How to happily cope with being “behind” in Project Life

Hi guys! Kinjal here again. This month we’re talking about creating joy on the Forever Joy blog, and filling your bucket. I’m going to admit something to you, a secret between just you and me.
Ready?  Every year since 2012, I’ve committed to doing a certain well-known weekly 2-page pocket scrapbooking project. I’ve succeeded…Once. 

That was in 2014. I committed this year again because not only did the designing and recording of the memories brought me so much joy, but the end result was just awesome. But even after that win, we’re already in Week 6 of the new year, and my energy and enthusiasm after completing the 2014 project has waned.  Don’t get me wrong, I love scrapbooking, but not all the time. Gasp. If you’ve stopped reading, I don’t blame you!

Some weeks, I just don’t feel that love or the mojo, and generally it starts around about now, once all the energy and motivation from January has run out.. Also, life starts to pick up – January is over, a pay-cheque has come through after Christmas, in my part of the world Chinese New Year is gearing up and everyone is back to school, work and starting to go out more. We’re actually getting out of the house a lot more which can only be a good thing right?

So guess what? I’m “behind”.  And it’s so easy to feel caught up in that guilt, in that worry, in all the pages and forum threads about being “behind”. We can get lost in feeling sad that we’re not doing our jobs as memory keepers. But I also know that when I’m in the right place in my head, I adore this hobby and the joy it brings me and it should never feel like a chore or something to be worried about. This year, I’m not feeling bad about not being up to date, because I’ve been weeks “behind” in 2014, and my book still got done. It’s okay!

So today, I wanted to share some tips I learnt from completing last years project, and how I am applying them to 2015 to help keep my bucket more full! Maybe you can use some of them to keep your energy going throughout the year!

Tip 1- Because it’s the most important – Forgive yourself for being “behind”:

Let’s start with the no guilt thing – This year, we are not going to feel guilty about being a few weeks or months or years out of date with our scrapbooking. See what I did there? You’re not “behind”, that just implies there’s a race. “Out of date” sounds a lot more fun. So what if you’re out of date, isn’t that what being retro is about?
On a more serious note, any page done is good progress. And done is better than perfect. I promise you, your family will be happy with any number of pages you complete. *You* need to be happy with getting any number of pages finished. Who cares if you do 2 pages each week, or 20 pages in a 4 day spurt (I had a whale of a time when I did that last year!) In the spirit of a famous film from 2013 – LET IT GOOO. But…

Tip 2 – Know your minimum actions: 

You owe your Future Self at least a minute of your time, and this tip translates slightly different for each of us. What actions must you absolutely do, to be able to come back to this project later? What will make you happy to revisit it?  What will annoy you if you don’t have it and lead you not to complete it? What will make you think Past You was the best person ever? For me I need to have:
1. A folder for each week of the year. (I set this up at the beginning of the year)
2. Photos must be on my hard drive in the monthly folder by the end of the month.Note: These actions have to be the absolute minimum. And they need to be so easy so that you can do them, even when you *really* don’t have time or want to. I didn’t say sorted, or chosen, or edited or culled. My photos just have to be present on my laptop so when I want to pick them I can.. For my folder setup, I have “Project Life” – “2015” – “Quarter 1”:
Under Quarter 2, I have the next 14 weeks. There’s nothing particularly rocket sciencey about this, I know, but I find it really helps. You just click “New Folder” a bunch of times, click “F2”, and then can use “Tab” to quickly scroll to the next folder to rename it. If you copy “Week”, you can paste it in, only needing to add in the numbers. You can add dates in if you’d like,  I generally use to help with this, but don’t add it into my folder structure.

Tip 3 – Figure out a base template:

Pocket scrapbooking generally follows a set template called “Design A” based off Becky’ Higgin’s Project Life version of pocket scrapbooking. In a way, they’ve done consistency for you, all you need to do is figure out what template you want to use. Remember, you’re only setting yourself up for the difficult days, if you get really inspired, there is nothing stopping you from using a different template but this is for those weeks where you really just need the page to be done so you can move onto something else. Here’s the template I use. I’ve used it for the last 56 weekly spreads:

Tip 4 – Have some repeating elements:

I have three repeating elements you can see above; The weekly circle, the lyrical card,  and my Week in Review area. Not only does this help in taking up space so you need to make less decisions, they also unify the finished project. You can pick any elements to repeat. Maybe you want to use a specific journal card prompt each month? Maybe the bottom right photo will always be a photo of your husband, or of your child in the same chair to chart his growth. Repeating elements also really help when you’re stuck for ideas of how to fill up the page.
See what I mean? They don’t deviate focus from the rest of the page, but that’s three less things you need to worry about which can only be a good thing!

Tip 5 – Use 1 kit:

If you’re like me, you have hundreds of scrapbooking kits vying for your attention, and you want to use a bit of each of them, But if you’re in a funk and need to get something done, or just want to let your photos shine, use just one kit. It will limit your choices and really help in bringing the page together as well as speeding you up. You don’t need to worry really about matching your photos with the kit because the kit will be consistent across the pockety bits, and your photos will do the rest. For my Week 2 layout, I used Mixed Tape by ForeverJoy Designs. I absolutely love this kit, the colours are just delightful! You can find it at the Lilypad:

Tip 6 – Use 3 fonts (max.):
And my last tip is to limit your font choices to only 3. Why 3? Well this way you can have a handwriting, an emphasis and a basic type, for getting those consistent review cards down!
Does it bother me that there’s still 4 more weeks to complete? Not even a tiny bit – See tip1! I really hope the above tips help you set up a system you can use the whole year through, keeping that joy alive for the scrapbooking throughout. If you have any more tips on how we can let go of our guilt in being “behind”, or how you keep your motivation going, please let me know in your comments!

what joy will you create today?


  1. I so needed this! I've only completed a year ONCE out of the last three years. Yet, I love being able to go back and see what happened in the last year, so I keep trying. I tell myself that capturing at least some of my year is better than nothing at all. Thank you for reminding me to let go of the guilt! 🙂

  2. isn't it true that the finished product (or kinda-finished lol!) is what keeps you going?! but really- we have to keep it fun! that's why i love reading posts like kinjal's- they keep me happily on track!

  3. isn't it true that the finished product (or kinda-finished lol!) is what keeps you going?! but really- we have to keep it fun! that's why i love reading posts like kinjal's- they keep me happily on track!

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