands of 4x6 memories are now stored in the cloud, safe from deterioration or fire.

I’ve moved on to the piles of DVDs whose data has already begun to fail. Digitizing the videos has not been an easy task. Files take time to transfer. Software for combining small clips into single events runs slow. With roughly a quarter of the work complete, the stack of old DVDs on my desk keeps me moving ahead with the project.

But the procrastination monster is persistent, reminding me of edits I need to make for an upcoming title. And giving me great ideas for that lizard book I’m itching to start work on. Maybe those DVDs could wait a little longer!

The sliver of truth from the monster is legit. I absolutely need to finish the next book on my release schedule and start a shiny new project. But I know something the procrastination beast doesn’t. Creativity needs a break now and then. A refilling of the printer ink, if you will.

The old videos of kids playing in the yard, using their imagination, and having a blast are exactly what I need before embarking on a new project. Like most jobs, burnout is a real thing. By briefly trading writing for video transference, I’m actually helping the plots of future books.

Sticking to the plan gives me peace of mind. Family memories will finally be safe for future generations and no longer hanging over my head, and my current manuscript will be completed on time for the editor.

Procrastination doesn’t always equal laziness. By slowing our busy and over scheduled lives, procrastination makes space for contemplation and renewal, giving us the opportunity to consider how our behaviors and beliefs fit into our long-term plans.

Adult life has taught me one simple rule: Treat your procrastination beast well and he will reward you.