Why it is okay to slightly lose track of short-term goals.

I scanned 2,820 photographs in 2 days. But that was 2013.

While in Canada last year I decided to approach the task of sorting and scanning thousands of photographs that my mother had so kindly left me in a stinking locker the size of a living room. It was dusty, hot and exhausting to shift boxes and boxes to just find two plastic bins I was looking for. I had an idea of what they were and they said “Memorabilia – who’s she” on the top. It seemed like another life. That was my life in a box that I had not many memories from.

At the time I was thinking, yes I can do this. I have exactly three days spare to scan as many photographs as I can. I was scanning continually in my sister Christine’s house and taking up the entire living room.

Apparently since I was little I have a tendency to complete what people ‘dare’ me to do. When I was little Christine said I bet you couldn’t stand in the lake for 20 minutes because it was very cold. I did and I came out of the water blue and shivering. My sister on the other hand was not pleased that her kid sister had actually just done that and that there may be consequences. Fast forward 10+ years and at the start of the mammoth task of scanning she said “I bet you can’t go through that plastic box.” That plastic box was huge. Probably 30+cm depth and 120+cm length. It was thousands of single photographs all piled on top of each other.

When people say that I can’t do something it fuels a fire inside of me that makes me want to not only complete it but in the shortest time possible. I have come to realise this personality trait can be amazing and tiresome at the same time. To have that fuel inside me was what made me sit for 8+ hours a day and scan thousands of photographs in 2 days. The third day was spent sorting out other boxes and editing some of the photographs that I had scanned.

I thought that because I had scanned thousands of photographs last year that I could come back and sit 8+ hours a day again and get another 3000+ scanned again. I calculated that another 6000+ photographs remained in total. That’s a lot of scanning when talking about single photographs. It was daunting.

I scanned merely around 900 in the whole space of a week that I had at the cottage. The motivation behind it had disappeared and been replaced with the daunting task of scanning even more photographs this year. The excitement had gone and I was left with thousands of photographs that needed to be documented.

I realise now it is okay to slightly lose track of my short term goals. But only if the time was better spent doing what I wanted to do. There was a reason I didn't finish scanning those photographs. I didn't want to. 

I enjoyed my time at the cottage with reading three books in three days and nearly finishing clearing out the cottage with my other two sisters. Those were the things I wanted to do more and I did and I do not regret it. 

Have you lost track of any short-term goals?