Now here’s the part where I offer up tips and tricks for you guys. Take them for what you will! ;)
There’s lots that’s worked for me this year and lots that hasn’t. If you’re going to tackle Project Life I encourage you to play around with it and get a feel for it. Some of what you try won’t work for you and your family. Other stuff will. Stuff that works for me may not work for you either! Change is always an option.
Case in point - At the beginning of the year I ran my weeks Sunday to Saturday. I switched over to Monday through Sunday halfway through the year. There was no grand transition. You wouldn’t even notice. Oddly enough it wasn’t the splitting up of my weekend that made me switch over… it was the fact that my planner at the time was Monday – Sunday and it made finding dates and planning extra work. The key for me was being flexible in making that transition mid-year.
What I need to work on: I need to make greater efforts to get my children involved in the inclusion of memorabilia. They’re at a good age where they’re taking photos on their ipods and I LOVE including their perspective in the book. They’re also really good at including notes and drawings. Where I lack is in having them include their writing and thoughts. I need to make a conscious effort to encourage more of that since that has not come on it’s own.
What has worked well: The location of my “Project Life Station”.
I changed it once and it just didn’t work. It’s essential for me to have that album out and open! So far my metal bucket for memorabilia has also worked out well. I wasn’t 100% sure that it’s smaller size wouldn’t be a hinderance, but since most of my ephemera goes into the little 3×4 pockets it’s working out great. Printing at home has also worked out spectacularly for me. I’m not sure I’d be able to make it work otherwise. I’m not disciplined enough.
Having some sort of printing aid has helped me out a lot. Knowing which pictures will likely go where lets me know what size to print and helps me maximize the space on my photo paper. Whether or not the actually format will change or not I don’t know. But planning before printing is key for me.
Printing out all my photos at one time is definately the way to go for me. That way I can kind of see my whole week at a glance and mentally fill up the slots that I have. I don’t think printing out daily would work for me because I wouldn’t be able to “see” it, if that makes sense?
Traveling with Project Life: This past Spring we took a holiday down to Florida. We planned for two weeks but we drove so we had to tack on an extra few days. I didn’t want to work on my project life while I was there, but I wanted to be organized enough that when I got back I could get those couple of weeks done and not be behind long. I also needed a way to curb the memorabilia (since I knew there’d be a ton).
The photos weren’t really a concern since I knew they’d be organized into their folders on the computer when I downloaded them.
To tackle the memorabilia I took along three plastic folders labels with the weeks dates. Bits and pieces were simply thrown into the right folder during our holiday. This way they were organized and ready to go when the time came.
I recorded our days one my iphone (using the note app). I’m looking forward to reevaluating this method of notetaking prior to our next trip. The solution may be as simple as slipping in my little Project Life weekly form into each envelope?
Finding the time: I think this is a question that a lot of people have when they think about tackling the project. Just where in the world will you carve out the time? Life is busy. But isn’t that why we’re trying to remember it in the first place? Because it goes by so fast? It’s a choice. If you want to do it you will find time.
During the week all I really think about is three things. Capturing moments with either my SLR or the camera on my phone, collecting and throwing bits of ephemera into a bucket and recording a little bit of our day on my planner (usually this happens right before bed).
On Saturday and Sunday I look back on the week (mentally) and decide whether or not I need to make a greater effort these next couple of days to take more photos. Often that’s a yes! :)
I try to do the bulk of my Project Life stuff on either Monday or Tuesday. I mentioned this over here. Any later than that and I risk the chance of putting it off too long and getting behind. I know me. If I get behind too many times I’ll find it super hard to catch back up. It usually takes me a total of 2-3 hours (including printing photos) to complete the week. Longer if my kids aren’t occupied! ;) You can read more about my process over here… but basically I just had to decide that I would be okay with finding a few hours every week to make this happen.
- consider changing the typical format if it’s not going to work for you. Is two pages too much? Then use just one side for each week.
- decorate some journaling cards ahead of time. Stamp on them, decorate them with paper, etc. Have a little bowl of punched shapes ready to add to journaling cards. Have them ready so all you have to do is write on them. Choose a color scheme you use often or stick to neutrals.
- be okay with your own handwriting. It is faster than typing.
- designate yourself a “Project Life Station”. A huge timesaver! Have supplies ready and at your fingertips. Be organized.
- streamline your editing. Crop your photos in camera so you don’t have to spend a lot of time with edits that aren’t necessary.
- be aware of little bits you can include that reflect your life (ephemera) and gather them continuously. Don’t wait till the last day of the week.
Balancing Project Life with layouts: If you read my blog on a regular basis you’ll know that I create layouts as well and compile my Project Life album. I choose to do both. I love scrapbooking. Love it. But it doesn’t cover everything. Even if I scrapbook 3 layouts a week (which I don’t! ha) that’s only 12 stories a month. Surely there’s more happening in our lives than just 12 things. I love that Project Life fills in those gaps. Those stories that weren’t “important” or large enough to include on a page but need to be remembered regardless. I would rather know what an “everyday” was like for my Grandma, rather than how she spent her birthday.
Balancing Project Life with December Daily: This is my first year of Project Life and therefore my first year of doing both that and the December Daily. I’m curious to see how it will work to do both. I don’t have a big grand plan. Before I started participating in Ali Edwards December Daily I took Shimelle‘s Journal your Christmas class. I’m thinking that what will end up happening is that Project Life will continue being about our “everyday” while my December Journal will focus more on the holidays… more of a journaling approach rather than a daily diary.
So there you go. A boat load of stuff. Some may help you, other stuff may not. It’s okay to fumble through it and change whatever you need to to make it work for you!
Whatever you want it to be is all that it needs to be!
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section and I’ll be sure to answer them!
So, that’s the bulk of my Project Life posts. I hope that it’s been helpful for some of you. It really is worth it! Be sure to come back tomorrow. I have something exciting to share!
Project life is a system created by Becky Higgins to help you simplify how you document life and preserve memories. You can find out more about Project Life here. You can find more of my Project Life posts here.