In week one of Operation Clean Slate, you compiled a list of the projects from 2011 that you are behind on. Then you picked one to work on completing before 2011 is over. And you started work by gathering all your supplies together.
But there’s a hitch in the plan. One you probably don’t realize is there.
Why haven’t you finished this project already? I’ll bet in the time you’ve been working on your Operation Clean Slate project (whatever it is) you’ve finished many other things. So why haven’t you completed this project?
We’re going to figure out why.
Take a good hard look at your project. So what is holding you back? Are you short on content? Are you trying to force yourself to work with supplies that aren’t right for you? Are you pushing yourself to do complex techniques that you really don’t want to do? Once you figure out what the road blocks are, you can figure out how to get around them! (Because doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is, after all, the definition of insanity – right?)
Here’s what I realized was holding me back on my project…and how I solved it.
My 2011 Project Life album is my Operation Clean Slate project. I started out the year with great intentions – but then fell behind very quickly. I’ve sat down this week and tried to identify my road blocks in the project – and it turned out that process dovetailed nicely with the “gather your supplies” part of step 1.
The first road block I realized is holding me back is that I don’t have enough pictures to use Project Life the way it is designed – one two page layout per week. That was making me procrastinate about working on it because I really didn’t know what to do about that. Already when I started I had realized that I take pictures in spurts so I had given myself “permission” to do four layouts a month but not do them weekly. Instead I decided I’d do some that were event oriented and some that covered a time period.
But then as the year went on I quickly realized that even that flexibility wasn’t going to work for some months. In some months I’ve taken less than 50 photos! And I don’t really have memorabilia collected to fill space with since I’m not good at collecting memorabilia from day to day life. Procrastination on my Project Life set in because I really didn’t know how to deal with this problem of too much space and too little content. I’m going to have to solve that issue if I actually want to start to progress now on my Project Life.
Once I realized that was an important part of what was holding me back, I spent some time this past week going over the completed part of my album and the photos in my Lightroom catalog. And I came to an important conclusion: I would rather have a few completed pages in my album than pressure myself to do a lot and end up with none.
So I’ve given myself permission to do as many or as few pages as I need for the photos that I have and want to use. If that means that a month only gets a single spread, then fine. If that means it gets six…then it will get six. I will no longer tie myself to artificial goals of how many I “should” have for a month. If my binder ends up half empty, then maybe I’ll start using it for Project Life 2012 as well and just put more than a single year in it.
I’ve also decided, to help solve this problem, that filler is not a bad thing. I’ve given myself permission to fill empty slots with decorative blocks of patterned paper, stamps, and embellishments if I don’t have enough photos, journaling, and memorabilia to fill the space. After all, it’s scrapbooking! What’s wrong with some decoration?
But this wasn’t my only problem. I also realized that it was taking me forever to print my photos because I was having trouble making them fit in the standard Project Life pages. I take a lot of vertical (portrait) images and the standard protectors in the 2011 kit are designed to highlight horizontal photos. The challenge of shoehorning my photos into that layout, and the slow pace of work that resulted, was discouraging me from progressing with the project. It wasn’t fun – it was a chore. So I procrastinated.
Fortunately, since I bought my kit, Becky Higgins has released a solution for frustrated Project Lifers like me: new configurations of page protectors! I’ve now got packages of the Design B, Design D, and Design F page protectors, that all feature vertical photos to various degrees:
Problem solved! Look what I’ve been able to do with them already…it was amazing how much easier this spread has been to put together since I didn’t have to make such hard decisions about the pictures.
This came together insanely fast compared to my earlier layouts. I’m so encouraged now that I can make progress on the album finally – all because I stepped back and figured out what the things were that were acting as obstacles to me in the project. And then I figured out how to remove those barriers.
So this week…take a look at your chosen project for Operation Clean Slate. Consider: Why wasn’t this done already? Something more than time was holding you back. What was it? Find that barrier…and then figure out how to dismantle it!