How to let go of feeling behind

by | Productivity Advice, Scrapbooking Tutorials | 6 comments

Yesterday a dear reader of mine sent me this note (edited for brevity):

I had always been able to keep up [with scrapping], but now I’m a full year behind. I really miss it, in addition to hating the feeling of being “behind”. Maybe I just need to try to let go of the feeling… So, how do other people have time to scrap?

I knew this was something I had to share with you, because we all feel this way sometime. I feel it too! That feeling is difficult to let go of unfortunately… especially when its tied to the endless stream of guilt we feel for all kinds of things as a mom, wife, daughter and friend (or dad, husband, son and friend). Fortunately though, I think there are some simple solutions to address this challenge.

1. Be Real
The first thing you have to do is think about what is a reasonable amount of scrapping for you. If I’ve had a good week w/o travel and I’m on top of things, that usually means there is time for one layout that week. If my schedule is wonky – that probably will result in no scrapping. It’s my reality and I’m OK with it.

2. Stop comparing
You cannot compare your scrapbooking skill or productivity to that of others. Everyone’s plate is full of different things and their sliver (or chunk) for scrapbooking will be different.

3. Don’t let go
It’s hard to change h0w we feel and a little less hard to change our reaction. Try taking the easier path. It’s not so much letting go of the feeling behind that is necessary, but changing your definition of caught up. Good enough is the new perfect, as they say!

4. Find shortcuts
You don’t have to give up on beautiful chronological scrapbooks if you get creative with your technique. Find shortcuts to make your desired end result a reality. Consider different projects that will help you feel caught up.

  • Can you do a two page spread with the 20 best photos of the last year on it?
  • Can you use quick pages or minimalist templates (like ones for photobooks)?
  • Can you simply print 4×6 photos and put them in the 8×8 or 12×12 photo pages?
  • Can you use photo overlays to journal directly on your pics?

Try this change of mindset and creative approach to help push the scrapbooker’s guilt away. If you can let go completely, that’s wonderful, but you can get pretty close without completely quelching the pull to catch up. Make “caught up” whatever you want and need it to be to stay a happy and healthy memory keeper!

Did you find this post helpful?

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  1. Katie

    I take a lot of pictures and do get behind. Now I only develop pictures right before I use them and now that I have PSE I can crop and make collages so that I can easily make pictures smaller and fit more on a LO. I also have resorted to using photobooks to catch up on entire seasons. It’s great to have done something, anything with my pictures. I save the really special pictures for traditonal pages.

  2. Linda Walton aka bobbysgirlforever

    Thank you Jennifer and dear reader for today’s “freeing” post!

    I have barely been able to make it to my computer for a few minutes this past month, let alone even think about scrapping or my beloved designing.

    While comparing is not an issue for me, consistency is and I just cannot seem to reel that one in at the moment and am learning to “let go” and to be content in knowing that another “season” of scrapping is around the corner for me when the time is right. LOL! However, even though I “know” this, I still long to be at my computer designing and scrapping “now”! πŸ˜€

    Have a FABULOUS weekend and I thank you for your continual and inspirational posts Jennifer!

  3. Samantha

    This is certainly something I see people struggle with on a daily basis (I work in a scrapbooking store).

    I used to battle with the same issues until I started looking at scrapbooking like any other hobby. Think of something like hiking. If you love hiking, you hike when you can, when the weather is nice, and you can find the time to do so… when the pieces fall into place. I don’t think hikers feel like they are ‘behind’ with their hiking or they can never catch up.

    I’m sure most people wish they could do their particular hobby more often, but really, who doesn’t? I would much rather scrapbook than do laundry, but it doesn’t always work out that way. πŸ™‚

    Just my $0.02.. πŸ˜€

  4. Joyagg

    Thank you so much for the post. It is SO hard for me to have the time and energy to scrap during the school year and then I get discouraged. Yesterday was the last day of school for me, so after I finish the house “to-do” list I am allowing myself the freedom to scrap all I want and not feel guilt about what didn’t get done through the school year. Thank you.

  5. Lee Ann

    I am currently scrapping photos that are 30 years old. (Obviously they were taken with film.) I am having a GREAT time reliving those memories and times. Who says we have to do it NOW?

  6. holly

    I used to be SO like you. And I’m still struggling with it. Technically, by these standards, I’m 5 years behind (GASP!). Does that mean that I haven’t scrapped anything in the last 5 years? NOPE. Does it mean that none of the photos I’ve taken since 2005 are scrapped? NOPE. Does it mean, I don’t scrap as often as I’d like? YES πŸ™‚

    If you don’t know about Stacy Julian and her mentality around scrapbooking, YOU NEED to look into it. It’s so freeing, it is ridiculous!!! She teaches an online class called Library of Memories (over at That is also the name of her “system”. She also has a book called PHOTO FREEDOM that I highly recommend you buy. I have purchased a ton of idea books over the years and this is, by far, the best $$$ I’ve ever spent on any type of scrapping supply. Seriously.

    I have taken the online class twice (you can take it free after you pay the first year) and I’m still working on my system. I read Photo Freedom about 6-7 months before I took the class. So, it’s been about TWO YEARS since I first started digging into this concept of guilt-free scrapping. And I STILL STRUGGLE WITH IT. It truly is an emotional process (I know how ridiculous that sounds!). But, I’m getting there. I’m slowly letting go and realizing the freedom of many of the things Stacy talks about.

    So, my big recommendations to you are
    1) Go hang out at Stacy’s website ( and read her blogs religiously. She is the most mentally/emotionally inspiring scrapbooker out there when it comes to the PROCESS (not talking about page design type stuff).


    And if you like what you see in #1 and #2, consider signing up for Library of Memories 2011 πŸ™‚

    Good luck.



  1. Getting My Mojo Back | inspirat omnia - […] another article Jennifer talks about different solution on how to let go of this feeling of being behind. One…
  2. How to Stop Feeling Behind - Simple Scrapper - […] four years ago I blogged about letting go of feeling behind, where I […]

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