Life Hack: Project Life

March 7, 2015

“Simple equals done.” – Becky Higgins, Founder of Project Life
“Done is better than perfect.” – Facebook

Project Life - Stampin' Up! Little Moments Collection

As I’ve been spending a lot of time crafting over the last few years, particularly scrapbooking, I’ve often said that “done is better than perfect.” There is no way that I would be able to get any scrapbook pages actually completed if I focused on them being absolutely perfect. As long as a page was “good enough”, I would move on to the next. But as I take a lot of photos of my family, I still found myself falling behind with being able to keep up with scrapbooking all those photos. Yet when I take photos, I don’t want them to just sit on my phone or computer or social media. I want to print them out and see them and share them in real life!

Fortunately, several months ago I had a serious AHA moment when I finally “got” what Project Life is. I had always seen Project Life at the craft store but never really thought much about it. But when I started spending more time having fun with my Stampin’ Up! products, I noticed that they had a special line of Project Life products. That was the key that finally opened my mind into trying out this system. And literally overnight I was able to scrapbook an amazing number of photos that had just been sitting there for months, waiting for me to make the time to scrapbook them. It’s become a major time hack for me that allows me to save time and actually get scrapbooking DONE.

The system is so simple. Just take the “pocket pages”, your photos, and the Project Life journal cards, do some journaling about your photos on the cards, and slip them all in the pockets. You can add a bit of embellishment if you want – and I do love adding a few things like some washi tape – but it’s really not essential. Becky Higgins, who created Project Life, says that the essence of the idea is “simple equals done” – keeping it simple allows you to get pages DONE and that’s what matters!

Why is it so important to me to scrapbook and particularly do Project Life, which makes it so easy to add journaling to the page? Well, journalist Jennifer Senior, the author of the amazing book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, described the importance when talking about what she hears from readers as she travels:

What everyone wants to know—everywhere—no matter where I go: How do I parent differently? So I always tell them about chapter six of the book.

Which is [when I discuss] Daniel Kahneman, a behavioral economist. He’s actually a psychologist. Won a Nobel Prize. He makes the distinction between our ‘remembering selves’ and our ‘experiencing selves.’ And he notes that in real time we seem to find parenting very stressful. So our experiencing selves—the “people” who do the living for us—seem to experience parenting as very hard.

But our remembering selves, who remember what we do—and who are, in some senses, more profoundly our identity—our remembering selves love parenting. If you ask people what gives them the most joy, they all say their children.

So what I do is optimize my remembering self now. I take way more pictures than I did before writing this book. I used to be very lazy about it. Now I take a ton of them because it’s true. I can then enjoy them later, and I do enjoy them. And it helps shore up my remembering identity.

I write down the funny weird stuff that my kid says because otherwise I won’t remember it. Everybody tells you to do it but then you kind of stop doing it and you really regret it, so I try to remember to do it. Re-reading that stuff is kind of remarkable. It’s so fun to do. Also, you get to climb into bed and tell your spouse about all of the funny stuff because you wrote it down, and then it becomes this good thing you can have with your spouse. And it’s like a triple bonus because your kid will end up finding the stuff they said when they were two years old hilarious. So, that’s like my biggest life hack of all.

So, Project Life is my life hack. I can take photos, print them out on my home printer, do some quick journaling, and get them in a Project Life scrapbook…all in the same day.

Here’s an example of a page I did with the Stampin’ Up! Little Moments cards. I printed out my journaling using my home computer, which I find sometimes just as easy as writing down the journaling, since I type rather quickly. (I created a very simple tutorial on how to do this, which you can find here.)

Project Life - Stampin' Up! Little Moments Cards

I love the boxes that the Stampin’ Up! cards come in. Often I’ll store some 4×6 photos right in the box with the cards until I sit down to put a page together.

Project Life - Stampin' Up! Little Moments Cards

Has Project Life been a time hack for you? Share what it’s meant for you!

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