As another year comes to a close, it is time to prepare for the new year. For many of us that will include plans for a Project Life album.
If you are thinking about starting a Project Life album to document the new year or have started one in the past but didn't get past the first month, this list of tips is for you.
Even if you never "complete" a full album from January to December, like me, you will document more memories & stories than you ever thought possible.
Before I begin, it is important to remember that the purpose of this article is to simplify your Project Life process so that you can stay caught up. It may not be the ideal way you want to do Project Life but you will stay caught up and your memories will be documented.
I am also assuming that you are doing Project Life on a weekly timeline. If you are using a different time schedule, adjust these tips accordingly.
As I always like to say DONE is better than PERFECT! So, keep that in mind as you read my tips.
1) Upload your photos once a week, but EVERY week on the same day if at all possible.
2) Print all your photos in 4x6 format. This will cut down on time in photoshop or other photo editing software. You will not waste time resizing your photos. If you want to put photos in the 3x4 pockets, trim your 4x6 photo down to fit. This means you may not be able to use that vertical photo that fills the frame, but that is OK.
Save it for a scrapbook page, a frame or you can do as I do and let it peek up over the top of your page protector.
3) Narrow down the photos for your book to 7-10 each week. Be ruthless! Which photo tells the best or most important story?
4) Print your photos the most "brainless" way possible. If that is printing them at home, do that. For me, it is getting them printed at Costco. I use the Costco plug-in for Lightroom and after my photos for the week are selected, I click publish and my photos are automatically uploaded to Costco. I visit Costco.com, place my order and pick up the next time I am in the area. I can also have the mailed to my house-free shipping for members. BRAINLESS!
5) If you have memorabilia you want to include, put it into your album immediately - tuck it in the pocket that corresponds with that day or week. Don't throw it in a file folder or a drawer. You won't need to look for it when it is time to sit down and work on your spread for the week. It will be there waiting for you.
6) Create a basket or tool box full of just your project life supplies. Limit yourself to your core kit, 2 packages of letter stickers (one large and one small), 1 package of labels and 2 packages of stickers or embellishments. By limiting your supplies, you will cut down on the time it takes you to make supply choices.
7) Use only one page protector design. Choose between Design A & Design D and use that one through your entire book. This will reduce decision making and will save you time.
8) Use the same photo orientation (horiz or vert) throughout your entire album. If you are using Design A, always take horizontal pictures (you can still take a vertical photo, but make sure you take a horizontal photo as well so you can use that in your PL album). If you are using Design D, make sure you always take a vertical photo for the same reason.
[BONUS TIP: It is good practice in photography, to make yourself take both directions. This challenges your to think of more creative ways to get the same shot and you may end up with a beautiful shot you would not have considered without this little exercise (just a little bonus photography tip for you)!]
If you have chose Design A and you have a darling vertical photo you'd like to use, see if you can crop it to 4x4 (with your scissors or paper trimmer) and adhere it to a journaling card or filler card and use it in one of your 4x6 photo pockets.
9) Write your journaling directly on your photos. Use American Crafts Slick Writers (or other pens that will write on slick surfaces and are photo safe) in different thicknesses. Write your journaling directly on your photos. This adds interest and saves time. And saves space. Of course you don't ahve to do this every time. Mixing up the thicknesses of your pens adds interest to your journaling cards. This saves you time but doesn't sacrifice visual variety.
10) Give yourself a realistic time limit when working on your album each week. Force yourself to complete your spread within that time limit. Set a timer. Trust your creative choices and go for it. Keeping in mind our main goal is completion not perfection or beauty.
Using this strategy you will have a ton of memories from each week documented. If you then want to add more photos and/or get fancy, you can spend extra time each week or go back later and add extra inserts with extra photos and memorabilia.
But if you are already having trouble keeping up, the trick is to focus on these tips and only these tips. Don't get distracted by extra supplies, more photos, extra inserts, etc, etc, etc. Remember DONE is better and more important than PERFECT!
The better you get at this simple process, the faster you will get and over time you will find yourself with a little extra time here and there to add in some extra creativity if you want.
That said, years down the road, the only thing that will matter is the words and the photos. And I would even argue the WORDS will matter most. The photos will likely be available in boxes or on computers or hard drives or internet servers, but the words those are the most important.
Prioritize. Get the most important stuff done first and then when you have some extra time play around.
If this routine seems too restrictive for you, consider relaxing your expectations. Maybe you only want to document your life monthly. Maybe you want to document as you go and relieve yourself from any restrictions at all. Simply insert a photo and add a journaling card to explain it. Don't worry about formatting your album in a weekly or monthly way.
What is your priority? What is your purpose in doing Project Life? Get clear and realistic.
For me, the top priority is storing my photos and memorabilia together. Second is telling the story or documenting a memory. My third priority is expressing my creativity.
Are your priorities different than mine? Let me know in the comments!
Check back soon for a wrap up of my favorite & most popular Project Life posts.
PROJECT LIFE on PINTEREST
Follow my Pinterest boards for lots of inspiration:
Do you have a Project Life board on PINTEREST? If so, leave me a link to your board in the comments because I love finding more friends to share inspriation. If you'd like to check out my Project Life board, go here.
Project Life Freebies on PINTEREST
And here's a link to my PROJECT LIFE FREEBIES board as well.
What are your plans for Project Life in 2015?