How Taking Pictures Can Improve Your Productivity

You know the sayings…

Every picture tells a story.

A picture is worth a 1000 words.

Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

Usually when we think of pictures we think of taking photos of friends, family, and vacations.

However, pictures can be a powerful tool to assist in your time management.

Do you use pictures to help with your productivity?

Every Picture Tells a Story

With smartphone cameras and apps like Evernote, it is simple to capture and file pictures.

These days, we don’t have to remember everything. In fact, sometimes taking a picture is the best solution.

“Taking a picture is often faster and captures more detail that writing down notes.”

Here are just a few reasons why you should take more pictures…

Quick – Snapping a photo is fast! (Although, Siri is pretty quick…) With iOS 5 and your iPhone you can quickly snap a photo even when your phone is off. Simple double-tap the home button and press the camera button. Many people do not know about this new shortcut. Try it.

Captures Detail – Photos capture information that you cannot get via written notes. Taking pictures of an object or a document can provide more insight that simple notes. So, pay more attention during that meeting and simply snap a picture of the whiteboard when the discussion is done.

– Cameras Everywhere – With our phones, most of us are carrying top-of-the-line cameras with us at all times. This was not always the case. Yet, many overlook the capability of their smartphone camera to help them be more productive.

Store Your Pictures – With technologies like iCloud (PhotoStream) and software apps like Evernote, it is easier than ever to get photos off our phones. Evernote is particularly useful for filing pictures for future reference. It will even perform OCR on photos to look for keywords. If you are not familiar with Evernote, I highly recommend you check out Brett Kelly’s “Evernote Essentials Book.” It is a great getting started tutorial. (affiliate link)

Have A Photographic Memory

The next time you want to remember something, instead of reaching for that pen… grab your camera.

10 Things to Take Pictures of To Remember:

  1. Solutions to Problems – If you have the answer to a problem, take a picture. There is no reason to have to solve the problem a second time in the future. This is particularly useful for capturing the known state of something before you start troubleshooting.
  2. Important Information – Lose the scrap of paper, back of the napkin sketch or random business card. Instead of packing your wallet or purse, snap a quick picture and dispose of the clutter.
  3. Whiteboards – I often see people furiously scribbling notes during a brainstorming session. It is hard to actively participate if your head is down in your notebook. I prefer to engage and not distract myself with note-taking. Then at the end, I will snap a few pictures of the whiteboards that have filled up with ideas.
  4. Documents – When on the go, you can use your phone camera to scan paper documents into PDF. There are many great apps out there that do this. Try JotNot Scanner Pro for iPhone. With one button, you can even upload your PDF to Evernote.
  5. Where You Parked – Yes, there are many apps to help you remember where you parked. But, none of them are as simple or fast as snapping a quick photo. And it doesn’t have to be your parking space. It could be your hotel room door number or your rental car. If you travel a lot for business, you know how easy it can be to misplace your hotel room.
  6. People – I am great with faces, not so great with names. Take pictures of people you meet. Of course, be courteous and make sure you have their permission. Add their photo to your address book contacts.
  7. Details For A Todo – If you need specific information for a todo, take a picture of the relevant information. For example, if I need a prescription to order a refill, I will take a picture of the bottle before I depart for the day. Then I have the information with me when I am ready to call the pharmacy.
  8. Documents For An Appointment/Event – No need to carry miscellaneous papers with you to appointments. Carry them virtually in your photo roll. This is great way to carry invitations or directions to a special event right on your phone.
  9. Inventory or Physical Condition – Do you have a home inventory? Take pictures of all of your valuables in case of disaster. (Video can be even better.) Need to document the condition of something before you rent it? Take a picture in case there is a dispute later.
  10. Items You Need to Purchase – I keep photos of things like air filters, light bulb types, batteries, etc. filed in Evernote. When I need to purchase these items, I have the info with me. Having an actual picture, makes them easier to locate and identify.

Take A Picture

Using your smartphone camera to take pictures is a powerful way to increase your productivity.

Photos can save your time and effort.

I would love to see more todo apps that allow photos to be attached to tasks. (There are a few…)

Then next time you want to remember something, take a picture and you’ll have a great memory.

Whether it is of the family playing… or that todo that you need to do.

How do you use photos to improve your productivity?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I really love that tip of taking pictures of air filters and light bulbs. Why have I never thought of that?

    A very useful application for me is what you mentioned in your first point. When I work on computers or equipment, It’s very helpful to snap a quick pic of where all the cords and gadgets are plugged in. A visual reminder is much better when trying to put everything back. The more complicated a piece of equipment is, the more time you can save. It would probably take you literally 20 – 30 minutes to write down all the settings on a large soundboard before you start tweaking them.

    I think this can also be helpful on shopping trips. When I make a run to the store and my wife tries to explain to me what her favorite brand of this or that is, it’s just painful sometimes. A quick pic would be a great idea.

  • I really love that tip of taking pictures of air filters and light bulbs. Why have I never thought of that?

    A very useful application for me is what you mentioned in your first point. When I work on computers or equipment, It’s very helpful to snap a quick pic of where all the cords and gadgets are plugged in. A visual reminder is much better when trying to put everything back. The more complicated a piece of equipment is, the more time you can save. It would probably take you literally 20 – 30 minutes to write down all the settings on a large soundboard before you start tweaking them.

    I think this can also be helpful on shopping trips. When I make a run to the store and my wife tries to explain to me what her favorite brand of this or that is, it’s just painful sometimes. A quick pic would be a great idea.

  • aleciarrb

    @TMNinja Thanks for the tip about double-tapping the home button to activate the camera. I did not know that!!

  • aleciarrb

    @TMNinja Thanks for the tip about double-tapping the home button to activate the camera. I did not know that!!

  • LifeCellar

    Photos can also be used as evidence after a car accident! Especially if you’re trying to get an insurance claim @TMNinja

  • LifeCellar

    Photos can also be used as evidence after a car accident! Especially if you’re trying to get an insurance claim @TMNinja

  • LifeCellar

    Photos can also be used as evidence after a car accident! Especially if you’re trying to get an insurance claim @TMNinja

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  • DExWORKS

    @alyssaaldersley absolutely. make sure your camera’s insured for business use though – especially if with Legal and General (TheTimes today)

  • DExWORKS

    @alyssaaldersley absolutely. make sure your camera’s insured for business use though – especially if with Legal and General (TheTimes today)

  • DExWORKS

    @alyssaaldersley absolutely. make sure your camera’s insured for business use though – especially if with Legal and General (TheTimes today)

    • alyssaaldersley

      @DExWORKS Can’t find the article but no fancy equipment anyway, just my phone camera for capturing tasks, lists, docs etc. How’s things?

  • alyssaaldersley

    @DExWORKS Can’t find the article but no fancy equipment anyway, just my phone camera for capturing tasks, lists, docs etc. How’s things?