What to do when you are behind on Project Life

by Christin on October 2, 2012

The Mom Creative
If you are like me, you are a little (or a lot) behind on Project Life.

For me, I started to get behind this summer, when things got busy and we were traveling a lot. Then we moved and I started sliding more. (Here’s proof – the chaos of my new craft room is how life is right now!)

I have never stuck with Project Life this long and I am determined to not just give up – even though I am seven weeks behind. {ack!} Instead, I am going to work diligently to get caught up over the course of the next few weeks.

Here are my 5 strategies to get on top of Project Life:

1. Carve out time to work on your photos: This is obviously the most important part. You gotta get on top of your photos. Download them. Organize them. Select your favorites for each week. Upload them and get them developed. And speaking of developing…

2. Develop multiple weeks all at once: This is huge. If you are behind, it is imperative that you develop many weeks all at once. You won’t get ahead if you just develop one or two weeks at a time. Last time I was behind, I developed 4 weeks all at once. Though I couldn’t get the layouts done all at once, having the photos helped me feel not so overwhelmed. My strategy is probably going to be take care of 4 weeks this week and then 4 weeks next week. (Because I am so behind, I plan to use my Epson printer only for printing oversized prints.)

3. Keep your layout plans simple: Some photos documented is better than no photos documented, so keep your layout plans simple. This will allow you to get your pages done faster. I plan my layouts as I figure out what photos to develop, which streamlines my developing process and makes inserting my photos in page protectors a snap once I get my photos.

4. Try to do multiple layouts at once: Like your photo developing, working on multiple layouts in one evening or weekend will help you to get caught up. The beauty of Project Life is that it doesn’t take long to do a weekly spread, so carve out the time to bang out several spreads at once. It might be a late night, but you will be so happy you spent the time.

5. Don’t stress: At the end of the day, Project Life is not meant to be stressful. So just go with where you are and don’t get overwhelmed. The process can still be fun – even if you are working on August photos in October. {ahem}

What tips would you add to this list? And if you are on top of things, I hope you will link up below!

Also, be sure you check out Becky Higgins’ blog this week for her week-long Project Life birthday celebration. :)

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica B October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

I seem to always be a couple months behind. I think the what seems to work best for me is to break everything up into little chunks of time. But, I try to keep it to an hour long. It seems to work the best for me.


eek! October 2, 2012 at 10:24 am

Great post. I think the best way to get things done when you fall behind is keep things simple – slip photos and journaling in the pockets and you’re done! Also, it doesn’t have to be weekly – biweekly or monthly can be more doable for some people.

Thanks for having a place to share – this definitely motivates me to keep up!


shelly brewer October 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

I just finished a huge catch up project. I was a couple months behind, but slow and steady, I’m now all caught up! Your tips are fantastic. I did what I called the catch up dance. When I found some time to work on PL, I would flip back and forth through half done pages and only do the parts that “spoke” to me. If I didn’t want to work on a certain page or pocket, I didn’t force myself. I knew there was plenty to do! So I focused on what I liked at the moment until the whole thing was done.
Don’t stress is the best advice though. Don’t worry about making it perfect, just focus on getting it done! It’s so worth it!


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I love that you worked on what spoke to you. Very cool.


Nicole October 2, 2012 at 10:41 am

I’m behind a bit as well, and just looked through what I’ve accomplished so far to try to respark the flame. Although it’s completely designed to not be stressful, it does take some ‘figuring out’ along the way. I also can’t help but incorporate traditional scrapbook pages where I feel they should be, so, it takes a little more planning. I couldn’t imagine not traditionally scrapbooking ever again, but, didn’t like the concept of having two books, so, I’m determined to make them work beautifully together.
All that said, I LOVE your pages and look forward to seeing them all of the time.


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Yes, when I look at my pages from the past year, I am so inspired! We can do it! :)


Amy L October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

I was doing REALLY well until mid-June. What I have decided is that for July, August, and September, I’m going to do a monthly spread instead of the week-by-week approach. I think I’ll include some inserts, but it makes it seem more doable to me. And while my OCD-ness makes me cringe that I’m not doing week-by-week consistently, I realize that the important part is that the moments are recorded…and the beauty of PL is that it IS so flexible.


Jessica Kelley October 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Amy L said it first: monthly spreads! That’s what I’ve been doing this whole year, and I’m able to capture both the big events and bits of life on a month-by-month basis. And it’s not so hard to stay on top of it. I finished August last week, just in time to print my September photos! Photographing and blogging about it, I haven’t done since March, but that’s okay!


Cami October 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I’ve just finally got caught up, but haven’t posted because I’m on a month of blog silence for the purpose on getting caught up on a variety of areas in my life. I love what you said about multiple layouts at the same time. I have to force myself to settle for less than perfection, so that I have it done. It’s more important to me that they are done and the photos in an enjoyable/accessible format (printed), than every layout being a masterpiece.


KristineV October 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Thank you so much for this post! I really needed to read this… I’m about 4 weeks behind and feeling that stress flutter when I think about it. Your message was so calming and action-oriented—I’m going to work on it tonight and get caught up!


libbywilko October 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Great tips Jessica, thank you .


Rebecca October 2, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Don’t stress! I actually like to do a month at a time. I keep up with pictures and slipping “real life bits” into the front of my binder with the date written on them and then find a Friday night (exciting I know) and work through the month – when I’ve got the whole month pics I feel I can better decide how much I want to include each week – if I’ve got a huge week with extra inserts I don’t feel bad the next week is “light”.


Vp Ahmed October 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Really helpful. Thank you, Jessica


Cerise October 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm

I’m currently working on week 6…so I’m WAY behind, but my goal is 2 weeks at time…and hopefully I’ll get there one day. Not stressing about it, just enjoying it.


Lindsay October 2, 2012 at 11:30 pm

I usually put photos in my album about once a month. This is what I do to keep my weekly layouts organized:
1. On Sundays, I download pics to my computer, upload the keepers, order the prints and back up my hard drive.
2. During the week or on Sundays I write my journaling cards.
3. I put each week’s journaling cards, misc. items and pics in a photo envelope (I love the ones from costco becuase they are large enough to fit everything) labeled with the week #.
That’s it. It is pretty much ready to go when I have time to put it all in the album. I love PL!


Deb October 2, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Cerise, do not fret. I finished week 7 a few weeks ago, planned out the next three weeks…. and then did nothing. I know I’ll catch – it’s not so hard because I’ve been documenting all along with Memento, the app on my phone, but I still have to carve out the time. 30 minutes to collect photos, 20 minutes to crop a few, another 20 minutes to adjust the color on a few…. it’s a step-by-step process, just like anything else, but I enjoy it when I week is done.


Jess October 3, 2012 at 12:22 am

My project life stuff only arrived last month so I am way behind. A whole year to catch up on. Argh!!!! 😊 Love you tips. I will be putting some into practice. 😊


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Maybe start right where you are? Don’t be overwhelmed. And I love the folks who suggest doing monthly layouts. Anything is better than nothing. :)


shelly October 3, 2012 at 4:54 am

I’m new to your “Project Life” and was wondering if everyone uses the same type of album. I noticed many of them are similar . . . the pocket slip-in type. I love scrapbooking and the motivation you have going here, but I do mostly digital pages and was wondering if it’s still OK to link up. Thanks.


Cyndi M October 3, 2012 at 6:48 am

I let my Project Life album get behind during the summer and I blogged this same topic back in August.
In my agenda that I keep in my purse (little calendar from Michaels) I jot down what I did every day and make notes for journaling purposes. When I get a couple weeks worth of journaling to do, I pull out my cards and journal a bunch of days and put them into the album prior to the pictures.
I always print a couple weeks worth of photos each time I print (to stay within our household budget) and slide them in with the journal cards that are already done.

See the bottom of this post with all the journaling cards I completed ahead of time:


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I always have great intentions of little notebooks and keeping up with journaling, but I also fail at it! :)


Kim Ket. October 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

Though I don’t like being so behind, i have to admit, I just finished the month of March over the weekend. I too am not stressed, because I use Momento, an app on my iphone where I can post info about each day (or as few days as I want). It also includes feeds from Facebook and Instagram. Without it, I would have given up already!


Jan C. October 3, 2012 at 8:04 am

@Cerise, you and I are in the same boat. I think I’m on Week 6, too, lol.


Karen R October 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

Hi, I just started project. I am 8 months behind before I even start. How do you do the journaling when you are so far behind?


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 9:15 am

Perhaps start with October, instead of eight months ago?


Pam K October 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

Keep in mind that if you fall behind in taking pictures (say, you find that there are
a few days where you don’t have pictures), take some “fillers,” pictures that are great to have but that can be taken anytime (i.e., the outside of your home, a few pictures of the town you live in, especially if there is construction going on or some other type of change, the inside of your fridge, or one of my favorites, a picture of everyone’s bedside table, etc.). These pictures are great fillers!


Veronica October 3, 2012 at 9:02 am

Inusually do most of the year in one month. The journalling is done, the photos taken. I then out the two together when I have a break from school or a crop to attend. My life is too busy to carve out weekly time.


Heather Ferguson October 3, 2012 at 10:02 am

I completely agree with you. I was 8 weeks behind as of last week, and I caught up on all of that in one day. I printed all of my photos last weekend and got them into my pages, and then on Saturday, I spent about 5 hours journaling. My pages are very simple compared to other phases of my album, but they are DONE! Also, I ended up combining a few weeks here and there when I didn’t have as many photos as I thought I did, but I’m okay with that. I’d much rather have 2 weeks combined than not be doing this project at all.


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Kudos to you!!


Melanie A. October 3, 2012 at 10:46 am

Which momento do you guys use, the free one or the one that allows you to import feeds from tritter, facebook etc. ?


Ashley N Newell October 3, 2012 at 11:07 am

I don’t know if anyone else has had this problem but when I click the first link on the link up, it took to me to blog but then without clicking on anything it redirected me to a porn gallery. I’m just glad my kids weren’t around because Project Life is something I let them look at with me.


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 12:35 pm

You might check if you have some malware/a virus on your computer. I am not having any trouble with the link-up links. So sorry that happened to you.


Ashley N Newell October 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I’m on a MAC so there’s no virus. I don’t know what happened. It was just alarming and I’m not clicking back over there to research it.


jessicaturner October 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I’m on a mac too. So odd. Sorry again.


Ashley N Newell October 3, 2012 at 4:35 pm

No prob! It’s just the first time something like this has happened to me. Maybe I clicked something on the site without realizing.

Jessica B October 3, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Actually, I have clicked through just about everyone’s now and the same thing happened to me on the very first blog. The rest all seem to be fine. Mine blocked the site and said there was something wrong with it.


Jenni October 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I’ve been catching up too. Mine was pretty much the last few weeks of August and most of September. Actually, Week 33 was the problem, I had too many pictures and I couldn’t figure out what to do so I ended up floundering. Finally I just skipped it and went to Week 34, then once I was out of my rut, I went back and figured out Week 33. I’m finally up to Week 37 now! I know it doesn’t seem like THAT far behind, but I was doing so well for most of the year and then I was suddenly four weeks behind! Now I only have two weeks to do before I’m up to the current week (I think).


Teresa October 4, 2012 at 8:37 am

Yes, I agree. Great post with great ideas. I just started PL and I have only started to catch up from last year. My weekly spreads will start 2 weeks ago. Everything up to that point are idifferent days such as our Zoo visit 1 year ago where I used a weekly spread for one day and I loved how it turned out!


Teresa October 4, 2012 at 8:41 am

Oh, and I add big 12×12 layouts from my favorite Fotos…I also added one small pocket in between 12×12 2 page spreads to add the extra photos. :) so many ideas!


Wende October 5, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Honestly, I’m so far behind that I don’t even know how much I’m behind…sad but true. Strangely i am not worried about it because whenever I have been behind before, it doesn’t take a few sit downs with my album to get it back again. It might take a little bit more than that this year but I know this year has been quite a trial for me. I was willing to risk being behind on PL over failing my classes at school so I chose school first. Being apart from most of my PL stuff for the past few months and having it packed up where I can’t get to it after school was done was another big hurdle. Tomorrow is when I will be reunited with my albums again so I am going to have a PL party these next few weeks and get some serious progress done. Sorry for the novel. Thanks for posting about this!


jessicaturner October 8, 2012 at 10:54 am

I hear you. This has been a challenging year for us too. I was diligent this week and got three weeks done. A few more weeks of diligence and I should be in a good place. :) Prayers for you during this busy season!


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