It’s Thanksgiving week and so this week is a great reminder of the chaos of life that made us fall behind on our projects in the first place. Ramping up for holiday activities may also be making you ask yourself: “What made me think I can finish anything this time of year?”
Week 3 of Operation Clean Slate is here to help! The trick of week 3 of Operation Clean Slate is to simplify and modify your project to get it to completion.
When we originally started out on our projects, we probably had big complicated plans in our heads. We imagined every detail completed to perfection. We were dreaming big! We’re artists, after all, right?
But I’m here to say that perfection and complexity are not always a good thing, especially if they keep you from completing a project. Which would you rather have – a half completed pile of complicated perfection, or something special that is completed? If you said the completed project, then you are on board with week 3 of Operation Clean Slate!
The first thing to consider altering to move toward completion faster is the scope and design of the project’s concept. Can you reduce the physical size of the project – fewer pages, for instance? Can you scale back the number of photos that you intend to use, or their physical size? Anything you can minimize in size and number will make the journey to completion faster.
In my Project Life album, I am doing this by giving myself permission to not have to do a page every week like the kit is designed for. For a wedding album, the solution might be to use a series of highlight pages instead of a full layout of every single “event” (first dance, first kiss, etc) from the wedding. For a vacation album, perhaps a single highlight page (or double page layout) for each day, interspersed with a couple layouts that pay special attention to favorite moments from that day.
In other words…be realistic about what you can accomplish as far as volume and tailor the project to that, instead of setting yourself up for failure with a massive unrealistic project scope.
Once you’ve scaled down the size of the project, take a look at how ambitious your design plans are and see if you can simplify them. This doesn’t mean that you have to abandon your signature style and go with a simple style, however, if that isn’t your thing. Instead, look for hidden ways that you’ve made the project more difficult for yourself – by planning to use stamping techniques that require multiple steps or drying time, or hand cutting design elements, or hand stitching designs.
Instead, try to rely on basic tools and techniques such as pre-made embellishments, a quick stamp and heat emboss, your sewing machine or a Sew Easy tool for quick stitching, die cutting from patterned papers, or inking edges. Remember that the longer you spend on a single element, the harder that it will be get to get your entire project done. It doesn’t have to look like it was fast to do – as long as it was!
I’m simplifying my Project Life album by cutting back several things I am doing. I’m limiting the use of photo overlays, which require opening my photo in Photoshop Elements and then exporting it for printing after applying the overlay – way more time consuming than just doing a straight print of a photo. I’m also scaling back my plans for creating embellishment blocks for the album to fill in where I don’t have enough photos. I plan to use much simpler blocks of patterned paper, with a few pre-made embellishments, instead of the complicated stamping techniques that I had envisioned using. I also am going to use my collection of quote stamps as “quick fill” blocks on the Project Life grid design journaling cards – a quick stamp and I’m done!
Next week, I’ll be back to talk about streamlining production of the project you’re trying to complete as December rapidly approaches and our self-imposed completion deadline starts to seem closer!
So…how are you simplifying and modifying your project? Are you making progress towards completion?
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