When I retired two years ago, I started a Project Life album...half-heartedly. I collected lots of every-day life stuff and photos. But I could never seem to get beyond that point. So, at best, I have about 3/4 of an album filled with stuff and assorted photos, primarily more of events rather than everyday life.
For a long time, I debated with myself about whether or not I was being redundant: I write in my journal nearly everyday and of course, there is this blog, which is, in many ways, a chronicle of my life stories, albeit, irregular (note to self: gotta get back on track with a regular schedule - for me - for my blog posts...). But, in really thinking about it, I concluded that neither a journal or this blog filled the bill as neatly as Project Life could and does: it is photos, stories, daily, weekly, whenever, however, can be chock full of all the stuff life is made of and the best part: it's tactile. So, I decided that in this, my seventieth year, 2012, I would resume Project Life on a regular basis. And since January 1, I've been assiduously keeping the contents of the album: photos, stuff, notes, the two-page-protectors that generally represent a week and an occasional special insert layout. I am really quite behind on transcribing my journaling and notes onto cards to include in the layouts.
Here it is week 15 into 2012 and this is what I have to offer in the way of advice about doing Project Life:
- Designate a special space for keeping the album and all the supplies readily available. I have an entire area of my desk in Studio B allocated.
- Leave the album out and open to the current week. At the beginning of the week, I mark the week's dates - Sun - Sat (for a while I was doing Mon-Sun but decided at the beginning of this month that I'd start my week on Sun). Using small sticky notes, I put day/date on each 4x6 photo slot. Sometimes, if the day's extra special, I jot a note or two on a sticky, noting also if I have a photo. I stick the stuff into the photo/journaling card slots. I keep a 12 x 12 page protector in between the two pocket photo pages for big/bulky items, such as a flyer, etc.
- Keep a diary/notes for each day. I use a special calendar/planner that stays right on the desk with the album. This planner is in addition to my daily journal pages and any notes I might make during the course of the day if I'm out.
- Be flexible; it's not necessary to have a photo + journal card for everyday. Somedays you'll have more and others, less.
- Process photos regularly. This includes both iPhone, iPad or other devices you may use plus your regular camera. I try to upload my photos at least every other day and when I'm reviewing them, I also tag Project Life and flag them. I sometimes print at home and sometimes, via Shutterfly and sometimes, I do both. Once the photos are printed, I put them in the slots - both the 3x4 and the 4x6...and here's a great tip: consider using more than one slot, either orientation (portrait or landscape) and size for a photo. Doing so adds diversity and opens up all sorts of layout possibilities. I generally print these type of photos, at home.
- Establish a routine/time to do Project Life. This is probably the biggest hurdle for me: having a set time to complete the week's documentation. I had initially thought I'd work on Project Life when I was doing my weekly planning and review (Sundays) but that's not working very well for me. So, now I'm leaning towards/thinking/trying to do Project Life several times during the week. I'm hoping that this schedule works better for me. We'll see.
I think doing Project Life can be overwhelming, primarily because we try to make more of it than intended. I am finding that keeping it simple, simple is in my best interest. Write (and/or type) the story: simple sentence/s. date.time. Take the photo, process and slide into a slot. Save the stuff (or not). Document a bit at a time. I guess like anything, inch by inch works best.
I introduced my niece - Kayla's mom - to Project Life and we plan to gather once a month to do Project Life. That promises to be fun. I think our first session will be next Sunday and my sister will also be here; hopefully we can add her voice, too. I hope it works out. I'll let you know!
I hope these tips are helpful and if you're considering doing Project Life, let me say, Go For It!
Now I'm off to buy a zipper for my altered book art journal class tomorrow. I know I have some somewhere but can't find ...