How I’m Keeping it All Straight

by | Productivity Advice | 2 comments

Even though I work in the industry, I think of myself as the average scrapbooker when it comes to productivity. I work, take care of my family, and try to squeeze in scrapbooking when I can.

I’m definitely someone who creates in spurts (as I know many of you are) and that seems to work well for me.

But when I’m switching between so many different things, I can lose focus on my priorities and projects. I can even forget that cool thing that was so inspiring that I had to order that other thing right now.

(Have you ever done that?)

So how do I stay on track? I’ll be the first person to say that I’m not perfect and I find it hard to not take on too much. That said, I have made huge strides in the past year towards sustainability.

The one thing that has helped me maintain focus is actually very simple: planning.

Planning helps me keep track of all the projects I want to start as well as all the ones that I’ve started but not yet finished. It’s been revolutionary to see every idea in one place.

I love how my planner tells me what I’m working on this month. This means that I fall down a rabbit hole and end up with 40 browser tabs open much less often.

(Yes, it still happens some of the time… but using my timer helps with that too!)

Here’s what thoughtful planning can do for you:

  • Offer a specific place to get all your scrapbooking to-do items (big and small) out of your head and on to paper.
  • Help you prioritize and make decisions about what you really have time for – and what gets back-burnered.
  • Create much-needed clarity so you know exactly what’s important the next time to sit down to scrapbook.

Note: I use digital tools for daily to-do items, but I find the act of planning on paper allows room for creativity and helps me better visualize how it all fits together. In additional to the paper planning I do for scrapbooking, I use a wall calendar for my business.

Thoughtful planning is your key to more satisfaction with scrapbooking. I am more confident in where I am going and that each page created is part of a bigger picture. Here are a few more tips to help you get the most out of planning:

  1. Keep your planner visible so you remember to update it.
  2. Make sure to document and celebrate every victory, big or small.
  3. Always allow more time for a project than you think you need.

Most everyone uses to-do lists, calendars, and planners in other parts of life. Do you use planning in your scrapbooking?

P.S. I plan with the Start Fresh workbook, the flagship tool of our annual special event. Even though this year’s event is over, you can start fresh anytime when you become a member at Simple Scrapper. Our members get access to the 2014 workbook, the event materials, and a new planning page each month.

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. Terri Torrez

    When I started scrapbooking (in this modern incarnation) I had a running list of stories I want to tell. When my son was a year old the list was pretty long. By the time he was four the list was overwhelming and I had all but stopped scrapbooking. After I read The Big Picture and got a better handle on “Caught Up” I stopped using the list. (It was a couple years before I physically tossed it though.) Now I capture ideas in Evernote but with no particular priority assigned. I also keep a high-level list of 3-5 projects on my white board that are important to me right now. The main purpose of this is to give myself permission to ignore any projects not on that list.

    One exception – if I’m doing a class I’ll keep those tasks on my regular to-do list. I love the deadlines and the interaction of a good class so I prefer to keep up. It does mean that I don’t committed to a class unless I think I can finish it during the allotted timeframe.

  2. Natalie (QSOgirl)

    I keep lists all over the place! I have a wishlist of projects I’d like to complete, and a more specific list of layouts I want to make for my scrapbook. I keep them in chronological order, but I only work on the ones that are inspiring me when I have the time to work on my layouts. I set monthly goals (publicly on my blog for “accountability,” though I don’t have very many readers, haha!) and I’m trying to work through some of the projects I’ve prioritized from my wishlist each month– or at least, working through tasks that will help me to accomplish the larger ones! Each week, I even set “weekly top tasks” to help me stay on track… and I include crafty tasks on my daily to-do lists, too, when I can. (Hopefully this doesn’t make me sound like some sort of horrible task-master! I really do like–love?!–my lists :))

    To celebrate a finished project (or step), I have a big purple marker (a Mr. Sketch grape one!) that I use to make a big, fat, check-mark next to the task. I am so motivated by those checkmarks, haha!



  1. OLW 2014 | Progress Report | Simple Scrapper - […] got a to-do list in my scrapbook planner and a monthly checklist on my wall calendar. By breaking it…

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