Monday, February 23, 2015

Project Life Pre-Planning Process

Process. I love reading about others' process. It's like you are getting some inside, top secret, special clearance information. Maybe it'll make your life better. Yeah!  So, where's your special badge? You got some kinda ID? Oh well, I'll tell you anyway. What you are about to hear is a small part of my Project Life process. The pre-planning part. The goal is to reduce the amount of printing of excess photos (money in the bank). It also allows me to resize to 3x4 and put them on a 4x6 for printing (more money in the bank). And, the nice pay off is that my layouts go together faster because I already have a guide for where the photos go. But...I kinda hate it. It's tedious. I just want to get to the fun part of putting it all together, already. However, it's soooo worth it. Sure, there are times I don't get to pre-plan before a crop session with friends, so I just print willy nilly and they are all 4x6. I then just figure out what to crop down to 3x4's, as I go. Does it work? Yeah, but I'm a happier scrapper when I've preplanned. (insert sigh of relief)

In the 2015 Goals Post, I mentioned three different ways that I plan. I am currently working on two annual albums, 2014 & 2015 (whew, I know, sounds like a lot, am I crazy? don't answer that). When I'm ready for a planning session, I grab my laptop, external hard drive and notebook. For the current year, I am using a printed book I made that is like a weekly journal with an area for sketching your layout. (Used that Zutter I just HAD to have years ago, woot. woot.) I always aim to give due credit where credit is due: I used Marcy Penner's Pocket Page Planner freebie. resized it to a half page and printed double-sided. It is great being able to write down current details that I just know I won't remember later. You know, those cute little things kids say, like "Boys have those things and if you're a girl, you just have a butt." I'm dying...

The Zutter-Made Book
A look inside.

For 2014, I use a dedicated sketchbook in which I just draw the layout with a few notes and the dates. Since, I'm not doing weekly layouts, this works fine for me. I don't need a calendar type notebook; however, I do still note the dates of layout photos to keep them chronological. My Project Life annual album is by month. I tried doing weekly in 2013 and decided to go back to monthly since I have now used up ALL the w's e's and k's in my entire sticker library. No, really it's because I have too many photos, and doing one monthly title card was a better option. Although, I do loooove a good title card design.

My Notebook for 2014 of Layouts
Either way, I'm in front of my laptop. I keep ALL my digital photos on my external hard drive (and back up online in two places, throw salt over my left shoulder, say a small prayer). They are stored in folders by year and sub-folders by month. I sort by "Date Taken" so that I can work chronologically. Always make sure your camera's date/time are set correctly. Man, I have photos from 2006 that say they were taken in 1999. Or a million newborn pictures (doesn't everyone have one per every 5 seconds?) and Grandma's camera time is off, now how am I going to put these in order....So, I guess I'm saying go around to all your close relatives and fix there cameras, too. Just kidding. Don't do that. You'll become the weird relative. Unless you already are, then go for it.

The newest way I've started pre-planning is using that nifty Becky Higgins PL App on my iPhone. I have bought some of the kits that match the physical ones that I own. The app was appealing to me for use during times when you are sitting around waiting on something. It never happens at home, or when I'm with my kids which is always, but there are times it does happen - like my own doctor appointment, or while driving (JUST KIDDING). 
Put your dates right on the layout somewhere for future reference. Becky Higgins PL App.
The key here is to rename these layouts by the date of photo. In my case, they are typically random weeks. I'm still tweaking this system. It has glaring flaws. But at least, I know where they will go in my album. 
In PL App. Go to your libary.
Click on OPTIONS
Here you can indicate the
date of the layout.

Now, as long as I just use Design A, nothing to worry about. ugh. The other thing I do immediately after creating a layout (well, the second thing because first I do a fist pump) is to put any 3x4's together on a 4x6 from that layout. You can do that right in the app. And save it. It's genius.
(2) 3x4's on a 4x6, done right in the PL App.
Ok, well, I've spilled all. Your turn. What kind of pre-planning do you like to do for ProjectLife? I have the badge and ID, it's ok, tell me.

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