Cure Overwhelm with Action

by | Productivity Advice | 28 comments

Are you so far behind in your scrapbooking that you fear you’ll never get caught up? Do you find yourself buying supply after delicious supply but not using any of it because you can’t find it? Do you feel overwhelmed by all the photos waiting to be organized? Perhaps you’re afraid your creation won’t be perfect.

Suzy Iverson

I have two words for you: Take action.

Simple, right? Of course! Easy? Absolutely not! But oh so worth it.

You can learn techniques for beautiful page composition, but until you take action, you won’t see a difference in your layouts. You can tell yourself that you’ll finish that page, but until you take action, that story will remain untold. You can believe you’re creative, but unless you take action, you’ll never see your creativity expressed.

Your scrapbooking process and systems may be imperfect, but don’t let that stop you!

Here’s a little 4 step process to help you:

  • Identify one part of your scrapbooking process that’s overwhelming you.
  • Be clear on the outcome you want.
  • What steps can you take to reach the goal? Be specific.
  • Then take action on one of those steps. Start small and set yourself up to win.

Do you have oodles of photos or supplies to organize? Set the timer for 15 minutes. Repeat every day until you’re caught up.

Do you have several unfinished layouts waiting for the perfect journaling? Block out some time and just get the story down — even if it’s on a scrap piece of paper first before you apply it to your page.

Do you have scrapbook layouts you haven’t even started because you just don’t know where to begin? Find some inspiration in a magazine or online gallery. Use a template. Scraplift a favorite layout.

Taking action not only applies to the incomplete projects — it also applies to new things we’ve yet to try.

What’s ONE thing you’d like to learn? Maybe it’s a photography class. Or a scraplift challenge. Or a journaling technique.

Whatever that something is — a project you want to finish or something you want to learn — take action today to make it happen!

Suzy Iverson is a digital scrapbook designer and teacher. She’s been recording memories since she was 12, writing since she learned the alphabet, and expressing her creative side her entire life. She is passionate about helping scrapbookers express their own creativity and share their stories. You’ll find free video tutorials and articles on her web site,, as well as several digital scrapbooking freebies. She designs under the name SuzyQ Scraps; look for her fun and versatile digital and hybrid scrapbook products at Follow her on Twitter or “like” her fan page to stay current with the latest happenings.

Did you find this post helpful?

We believe simple is not how your page looks, but how your scrapbooking hobby works. We have a free workshop called SPARKED and it is the best way to learn more about Simple Scrapper and start creating consistently.


  1. Irma P.

    One part of scrapping that’s overwhelming me are the thousands of photos I have accumulated. I got into a bad habit of uploading them and not deleting the bad shots immediately. I’ve been implementing the 15 min. rule daily – deleting some bad shots for 15 min., and now it seems manageable.
    Great tips! keep them coming!

    • Suzy

      That is me too! I still have photos from 2009 and 2010 to go through. I’ve been putting them off waiting for a huge block of time to do the whole project … I’m going to start tackling it this week with just 15 minute blocks. 🙂

  2. grannymike

    I think you’ve been looking over my shoulder as you just described me. When I find something to be overwhelming, I tend to just ignore it. I am starting a photo and scrapbooking supply organization class this week. Hopefully, I’ll come out of it at least having a clue where I can find what it is I want/need to scrap. Thanks for your simple suggestions. They should help me get going.

    • Suzy

      How’s the class going? I’m sure you’ll come out of the class armed with awesome skills and ideas — then just take action on one of them. 🙂

  3. rebecca.k

    I have a major problem with being overwhelmed. I am the same as @grannymike (above). If something seems like too much, I ignore it. Although, once I get going, I wonder why it took me so long to do something so simple. It’s the push to get moving that I struggle with. Thanks for the tips!

    • Suzy

      Oh my gosh, that is so me! I put off a project because it involved using a new program that I was afraid would have a huge learning curve … and then when I finally took action, it took me less than an hour to get started. I felt so silly!

  4. Crystal

    Take Action!—yep that’s what I need. I get bogged down in planning–the page layout, paper choices, colors, mood, embellishments—-you get the idea. I’ve been working really hard at following the slogan of “Just Do It…and then move on”. Do I still try to plan? Yes, but I limit it. As a result, I’m much more productive.
    Thanks for the post. It’s great to hear that I’m not the only one!

    • Suzy

      Planning is my favorite part! I get stuck there too. And “Just Do It” is a great slogan — don’t you just love that feeling after you’ve accomplished something?


    I’m with everyone else in that I just ignore it. Now it’s been ignored so long I don’t know what to do. My supplies are disorganized or just plain MIA, my digital pics are a scarey mess, and any ideas or inspiration I had has long since gone. I continue to put it off on the premise that I should be working on other things that I’ve also been ignoring, but that doesn’t happen either. So at the end of the day nothing ends up getting accomplished. Idk if that even made sense, but hopefully you know what I mean.

    • Suzy

      Totally know what you mean! Sometimes I just don’t even know where to start … so I just pick one and set the timer for 15 minutes. After a few 15-minutes sessions rotating between ALL that I feel like needs to be done, I start to get some clarity on what’s most important, and then focus there until it’s done. 15 minutes at a time.

  6. Kim K.

    This past week I took action. I purchased ACDSee Photo Manager 12 and I am so excited. It is exactly what I needed, but didn’t want to spend a fortune to purchase. Fortunately, it was on sale for only $29.99, but it would have been worth the $100 if I had paid full price. LOVE IT!!! Great for organizing digital scrapbook supplies, as well as, my 1,000’s of photos.

    Love your stuff, Suzy!!!

    • Suzy

      Good for you, Kim! I’ve held myself back before because of the price … then my sweet husband & an awesome success coach helped me realize how much NOT purchasing the item was costing me. 😉 Time & sanity have a price too!

  7. Lori B

    When I first started digital scrapbooking I felt like I wanted to scrapbook every great photo and felt very overwhelmed. I decided to take it one page at a time and don’t worry if I scrap in order or not. This year has been great so far and I’ve scrapped over 200 pages!

    • Suzy

      Over 200 pages?! Way to go! I used to fall into the “scrap everything, and in order” category. Not anymore, and it’s so liberating. And I feel like scrapbooking more too!

  8. Cindy

    I find that it’s sometimes hard to ‘take action’ on scrapping with so many other household things to do – but you’re right – we can all do 15 minutes a day to make some headway – I’ll be trying it out this week! It’s hard to find an excuse to not find 15 minutes in a day.

  9. Jen Evangelista

    Love this post. Thanks. My issue is that I have tons of “product” and tons of photos but find the most challenging part is putting them together. If I sat down and paired photos w/ product for the next few pages, I’m sure I could get them completed. Thanks for the *head slap*.

  10. Lynea Ford

    I find it so easy to procrastinate taking action. Thank you for this great reminder and article. I think it will help me to remember to keep moving forward by taking action in at least one thing a day.

  11. Leslie

    After 30 years of marriage and 5 kids, of course I am overwhelmed with too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Plus, I love to sew, make encouragement cards and cook. But there is only so much me to go around. So one thing I am learning is to journal. I have never kept a journal regularly before now, because I locked myself into thinking that if I didn’t do it daily or do it right, I couldn’t do it. But I realized that my life is messy and out of order, so I can keep my journal the same way. I put special momentos and ticket stubs, along with cute things the kids say, and even goofy events or quotes. My Bible notes and special verses go in there as well. And I try to write down a play-by-play at least once a week, including anything special we did or just the ordinary (although my life never seems ordinary!) everyday happenings. Sometimes I do something artsy, using big bold lettering filling an entire page for a few words. I don’t stay in the lines. Anyway, at least I have all the important events jotted down.
    This post helped me remember to give myself permission to just do it with my scrapbooking like I have learned to do with my journaling! It will be big and messy, but it will be totally ME!

  12. Suzanne

    Are you talking to me? Hahaha! That was the very main reason why I somewhat stopped digiscrapping for some time. But I have learned a lot and slowly getting back into it. When I find myself being overwhelmed again, I consciously stop and try to get right on track again. Regarding, unfinished layouts, I sure have plenty! And when I try working on them again, I just can’t seem to remember what I wanted to do with them when I started them. So I learned that when I start a project or layout, I should finish it ASAP!

    Thanks for the tips!

  13. Amy Anderson

    Just what I needed to hear. I feel like I am full of unfinished projects right now and just need to “take ACTION” NOW! I’m a “it’s not working, so I’ll stop” person. Need to get back to work and finish something. Thanks for the info.

  14. Fee

    Fantastic tips Suzy 🙂 You are so right…you just have to get to it!

  15. Nicky H

    Caught up? I haven’t used those words in scrapbooking in several years. (In housework? Yes, but not in SB!)

  16. Cynthia Miller

    Lights? Camera? Action? You bet. I am a Type A personality to the max! Things always have to be just right… but, I’ve adopted a new mantra. Tell it… like it is!
    My very first page was so overwhelming… I moved, rearranged, changed my mind, and almost ditched the whole thing! But with patience and alot of CALM tea, I have grown to love this practice of sharing our stories in a visual appealing way. Scrapping Simply is very good advice.
    P.S. My husband and I are taking a photography class on Saturday. I am so excited!

  17. Lindsay

    I recently helped my mother reorganize her scrapping supplies (which is larger than mine since I’m mostly digital). My sister, best friend, and mother all spent the evening with me sorting her papers by color/pattern/purpose, sorting her photo boxes in order of what we needed to scrap, and putting it all away. It helped her feel less overwhelmed and get down to business.

  18. Deirdre

    Setting the timer now—because I freeze when I think of how little I can accomplish in the short amount of time I have. But you’re right—15 minutes adds up to a lot over the course of days. And making that little dent is so much better than no progress.

    I was proud of sticking with 365 Photo-A-Day for 2010, at least when it came to the journaling and taking photos. In June though I stopped printing and I feel frozen. Can’t start any new exciting projects this year, because I haven’t finished last year’s. It probably won’t be as overwhelming as it feels once I get started. And using the timer takes a little pressure off—that I don’t have to lose all my time to this big project.

    I hope to be done before 2012!

  19. Gail

    Forget trying to make each layout perfect. Just do the page. It will look much better to you after you have put it away and then come back to it weeks later.

  20. Margot/NZ

    What good advice! I love the 15-minute plan and have used it successfully in my extra-scrapbooker life as well.

  21. CandaceW

    I had over 40 years of unorganized photos and an album system that did not work. This year I started sorting and have a new album system that I love. Sometimes I would just walk into my work room and stand for awhile until I could step through the fear and start. Once I started, the motivation came.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.


The Simple Scrapper community will encourage and support your unique creative journey.