I had a feeling something wasn’t right: For the past month and change, I kept getting a twinge in my neck. Not bad at first, just a little ping here and there. No problem, just keep on shooting. As the days wore on, the ping became more pronounced and the little shocks in my neck soon migrated farther down my back. Only after the shocks turned to lighting bolts with bouts of numbness in the extremities, did I consult my physician.

After enough x-rays to bake a potato, a battery of tests and a visit to a chiropractor, it finally came to light: Degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis at C5.

Congratulations! You’ve just won a trip to the orthopedic surgeon’s office!

The turmoil of the past couple of weeks got me thinking, “If I hadn’t procrastinated, would I be better off?” In this case, the answer was no (a car accident 15 years ago is probably the culprit), but it got me thinking of how I had procrastinated in my photography, and would I be better off had I been more proactive? The answer here was a resounding yes, and unfortunately, it wasn’t in one area, but several.

I opened my copy of ACDSee Pro and clicked on the server, then navigated to the “New Images” folder, where I initially download my images. To my horror, I had four months-worth of new images, amassed in 16 folders totaling 2,264 shots that I had not laid eyes on since the imaging sensor initially captured them. With a modest 10% kill ratio, I potentially had 226 “keepers” in the mix that hadn’t been through the digital darkroom workflow. I was potentially sitting on a gold mine and letting it waste away!

But them Mr. Procrastination’s grip of fear gave me a resounding shake, for these images weren’t part of a backup (the folder they reside in is only a temporary holding tank). If the hard drive failed (and we all know that it’s not a matter of if a hard drive will fail, but when), the weeks of shooting would be for naught.

I quickly realized that my procrastination had a snowball effect on my entire business: The new images weren’t in any of my galleries, art fair bins or on my Web site. The stock agencies and my clients didn’t know these images exist! While I could easily chock it up to “I was soooo busy with other things,” it all comes down to the conscious decision to put it off.

In today’s digital age, it’s easy for us to take a bazillion pictures, shove them onto a hard drive and forget about them. Unlike the shoebox in the closet that we used to store our negatives and slides in, hard drives fail, file folders are mistakenly deleted and computer gnomes move files to who knows where when you aren’t looking. We all have images on our computers – family, friends, vacations, etc. – that need out attention. Sorting through and deleting the bad images frees up storage space. You might find an incredible sunset or flower shot that you didn’t realize you had, or you might find a photo of an old friend – attaching it to an email could make their day.

So now I’m looking through a bevy of photos. Some will be unceremoniously tossed. Others relegated to the “Stock” folder and the special few will pass into the “Wow!” folder for immediate processing. I may have to wait to see what happens with my neck, and take a course of action that will alleviate the pain. But within the next few days, the plethora of new images will be sorted, processed, uploaded, printed and backed-up.

Aloha, adios and auf wiedersehen Mr. Procrastination!