Project Life: Try This Super Easy Process

Project Life - Midstream

I’m finding Project Life to be the easiest thing ever. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to pick up my photos for last week’s spread, so I decided today to share some mid-week photos of my album, plus the process that I’m using that makes it easier than you can imagine!

Here’s what my pages looked like on Thursday, four days into my week:

Project Life - Midstream

Normally when the kids say or do something I want to remember, I’d scratch the story into a notebook or scratch paper and hope that someday it would get scrapbooked. Now I just take an extra minute to grab a journal card from my Project Life box and write it on a card.

I immediately stick journaling cards or ephemera into pockets. I don’t store then in any folder or special place to wait for everything at the end of the week. I think that’s unnecessary. I just pick a spot on my spread and stick it there without worrying what the overall spread is going to look like.

I’m finding that most of it can stay where it is, and if I need to move a thing or two when I add my photos in at the end, it’s no big deal. What does that take…five seconds?

Planning for Photos

When it’s time to print my photos, I open my book and look at my available spots. I add post-it notes to pockets with a name for the photo I think I’ll put there. This helps me plan for 3×4’s or verticals, and helps me decide how many photos I’ll use.

Mid-week Prep: Project life Wk 1

If you compare that to the final page, you can see that I made just a couple quick changes…

Project Life Wk 1: 1/1-1/7

Midweek Prep: Project Life Wk 1

And here, an additional page of ephemera on the left…

Project Life Wk 1: 1/1-1/7

Hopefully that gives somebody an idea for how to keep the process fast and easy. I’ll be ready to share my spread for last week by Thursday!

  • I did the same thing with the post-it notes when I worked on last weeks spread.  all that’s left is to add my pictures!

  • Thank you for this post! I have a terrible habit of over thinking everything and the way you explained everything here just wiped that all away and makes me want to dig in a bit!

  • Debbie

    Great post. The post it notes as well as using your daily additions help to choose the photos to print for your story. That is also how I do mine. Showing it here will be very helpful for others who have not yet found an easy system. This project life is also so helpful in making us be more present in the present!
    Thank you for sharing.

  • yay!

  • Glad to help!! :)

  • KatieK.

    I do similar. Keep a good stash of post-it notes, pen, and cards by album as well in places around house. Learned the hard way about the benefit of  just put stuff in and work out later vs throwing stuff into a PL box and hope to dig through that at end of week. Which actually worked? The do-it-now of course. I also found a pile of 4×6 index cards that I use to write the photos I’ve taken that day or which ones I want in there and stick that in. Use those the same way you do Noelle. Stuff I want to use or add but maybe not on this weeks I’m just sticking in another page at front so it is captured. I collect the little peel off fruit labels and other misc product stuff so I stick that on card.

    Best add-on for PL: a trip to Staples for post-it notes, pen, pencil, and some index cards.

  • This is almost exactly how I work on my album!  I did a Project 365 in 2010 with one of Becky’s kits, and I learned that if I had the little journaling cards pre-placed in the slots, I was so much more likely to keep on top of writing them each day.  I used the kit straight out of the box (that’s when it came all in one box!), and I absolutely love the result.  My husband loves it, too!

    This year, I’m doing another Project 365– my daughter is 7 weeks old today, and I want this to be a combination family scrapbook and baby book.  But I don’t have a ton of time (remember, 7 week old baby!), plus I am attempting to mix it up a bit.  Even though I’m still using all Design A pages, I’m being more flexible about where the photos go (but I am still attempting a photo-a-day).  In December, when I got my page protectors and journaling cards, I spent an evening slipping the journaling cards into all the pockets for the whole year.  This way, I don’t have to think too hard about picking what card I want to use if I don’t have the time.  I take photos every day, but I don’t necessarily upload/edit them the same day… even though I keep in mind which one I will be using for my photo-of-the-day.  When I have the time (maybe every few days or so, hopefully), I process them in small batches and keep them in a special album in PSE until there are free prints or free shipping sales at Shutterfly to print them in big batches. 

    I’m also taking a page from your book (ha, no pun intended!), Noell, and I’ve arranged with my husband to have some exclusively “me-time” periodically during the week** so that I can sit down with my album and add extras– mix up the photo placement, add embellishments and tags, etc.  For right now, this gives me the scrapbooking fix that I need!  I’m so excited about this year’s album!

    **I’ve heard you talk on the podcast about how you have time daily(?) to sit down by yourself to work on your projects, and I think that is a fabulous idea!

  • Julie

    this is making it sound super easy….even tempting me alittle bit to join in on all the fun everyone is having…


  • It’s definitely fun and definitely can be simple, as long as you let it be simple. My favorite thing about it is how awesomely satisfying it is to have all this stuff already documented in albums and done. I LOVE that!!!
    I hope you jump in!!

  • I’m seeing Project Life everywhere and have been thinking about how it works. Even though I’m not buying the kit itself, I like the idea of the system. It’s like a modular framework for scrapbooking… breaking up a page into grid that can be filled in a number of ways.

    When I step back and think about it, ultimately it’s helping people develop their own system for scrapbooking. Areas are blocked off for titling, journaling, photos, etc… it got me to thinking about how we have to formulate our own systems for our own way of scrapping. 

    Wondering if you will be doing a Paperclipping episode about project life – or perhaps more generally about developing a system for your own scrapbooking? Many people suggest that we look at our own favorite layouts, to scraplift ourselves… or like how you use tried and true flexible templates…

  • My Flexible Templates are from me realizing that I have structures I use again and again. It’s always interesting to me to identify one of these structures, then to go back through my layouts and find those structures in so many layouts. I’d been aware of them to some degree, but not completely conscious of them until at some point when I’m scrapbooking I’ll suddenly think, “Hey, I’ve done this a million different ways…”

    As for your question about an episode — were you wondering about a Paperclipping Video Tutorial, or a Roundtable episode? I don’t plan to do a video specifically on Project Life, though I do plan to share some things I do for PL within a broader topic that can be used outside of PL.

    And I do think we’ll do an entire Roundtable episode on PL later in the year — right now I’m thinking about November, but who knows? Maybe we’ll do it earlier.

    I think the idea of a Roundtable episode on developing your own system for scrapbooking would be awesome. I’m going to add that to our list of topics.
    For a while now I’ve been developing a project — maybe a whole section on — that is dedicated to the idea of an overall system. I alluded to that it when in this post. So it’s definitely something that is top on my mind!

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Pearl Maple

    my daughter is a huge fan of project life and it is great to see everyone capturing memories in their own way
    off to CHA shortly and can’t wait to meet up with everyone

  • You’ll be there?! I’ll be with the guy with the huge camera! If you see us, please stop me and say hi so we can finally meet in person!!