Ideas for Simplifying Project Life

by | Projects & Processes | 10 comments

I’ve shared a lot of specifics about my approach to Project Life and how I’ve simplified the process over time. That said, what works for me may not be the perfect fit for you and your scrapbooking.

In this post I’m sharing some of my best tips and ideas to help you simplify Project Life in your own unique way.

Tips & Ideas for Simplifying Project Life

I’d like to begin with a reminder. While I hope my own work is helpful for you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed examining what others are doing. This is especially true if you’re consuming a lot of visual information.

I found that the more I turned inward for answers about pocket pages, the more clarity I found. Thus the core ideas I want to leave you with are encouragements to find out what works for you.

1. Define it for you – The term Project Life often comes with a lot of assumptions and expectations. I’ve even heard scrapbookers say “I could never do Project Life“, as if there was only one correct way to do it. At the core, Project Life is a system of products that allow you to scrapbook your memories in a different format: pockets. You have permission to choose what you put in pockets and how you approach creating albums.

2. Find your simplicity – Simple for one person can be complicated for another, so it’s more about the unique combination of products and workflow that make your Project Life process work for you. Make it as complex as it needs to be to fill you up and fit your lifestyle. When you dig deep in search of your own unique form of simplicity, you can find that holy grail of Project Life ease.

3. Stay flexible – What works perfectly for your life right now may not be a good fit in the future. Don’t spend too much time worrying about crafting the perfect plan for all-time. Embrace that how you do Project Life now will likely change in the future – and that it’s totally OK. Stay flexible to the ever-shifting landscape of your life to feel confident that you can always keep it simple.

Real World Tips for Project Life

Many of our members do Project Life in various forms and have these additional tips to share with Simple Scrapper readers:

  • Reduce design decisions with a kit. – Alissa W.
  • Write notes on your calendar/planner. – Katie P.
  • Make photo selections over coffee. – Tina C.
  • Limit the color scheme to 1-2 colors. – Kris B.
  • Use a visual planning worksheet. – Diana T.
  • Work on your project in batches. – Jenny S.
  • Remember more with the Collect app. – Gina K.
  • Create smart collections in Lightroom. – Jennifer E.
  • Prompt yourself with Oh Life emails. – Kim S.

How do you simplify the Project Life process? Leave a comment sharing your favorite tip or strategy that’s helped you get more done.


Project Life Week continues tomorrow with a review of my supply organization and creative workflow for pocket pages. I’ll also share a surprising fact about my layouts!

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. Jen

    I’ve really enjoyed your series so far. I love seeing other people’s process and taking bits and pieces and adding to my own. There is no “one size fits all”or “right” way to do PL.
    I’ve been doing PL since 2010, changing things up very often over the years. (I did it three different ways last year) This year I went simple to the extreme- no products at all, except digital templates. This was incredibly freeing for me! I still scrapbook a lot, using my LOM system. And I use quite a bit of pocket style products, but I use them on my regular scrapbook pages. For me, it’s the best of both worlds- I have a “just the facts” chronological record of our lives and that frees me up to tell bigger stories somewhere else.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      I love seeing your super simple approach Jen. Thanks for sharing – and for highlighting the freedom you’ve felt from being able to scrapbook in the PL style and the traditional LO style!

  2. Natalie (QSOgirl)

    I actually find it simplest to do a photo-a-day approach. One 4×6 photo, one 3×4 card for each day. Sometimes the decision is a little harder, but I can make a collage on the 4×6… and for big events, I have no problem adding an insert! I put all the 3×4 cards into the album at the beginning of the “year” (in years previous, I”ve started in January, but I’m starting a new album June 1), so all I need to do is write a card each day. The photos get stored in a smart collection in LR so that when there is a prints sale somewhere, I can upload big batches for printing!

  3. DorothyCC

    I work full-time and have very little time for scrapbooking, even though I enjoy it immensely. There is no way I could spend 30 minutes or more on a single layout! For me, the focus of scrapbooking is on the photos and journaling.

    My husband and I take thousands and thousands of photos each year. Because it’s difficult to choose among them, I like to cram as many photos onto a page as a I can. Before the advent of pocket pages, I would struggle with what to do with a single photo here, or two or three photos there. I didn’t want to “waste” an entire page on one or two photos. (I’m familiar with the concept of white space, but that is totally not me.)

    Now, I simply stick miscellaneous photos into pockets in chronological order with a bit of quick journaling – sometimes just the date. This takes very little time. When I have more time, I create traditional 12×12 layouts for events such as vacations and holidays that I mix in with the pocket pages. This system works very well for me.

    I am always behind, but that doesn’t bother me since I scrapbook as much for the process (which is relaxing and fun) as for the result.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks for sharing your super-simple system. I love hearing how others have found ways to combine pockets and layouts in one album – especially to make it easier for themselves!

  4. Tiffany

    What is a visual planning worksheet?

  5. Caroline

    I was pregnant at the beginning of last year and knew my time would be short once I had my baby in April. I was right… I barely did any of my PL (which I’ve typically done monthly for the past couple of years). I had already decided to simplify the design choices by limiting myself to one color scheme, and only use 6×4 or 3×4 photos. But then I ended up hardly doing anything. I’m a sporadic journaler and my husband and I are both keen photographers, and I knew I wanted to put something together. In the time I took off work over Christmas I slowly batch worked on all my photos and selected enough for one or two spreads per month. I’m waiting for the order to be shipped to me. Seeing as I already have my cards and the words are in my journal, I’m not feeling overwhelmed about putting together the remainder of my 2014. I might adopt a similar batched approach for 2015 also.

  6. StephJ

    What I find makes things simpler is to have a consistent design scheme, and use the same template and fonts every week. I also keep most of my embellishments black and white to reduce the amount of colors on the page. The consistency and repetition reduce the number of decisions each week, which makes the process faster and simpler.

  7. Nancie Anderson

    My BFF and I are scrapbooking partners. We are trying to figure out our Project Life style. I rarely use a set of anything, so I have taken the time to break my PL cards down into more categories that work for me. I am a color and theme scrapbooker, so my cards are broken down that way. I have a very large case that holds all of the cards I presently own, multiple sets that had previously been sitting all neatly in their respective boxes. I am trying not to buy more, but we all know that is not going to happen, but I now feel more confident that I will use them. I used 4×6 index card dividers and labeled by color or theme. I am still working on breaking down the many word cards I have. just have not found my perfect categories yet, so I welcome suggestions. I am also including the 3×4 and 4×6 cards from other manufacturers that I have purchased. I just finished my first complete PL style scrapbook. A 12×12 travel album with 30 pages, some pocket and about a dozen 12×12. I can see using the cards for that purpose and for other theme albums I have in the planning stage. My BFF is making a Father’s Day gift for her son of him with his three children. She is using their favorite colors and adding the holiday themes as other sections. She plans on separating the sections with the PL dividers and also incorporating some 12×12 pages with special photos that she has enlarged. We are making progress using PL cards that we have owned for many years without having used more than a few cards in that time period. It is not the same as we intended when we bought the sets, but they are being utilized and I can see that for my travel albums, they are now the perfect solution. A lot of pictures and not a lot of journaling but they are helping me tell the stories.


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