It’s no secret that I am a champion procrastinator. I get distracted easily, and I frequently multi-task – which is another way of saying doing lots of things not very well. However I’ve always been deadline driven. At school I was the one who would waste half my study time drawing up study timetables and then cram at the last minute when I realised the exams were looming. I don’t think many life coaches would recommend this approach, but it seems to work for me. More or less. Just google “procrastination quotes” and you’ll see what the world thinks about procrastination. I don’t recommend procrastination as a lifestyle choice, and I never wake up in the morning and decide “Today I will procrastinate”. However, it just keeps happening.
< Just checking Instagram, back in a minute >
Anyway, what was I saying? Oh, right, procrastination.
I think what saves me from being completely useless is that I seem to respond well to deadlines. I get things done when they need to be done. I’m even sometimes ahead of schedule – but that’s only because I trick myself into thinking there’s an earlier deadline. I seem to need the pressure of a limited time frame to produce the level of concentration and dedication needed to complete tasks. While some people get anxious and therefore less effective as the time slips by, I become focussed and driven and do some of my best work.
My digi-scrapping tends to follow the same pattern. I do have lots of finished, printed projects, but I have LOTS of unfinished projects too. I just get so excited when I have new photos to scrapbook that I jump in and start the next project before the last one was finished. I will finish them all eventually, because there’s nothing better than seeing your books in hard copy and holding them in your hands. But sometimes when I even think about all that needs doing, I just have to go and make a cup of tea. So when I decided to try to finish my current project in time to order it and have it at Forever Live
< I’m back. Just had to check the score in the cricket >
As I was saying, when I decided to try to finish my current project in time to order it and have it at Forever Live I knew I would need to be a lot more organised and proactive than I usually am. Surprisingly, it’s working! Who knew that having a plan and sticking to task could be so effective? In case you are like me and struggle to complete projects I thought I would share what I have done and you might see something you can apply to your own scrapbook planning.
My project is about the Danube River cruise my husband Keith and I took in June with my Dad and his partner. It was only a week, so you would think there wouldn’t be that many photos, but we packed it in and saw lots every day. I blogged about it a couple of months ago, and I have stuck to my intentions of keeping the pages simple and sticking to limited fonts and art kits. But despite that it was a slow process. I needed a plan. The problem was, I had no idea how many pages I would need for this album, so I had no way of assessing my progress, or know whether getting it done in time for Forever Live was a realistic goal. So I had to act. Here is what I did.
- I wrote down a list of places we had been with a rough plan of which photos would go on each page.
- I went through my photos, day by day. I tagged them with each location. I deleted the bad, blurry and boring photos, and I gave 5 stars to the ones I planned to include in the album.
- I uploaded the 5 star images to my Forever account, for safekeeping. My photos are on my small laptop I use when I’m travelling, but I scrapbook usually on my desktop computer with its lovely big screens. So instead of transferring images from one computer to the other, I can access them in my Forever account from either computer.
- This is the key step. I planned out the whole album. I worked out (or guessed) how many pages I would need for each location, and added a text shape to each page with the name of that location. This works because
- I know how many pages I will need to complete per day to have a realistic chance of making my deadline.
- I can scrapbook pages out of order. Sometimes I just know a p2P challenge or Blueprint will be perfect for particular photos, so I’ll create that page. That’s OK, but after a while I end up with a bunch of somewhat random pages I need to organise. Not any more. Now I can go to that page in my project, complete my page, and then get back to where I was up to and continue without causing confusion.
- I can see my progress in a very tangible way.
- I have broken down a daunting big task (complete an album) into manageable small tasks (complete a double page spread)
- In my Forever account, my photos are arranged in albums. One album called “Danube Rive Cruise”, and inside that, an album for each town or city we visited. Having culled the photos on my laptop, I still end up with more than I’ll use in my album. So I then go through the photos in my Forever account. I know which pages I’m doing next, so I choose the photos from that place that I plan to use on the next double page spread and tag them with the tag “1111”. I use that tag because 1111 will always be at the top of the list, so when I import those images into Artisan, it’s quick and easy to find just the ones I want. No need for scrolling through tiny thumbnails trying to remember which photos I needed for that layout.
- I open the page in Artisan that I’m ready to work on, and pull the photos tagged 1111 directly into the photo panel from my Forever account. I only bring in enough pages for one double page spread at a time.
- When that page is finished I share it to my Forever account, and I usually also save it as a jpeg to share to Facebook.
- I remove the 1111 tag from those photos and then repeat steps 5-7 for the next topic.
This is what my album looked like on August 21, when I took this screenshot. Around the halfway mark. You can see the labels on the blank pages, and also some notes I left for myself on a few unfinished pages. There are a few blanks pages at the end – the beauty of this system is its flexibility. I can easily squeeze in an extra page here and there if I need to, and the blanks are easy to remove if I don’t need them.
I’m liking this system so much I’m going to use it from now on. To be honest I’m not sure I will get this book done in time, between working full time, having visitors from overseas and planning to travel to the US myself, but I’m going to give it my best shot. And if I don’t make it, that’s fine, because I will finish it soon after I get back, and a finished album is the main goal.
If you see me at Forever Live, say hi! Ask me to show you my completed, printed album.