Catching Up On Project Life

Earlier this week I posted the image above on my facebook page with the following message:

"Lots of holes to fill in #projectlife. Only 3 weeks behind."

I found that lots of you are in a similar place and many others are trucking right along.

As of this moment I'm still three weeks behind as this week proved to be a crazy combination of other projects being due, middle school tours, meetings, taxes and other stuff of life that kept getting in the way (you know, sleeping, eating, etc).

I loved this comment from Kelly Libby and totally thought it was worth posting:

"My new plan for Project life is to "not fall behind". If I miss a week, then I miss a week. If I miss 2 weeks, then I miss two weeks and just start up again when I can in the week I am in. A week here. A week there. Vacations in the mix. I'd rather document this way than feel SO much pressure to keep up AND be creative."

Even though I still want to approach mine weekly and will be taking time this weekend when the kids are with Chris to play catch-up, I think this is such an awesome freeing approach and totally makes sense for so many people.

Do you have a strategy for catching up?

I've got a few things stuck in pockets. My plan of attack is to open Aperture (my photo management program) and start printing photos. I may add more text directly to photos for these last couple of weeks as that's an easy way to get the story down. Planning to share updates next week.

Can you believe we are already 1/2 way through March?

61 thoughts

  1. Myriam

    2013-03-15 11:27:10 -0400

    Hey Ali,
    I started project life many years ago after having a baby and falling behind on filling even regular picture albums. I approached mine has a monthly documantation and went back through that year that had passed and choose rendom pictures. Everything does NOT need to be documented. I LOVE that first album because it offers a really cool glimpse into our year. The following albums were done in a more timely fashion... If I do it regurlarly the albums get HUGE. That's a problem! I hope to live a long life and not necessarly fill every room with albums!!! I scrapbook when I can and calls it a day. In 10 years, who cares what happened exactly on what week. What would be fun is have an album that shows a peek into that particular time..., much better than worrying about being behind and not enjoying the NOW. Thanks for writing inspiring posts..., your blog is one of my favorites!

  2. Cortney

    2013-03-15 11:37:43 -0400

    Last year I had lots of moments where I was scrambling to figure out what exactly happened. We had moved, and everything felt jumbled. By December, I thought I might not do PL this year (I was behind by 2 months, and couldn't even think about dec daily, which I love). So I let go of dec daily, caught up my PL to end of nov for 2012, and took a breath. Then I made a big list of what worked about PL and what didn't. I asked my family about it, and all 3 guys (2 boys, 1 husband) pronounced the project awesome and worthy. I made some changes (big & small) based on their enthusiasm for it. I bought a new camera that would help/inspire me to take better pictures. I stopped rounding corners. I kept with the same layout, though I had wanted to shift to the studio calico handbook size ( those were sold out and I didn't want to wait...and get behind!). I also tried to get the PL kit and was wait listed, which turned out to be a blessing as I made a bunch of my own PL cards that were so charmingly customized for US. And my biggest change: a nightly journal. I started on jan 1, recording the little snippets from our days, just a few sentences. I have never EVER kept a daily journal, and here it is march 15, and I'm still going! I still haven't finished up my 2012 book, but it's just the end of December waiting. I've stayed within a week or two current on this year's book, and it is all thanks to my trusty little journals.
    Thanks Ali & Katie, and all the people brave enough to post about your PLs online!

  3. Naomi Armenta

    2013-03-15 12:48:00 -0400

    I believe we pressure ourselves more than not and more times than we think, but life is what we make of it! Project life was made to simplify our life's, not create stress!

  4. Amber C

    2013-03-15 13:15:23 -0400

    Hi Ali,
    I know that you will get to it when you post the finished layout, but I'm really curious as to what alphabet stickers you used for Monday. I absolutely love them and can never find small ones that style in my local store, and I would order online, but I often misjudge the size of things when placing my order. Thanks

  5. Jennifer

    2013-03-15 13:28:14 -0400

    When I was finishing grad school I had a 2 year old and an almost 1 year old. I am now using PL to "get caught up" literally! In 2009 I have 3 photos for the whole month of January!!! Do I care? No. OUr life was CRAZY, but I have those 3 photos--eating dinner at a fave restaurant (I was in my 1st trimester and just starting to want food again) and coloring in the kitchen floor with my oldest. It was REAL LIFE. Some spreads are 2-3 weeks in one. The important thing is that the stories + photos are there for my girls--forever. I am creative, but what I love about PL is that I don't have to be. I have 3 kids 5 and under now and a full time career. This is what is real for me. It looks good and our memories are there to share forever. Using a printer that prints the photo dates on the back has been key. The photos typically jog the memory of that day, so I try not to stress about writing everything down either, I just enjoy the moments.

  6. KSW

    2013-03-15 13:29:31 -0400

    love the libby approach. no reason to live in the past. if you have the time and enjoy it - then fine. but otherwise carpe diem. If i kept up i might miss out! ;)

  7. Nancy

    2013-03-15 13:49:01 -0400

    All this talk of stress + PL would not make Becky (I say that like we're old friends!) happy. I'm doing a monthly spread and I'm using repetition - monthly title card, monthly Q & A, monthly goals and goal updates - which makes the project easy and stress free. The only stress I feel is to take good photos of the completed spread so I can blog about it. If I have a month, like "birthday month" when I have more to share I add in an 8-1/2"x11" page or even a 5"x7" page to document the extras.

  8. Jen

    2013-03-15 14:01:39 -0400

    To catch up...which I am severely behind I just print a bunch of picks and put them in. I generally add less embellishment and keep it more simple. When I get caught up I get to spend a bit more time on it. :)

  9. Mel

    2013-03-15 15:15:21 -0400

    Mine turned into monthly then quarterly pages. I am in Grad school...that's my excuse! ha ha Plus my family is tired of having their pictures taken!

  10. Kate Burroughs

    2013-03-15 15:25:30 -0400

    I am always 1-2 weeks behind because I choose to get my 4" x 6" prints made at Costco and have them mailed to me. There are no stores near me that print pictures with matte paper and Costco is a 2 hour drive away. But I keep a daily journal so I always have that to fall back on, for the highlights of any day. I started keeping a daily journal in 2010, the first year I did Project Life and now it is a daily habit, at the end of the day I write for 15-20 minutes. I try to write my journaling cards for each day once a week and make Post-It notes for what photo goes to what day. That process often makes me go take other photos when I know I have not taken them for several days. And I always try to take some pictures of the yard, when I am not taking photos of people/activities. I really like PL because when I have those pictures in the album, I am done scrapping those events. I do 2 albums per year (for each 6 months), the We R Memory Keepers leather 3-ring albums.

  11. tonya

    2013-03-15 15:44:35 -0400

    That's how I do my visual journaling already: I do it when I have something I want to capture. That means not every single day/week is represented, but some days/weeks have multiple pages. The weight of their presence (how much room they take up) is an additional factor that represents their WEIGHT in my life. My day-to-day still gets covered, but over the course of the year, just not specifically every single day. Mine is all digital, done in InDesign (with design help from Illustrator and Photoshop) with each year being printed/bound at when it's finished. So far, so good, with very little I'm-behind stress.

  12. Linda

    2013-03-15 16:34:09 -0400

    Last year was a crazy busy year in our lives. About three months in I quit worrying about weeks...and went with months instead. It took an enormous amount of pressure off my shoulders. There was that crazy month of May (isn't there a song in the musical "Camelot" that goes by that name?) We had a child graduating on the East Coast, another returning from deployment on the West Coast, and four wrapping up their school year smack dab in the middle of the country, in addition to throwing a bridal shower in Mobile, Alabama. Life hit insane!It all made it's way into our project life...not all in exactly the same order that it occurred...but, really who cares?!

  13. Suzanne

    2013-03-15 17:52:44 -0400

    I started out in January of 2012 with the intention of never letting myself fall behind in this project. This seemed easy enough to do since it was just a week at a time to stay on top of, but life got in the way. By September, I found myself 4.5 months behind :( The last thing I wanted to do at this point was throw in the towel. What I had accomplished up to this point was making me happy, so I stuck to it. I kept notes and ephemera in chronological order and just kept at it. It became a challenge to myself to get caught back up, and with life still marching on, more memories were adding up.

    I am happy to say that by years end, I had managed to get it all done...and I loved my results, too! This year, I am making a concerted effort to stay on track and up to date and so far, I have done that. I know that I could find myself back in last years predicament at any time, but the end results are SO worth the effort that it takes and I feel such a sense of accomplishment that I am already thinking of which core kit/album to use for 2014!

    I love Project Life!!!

  14. Glynis

    2013-03-15 17:58:19 -0400

    I stopped around April 2012 because I fell behind and was so overwhelmed with the weekly approach that I didn't finish. I look back and think I wish I had captured the stories even if I didn't have pictures. So for 2013 I sometimes do a week per spread...other times I do 2 or 3 weeks in 1 spread. It just depends on the week and how busy I am. All of Jan 2013 has 2 spreads. February has 3 spreads and March is getting 1 per week so far. I am happy with this approach. I will go back and finish 2012, I will print pictures for the month and put them in 1 spread. And that will be that.

  15. Kathleen M Smith

    2013-03-15 20:03:12 -0400

    I am 62. So let me add a little PERSPECTIVE for all the young mothers stressing out. There will always be a new way of memory keeping coming down the pike. Right now I am into PL and I love it. But I can guarantee you, in a few years there will be something else. Maybe even another medium of recording life altogether. (I'm envisioning 3D.) So my advice is to:
    1. take lots of photos
    2. keep them backed up and organized
    3. Journal the wow moments and keep an everyday calendar with notes.
    4. Work on the albums when you have time and it's fun.
    This is a hobby, not a life assignment. It should be fun and rewarding!

  16. Sue

    2013-03-15 21:08:20 -0400

    Such interesting information posted here. Since this is my first year this is all new to me. I quickly realized that I liked the mixed orientation and bought the page protectors to do this.Then, due to the wonder of digital cameras I usually take 2 shots-one in each direction so I have flexibility. I then just add filler cards or whatever else that I want to include and go. I will say the biggest help is to be able to print at home. I am very picky about what I print to help make it cost effective.

  17. Jenny

    2013-03-15 22:23:02 -0400

    I have decided to take my PL stuff to my son's soccer practice. The weather is crummy most of the year so I sit in my car I have 4 hours each week where I focus on only that. It is kinda tight, but it allows me to get a creative fix while watching my son.

  18. Kris

    2013-03-15 23:41:24 -0400

    I love your honesty and openness on this blog -- its truly refreshing.

  19. J3SS1C4

    2013-03-16 07:09:37 -0400

    I love this project, and I'm super keen to keep it to 52 weeks. I know the stuff of life can often interfere with it, but the way I see it, the busy weeks when I don't have time are often the weeks that I'd most love to have recorded because we have so much going on. I'm currently working on week 8 of the project, which is the week I went to Thailand with my family. I'm actually ok being a few weeks behind, because I keep a daily journal anyway, and also write what we do each day on a planner sheet and have the planning done for each spread, so catch up is easy. I say do what feels right for you... There are no rules for this, and I bet it would be quite freeing to miss weeks! My travel week is made up of 2 12x12 photos and a quote, because I know I'll document more elsewhere, and I'm pretty happy with that!

  20. Sharron Heys

    2013-03-16 08:43:47 -0400

    I actually don't care that I'm 5 weeks behind for 2013 and I'm 'retrospectively' still completing 2012 (when I do updates for this year!) All good…some weeks are "photo-light", some are "overload-mode". Again, don't care…PL is soooo flexible and easy that it just *fits* with life and my once-weekly (at least!) attempt to keep mine & kidlets "life-record" (alongside my Kikki-k notes) fairly up-to-date. Love/need/want to do this and really like this "no-pressure", individualised approach to memory-keeping. Go with the flow, I say!!!

  21. Kirsten Anderson

    2013-03-16 15:22:28 -0400

    I am caught up, but I started this year late, about six weeks behind and thought about just starting there. But I realized I had all the pictures and stories and (bonus) realized I had two weekends with absolutely nothing planned but the usual cleaning, laundry and such (I know, practically unheard of!). That allowed me to finish off those weeks that were just in bits and pieces. Since then, it's kind of like it's just flowed together really easily. I'm sure I'll fall behind again at some point, but I'm really inspired right now to keep this going.

  22. Angela

    2013-03-17 13:50:59 -0400

    This year I've been ordering prints online because I found that Walgreens just wasn't cutting it in the quality dept! Because of this I can tend to feel behind because I order photos every four weeks (still not sure I like this approach, btw)...but I try to sit down once a week and look over my photos, choose the ones I'd like to print, and get some of my journaling complete while it's still fresh on my mind. I just blogged about this exact thing this I"m doing a giveaway...check it out!

  23. Kristin Kottwitz

    2013-03-17 19:23:18 -0400

    I actually just started project life two weeks ago. so as of right now I am rather enjoying reading everyone elses. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  24. Jen

    2013-03-17 22:07:02 -0400

    Good post! Right now, I'm about a week behind due to life craziness. I do my PL digitally on StoryBook Creator (from Creative Memories). I type up my notes at the end of each day and either on the weekend after my Daughter goes to bed or on my Girl's Night on Tuesdays, I put the entire thing together.

    I'd love to do PL physically, but right now with a toddler, it's easier to do it digitally. I print them out locally and then put them into a binder and any inserts that I have will already be in the binder.

  25. tamara Dunkin

    2013-03-18 11:19:16 -0400

    i never feel "pressured" to get "caught up" on PL. that said, i don't like to skip a week here and there because the weeks i'm usually "behind" are the weeks with specials/extras (visitors, trips, LOTS of photos from special events at school or home, etc.) and those are the things i do NOT want to miss. that said, it's not time-consuming to get "caught up" on PL. i always start with photos. i print the ones i love. then i slip them into the pockets. sometimes i have to add extra pages to include all the photos - it's fine and still easy. after i fill in pockets with photos, i add fillers - note cards for the STORIES that fit the photos. simple "filler" cards, etc. i do tend to be "less creative" when i'm behind, but it all still gets documented and that's what's important to me. additionally, sometimes it takes a few different "sessions" for me to get "caught up." photos selected and printed one day. photos into the pockets another day. journaling/fillers another day (or two or three). i love that PL can be done in little increments (5 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour) here and there. i am fortunate enough to have a table/desk in the main living room so i can work on it a bit and then walk away to do something else but still leave my stuff on my table. but i can guarantee that i will (rather quickly) be "caught up" with my PL album. in reality, however, i could fall two months behind and STILL catch up in a matter of days. THAT'S what i love so much about PL!!!

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