Starting Project Life? Have a Plan!

Preparing for Project Life: Have a Plan + Planner Reviews

Well here we are folks.  It’s December… ALREADY.  Can you believe how quickly this year has flown by?  I’m sure this month will be flying by just as fast and January will be here before you know it.  To Project Lifers out there, this can be an exciting time because it means you are close to finishing up your yearly album!  To Project Life attempters out there (like myself), this means that you may be thinking about trying it out again next year.

 

You tried this year.  You even managed to stay on top of it for the first few months.  You loved the moments you were capturing and the quotes that you were able to record.  All because you were in that “mindset.”  You know the one I’m talking about. The “This moment will be so awesome in my PL album!” mindset.  So you think to yourself, “I HAVE to snap a pic!”  Or “Write down that quote!”  Or you find yourself drilling that fabulous event that just took place into your brain so that when it comes time to scrap your week, you can record it just perfectly.  I mean, you want to remember years from now how your 5 year old wanted to be an artist, and how super cute your two year old was when he cocked his head to the side and said, “Peeze?”.  Right?  Well of course you do!

 

There’s just one problem.  If you’re like me, at the end of the week, so many moments have come and gone that you can’t remember what you wanted to record.  And if you’re even more like me, you’re putting your spread together weeks (or even months, gasp!) later and you can’t remember a darn thing other than what you took photos of.  Sound familiar?

 

You need a plan!  To help you focus your plan, you need a planner!  Utilizing a planner can be a great way to get organized and stay on top of your Project Life this year.  There are several planners out there in the digiworld that can help you create your plan and record your vision of what you think your album needs to contain.  Let’s take a look at some of these awesome planners available out there!

 

Traci Reed’s 2015 Life Planner

treed-2015lifeplannerpreview

 

Traci has a great blog post about how she uses her 2014 planner which can be found HERE.  Don’t be alarmed that it’s for her 2014 planner.  The meat of the planner stayed the same.  She just changed the formatting a little bit, but everything that’s included is the same for the new planner.  She even gives you step by step printing instructions, which are very helpful!

 

Choose Your Size:

Traci’s planner comes in five different sizes and you don’t have to buy them separately.  They all come in one nice package.  So you can take a look at each and decide which one would be best for you.  She’s given us 3 filofax sizes: A4, A5 and personal, as well as letter size, and small binder size.

 

Dating Options:

Each size of her planner includes a Sunday-Saturday format, as well as a Monday-Sunday format.  So you decide, when does your week begin?  I know that many like to include their Saturday and Sunday in the same spread because sometimes they will do things over the whole weekend that they want to keep together, so the Monday-Sunday format would be perfect for that.

 

Monthly & Weekly Calendars:

She gives you 12 full page calendars for each month of the year, as well as a blank weekly calendar spread over two pages.  Her weekly spread has plenty of journaling space for each day.  It also has a spot for sketching out your project life layout for the week (think grids here), as well as a place to record what photo files can be included.  It even has a space for quotes or events without photos and a column to jot down any other ideas and thoughts for the week.

 

Extras:

Traci gives you 28 grids to choose from when planning your layout format in your weekly spread.  If you only use 1 layout all year, then you can add it to your weekly spread before you print it out to help you plan what you want to put there during your week.  If you use different grids, then you can find the one that best suits your week and tape it into your planner after.

 

Also included is a full page of bright and colorful reminder stickers (appts,vacation, sports practice, birthdays, etc.).  You can print them out on a sticker sheet and stick them in your planner.

 

Pros:

  • This planner is Project Life specific helping you keep in mind the things you will want to document most during the year.
  • The reminder for recording moments without photos is great.  Sometimes the best moments are heard and not captured on film.
  • The calendar portion is in grayscale for quick printing without eating all of your expensive colored inks.  The only colored item is the sticker sheet which you will only need to print a few of.
  • 5 different sizes to choose from, all for one low price.  You can try each size out without having to buy a whole new planner each time if you decide the size you’ve started with isn’t working for you.
  • The notes for keeping track of your photos will help when it comes time to scrap.
  • It will help keep you organized and on top of Project Life for 2015.

Cons:

  • The planner doesn’t account for many extras (contacts, budget, fitness, etc.).
  • You need to fill out all of the dates on the weekly spread calendar.

 

If you’re looking for something to really focus in your thoughts and events for Project Life, this would be a great calendar for you!

 

Next up is Miss Tiina’s 2015 Everyday Planner

misstiina_2015edplL

Check out Miss Tiina’s blog post with her planner in great detail.  She gives you a full rundown with large previews of everything she’s created.  She even tells you which type of paper she would suggest for printing each section and header as well as whether she printed each section single or double sided.  I’ll just give you the overview:

 

Choose Your Size:

Miss Tiina’s planner comes in four different sizes.  Each size is available for purchase separately.  Take a look at each and decide which one would be best for you before you buy.  She’s given us 2 filofax sizes: personal and half, as well as letter size, and half size.

 

Dating Options:

This planner also includes a Sunday-Saturday format, as well as a Monday-Sunday format.  So great to have the option!

 

Monthly & Weekly Calendars:

PLEASE NOTE: Each calendar is available in Sunday-Saturday format as well as Monday-Sunday and ALL are predated for you.

  • 1 page full year in review calendar that’s great for having your year at hand.  It also comes in handy when you’re numbering your weeks.
  • Predated bi-weekly calendar (1 full week per page).
  • Monthly calendar (1 full month per page).
  • Monthly 2 page calendar (full month spread over 2 pages).
  • Weekly 2 page calendar (full week spread over 2 pages) with notes, random stuff & get it done sections in column format.
  • Weekly notes 2 page calendar (full week spread over 2 pages) with random stuff section in row format.
  • Weekly schedule 2 page calendar (full week spread over 2 pages) with time slots from 6 AM to 8 PM.  

 

 

Extras:

  • She has created 8 different cover pages so you can choose the one that suits your style best.
  • There are labeled and blank printable tabs for you to help keep track of your planner sections.
  • An account information page for you to keep track of all of your website login and password information.
  • Contact pages to keep track of family and friends names, addresses, websites, birthdays, phone #s and email address.
  • It has 8 different planning sections to help you keep track of celebrationsto do listsmeal plans, fitness, moneyprojects/journalsshopping & calendars.  Each of them are available for purchase separately if you think you would only utilize certain sections.  Want to know more about a specific section?  Click on any section listed above to be directed to that section overview on her blog.

 

 PROS:

  • 4 different sizes to choose from.
  • 7 calendar formats are included.
  • All of the calendars are predated for you.  No filling dates in on your own.
  • Tons of extras that will help your organization beyond your Project Life album.
  • Extras can be purchased as a whole package or individually based on your preference.
  • It’s bright and colorful.  Very visually appealing.
  • It will help keep you organized and on top of Project Life for 2015.

CONS:

  • It’s not Project Life specific, so there are no reminders for quotes or photos, but there is plenty of room for journaling and you’ll have no trouble scrapping events that took place during the week.
  • The sizes are all available for separate purchase.  If you’re not sure what size you’re after, you may end up buying more than one before you find out which size works best for you.
  • It’s bright and colorful.  Make sure you have all of your colored inks on hand and printing in color usually means it takes longer to print.

 

This is another great planner that focuses organization beyond Project Life.  A great motivator for getting on top of everything next year.

 

Here’s another great option for you to look at: Laura Passage of Wishing Well Creations: Everyday Life

WWC__EverydayLife-PocketScrappingPlanner_900

Laura’s blog post that overviews her 2014 Pocket Scrapbooking planner can be found HERE.  PLEASE NOTE: Her new calendar is only available in the Pocket Scrapbooking edition.  NOT the monthly edition that is also shown in her post.

 

Choose Your Size:

Two different sizes to choose from, both of which are included in your purchase.  Letter size and half size.

 

Dating Options:

This planner also includes a Sunday-Saturday format, as well as a Monday-Sunday format.

 

Weekly Calendar:

  • This planner only includes a weekly calendar.
  • “Week #” …”Week Of” …and non-weekly versions are all included (for those who tackle their pocket scrapping on a weekly basis (whether by week # (1-52), or by date).
  • Pre-made pages with the default of grid “A” are included, as well as blank pages.

 

Extras:

  • 40 different grid/layout variations included to use in your calendar.

 

  PROS:

  • 2 different sizes to choose from.
  • Project Life specific format will help you keep in mind the things you want to include in your weekly spread.
  • Simplistic format that won’t overwhelm or discourage an organization ‘beginner.’
  • It’s nice and colorful.  Again, very visually appealing.
  • It will help keep you organized and on top of Project Life for 2015.

CONS:

  • No monthly calendars.
  • No predated pages.  You’ll need to fill in all of your own dates.
  • It’s bright and colorful.  You’ll want to make sure you have all of your colored inks on hand for this calendar, too.

 

And one last planner to have a look at:

 

Zoe Pearn’s Freebie Printables

zpearn-projectlife-planner-preview

 

There’s not much to overview here:   A 1 page weekly (Monday-Sunday only) layout with 3 full page grids to choose from for planning your layout.

 

PROS:

  • These planner pages are FREE!
  • Very simple & basic.
  • No predated pages means you can use them for years to come.

 

CONS:

  • Only comes in Monday-Sunday format.
  • Grid page only accounts for one part of your 2 page layout spread.

 

So there you have it.  I’ve reviewed 4 planners and hopefully you’ve found one of them to your liking.  Each has great features that suit different needs and personalities, and all are very affordable.  There is no one size fits all, so it’s nice to have a look at different takes on organizing your life.

 

Pick A Planner:

So now you need to ask yourself:

  • Was there a specific planner I was drawn to?  Why?
  • Will it suit my needs for what I want to remember and transfer to my albums?
  • What size planner do I think I’d be most comfortable using?
  • Do I have a tendency to write lots so that I will need lots of space?
  • Do I want to use a weekly calendar or a monthly calendar?  Both?
  • Do I want just a calendar or do I need all of the extras?

Answering these questions will help you determine which calendar will be a good fit for you!

 

Print Your Planner:

Hopefully now, you have chosen a planner that you think will help fulfill your vision of the perfect Project Life album.  For anyone who is just starting out, let me tell you that having a plan is KEY!  You’ve already taken a great step in choosing a planner to organize your thoughts and memories.  Now get to printing!  And trust me when I tell you from my own personal experience, one of the keys to being successful with a planner is to print the entire year right from the get go.  You can’t utilize a planner you don’t have access to!  Choose the extras you want to use and print them out as well.  This whole process will take time.  Maybe more than you’d like.  But putting the work into creating the planner will hopefully encourage you to use it.

 

Put Your Planner Together:

All of those beautiful pages are hot off the press.  Now you need to put it together.  Don’t wait until the 1st of January.  Heck, I’d try to have this done within the next week so I don’t even have to think about it during Christmas.  Having it done before starting the year will make starting the process less stressful.  If you’re flustered because it’s January 3rd and your planner isn’t ready, then you’re already going to be discouraged.  I know it’s a crazy time of year, but the satisfaction you’ll get from completing your album next December will outweigh the pain caused by using valuable December time to put your planner together!

 

Now depending on the size you’ve chosen, you’ll need to find a binder to fit your planner.  Get something pretty!  Does your planner come with all of the dates filled in or do you need to write them in yourself?  If you need to write in your own dates, grab your favorite pen and a calendar and get to work.  Now is a great time to write in birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.  Don’t hold off on this!  Only dating the first month or two could cause a possible deterrent when you reach those blank pages.  You don’t need road blocks!  You want green lights all the way through.  Plus, seeing a future event while you’re writing, may change the way you plan your weekly spread.  And when you’re finished writing, stash that favorite pen inside your planner so you always have something to write with.

 

Did you get a planner with all the extras?  Then buy yourselves some tabs (or print the ones that came with your planner) so that you can keep your planner organized and easily find where you need to be.  If your planner is a mess, it will discourage you from using it.  You’ve gotten this far, now make it count!  Remember, you are using this to try and organize your life.  You can’t organize your life if your thoughts are a jumbled mess in three different sections of your planner.  Take the time and do it right.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

Pick A DAILY Dedicated Time To Write In Your Planner:

Your planner is beautiful.  You have everything just where it needs to be.  Dates are set.  Birthdays are noted.  What do you do now?  Decide when you are going to record the day’s happenings.  Are you going to do it as it happens?  Then have your planner readily available.  Easy access is key.  I set mine out in our kitchen where I file our bills and such.  It is easily accessible and always visible, reminding me to use it.  Always on the go to and from work?  Throw it in your purse so it’s always with you.  Then it will be easy to jot down a note or two during the day at the office.

 

Maybe you just want to sit down at the end of the night and write down anything you think is worth remembering.  If this is the case, put that gorgeous planner somewhere where you’ll see it during your nightly routine.  Maybe on top of your dresser where you stash your pajamas.  Or put a little post it note on your bathroom mirror that you’ll see when you’re brushing your teeth.  You’re giggling at me right now, but it actually works!  The point is, make a plan and stick to it!  It will help you be successful.  Recording in your planner daily will be the most helpful when it comes to getting the information that you want to remember.

 

What Do I Write In My Planner?

That is completely up to you but here are some things that I’ve found are helpful to look back on:

  • Random quotes from the kids (these are some of the funniest and your kids will appreciate these when they are older)
  • Milestones from the kids (first step, first word, first bike ride, A on spelling test, Honor Roll, etc.)
  • Successful cooking attempts (I celebrate new recipes!)
  • Fun new purchases
  • Family visits/activities
  • Note specific photos you took that you want to include in your spread
  • ANYTHING that made an impact on your day!

Utilize the tools your planner came with.  You chose your planner because you thought it would help you create the perfect album.  Read through the notes and prompts and be inspired and reminded about what you want to capture!  You’ll be amazed at the spreads you can create when you’ve sat down to scrap with your planner.

 

More Tips for Success:

  • Write lots to start.  You’ll figure out what kinds of things are most important to you when you go to make your first spread.  Scrapping your spreads will help you know what you want to pay special attention to in the future.
  • Take lots of photos.  Of pretty much anything!  If you want to remember it, snap a pic.
  • Make a camera easily accessible.  I always have my phone camera on me.  My point and shoot is in my purse for better pics when I’m out and about.  My DSLR is at home on my desk so I can get great photos of family (and pet) events at home.  Don’t have it holed up in a closet somewhere where you have to get a chair just to reach it.  Make your life easy and put your camera somewhere close at hand.
  • Scrap each spread as close to the week’s end as possible.  Seeing your memories come together in a spread is rewarding and will encourage you to keep going.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you fall behind in scrapping.  That’s one of the reasons you are keeping this planner.  So that everything will be there for you when you’re ready for it.  Whether that’s next week, next month, or even, [gulp] next year, you’ll have just what you need so long as you wrote it in your planner!
  • Don’t get discouraged if Friday comes and you realize you haven’t written anything since Monday.  Write down what you can remember, and then revel in the fact that you’ll get to use some of those adorable filler/title cards that you usually don’t have space for!

 

I know this post was a big one, so I appreciate you sticking it out here with me to the end.  I really, truly hope that you’ve found this post helpful and encouraging!  And if you were thinking about starting Project Life for 2015, I hope I’ve swayed you enough to give it a shot.

 

Do you have any other tips for being successful with Project Life?  I would love to hear them!  Remember, I myself am a Project Life attempter!  I’m hoping to be an actual Project Lifer in 2015.  I think I wrote this post and reviewed these planners more for myself than for anyone else.  And to be honest, I’m super excited to give it a go this year.  I’ve chosen my planner and laid out my plan.  I can’t wait to start documenting 2015!  I hope you are feeling the same way!  Memories are one of the most important things worth keeping, after all.  I hope you found this helpful and I wish you the best of luck starting (or continuing) your Project Life journey!

 

Encouraging <hugs> to us all!

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2 comments

  • Vanessa K McKelvey-Smith December 2, 2014   Reply →

    Great review of what is available!

  • Kelleigh Ratzlaff January 5, 2015   Reply →

    Oooh! I was leaning toward Laura’s mixed with Tina’s, so this is great! Thank you, Janelle!!

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