September 12, 2013

My Project Life planner...

This post is long overdue so I thought I better get it in gear for you guys.  Many of you have noticed my new planner system that I've been sharing at the top of my Project Life posts.  Today I'm sharing my system and what works for me.  

PLEASE NOTE: My planner pages are something I created as a need and they're just for my personal use.  I'm not too skilled at all the techno ways of sharing files so I'd hate to get myself into something that I can't handle.  Marcy Penner is about to debut a new Project Life calendar system though and it will be on her blog soon.  So be sure to check that out, I'm sure it will be a good system.  

Here's what I was using before I got started my new planner system.  I used a simple notebook to sketch out the Project Life inserts.  Then I would jot down what photos I wanted to use where.  I noticed that I was consistently writing in some of the same things week after week like the dates, my inserts, the check lists, the week #, etc.  So one day I just started drawing it out with text boxes in a word document.  I know, fancy.  It's a wonder I got as far as I did.  
I needed a notebook/planner to keep my inserts in so I found some simple, sturdy but plastic binders at my local Staples.  These are the size that will hold my new, printed 5.5" x 8.5" Project Life planner sheets.  There were all kinds of refill pages, plastic inserts and more.  This particular type of binder has 3 rings and lots of colors to choose from.  I looked all over for my Franklin planner but I couldn't find it.  I found it just this week so I might switch to that in the future with an actual calendar that fits.  We'll see what the new year brings about.  I'm not sure if I want to keep my calendar in with my Project Life stuff or not. There are lots of options though for binders like Franklin Covey planners, Filofax, office supply store brands, and Target had some cute sturdy cardboard ones.  
Here's what the inside looks like when empty.  
Here's what my planner looks like when first opened.  I purchased a velcro pocket insert and in that I keep an assorted style and size of sticky notes.  I use these to make notes if needed and I stick them right to my planner pages. 
 I also purchased lots of these inserts which include pocket inserts, clear page protector inserts, and tabbed divider pages.  I got enough to cover 4-6 weeks worth of Project Life weeks.
 I print off my weekly planner pages as needed, usually 4-5 weeks at a time.
 Here's how I insert the pages into my planner.  I start with a tabbed divider insert, then add my 2 planner pages for 1 week, then a pocket divider then a clear page protector then another tabbed divider insert.  This is the system for one week.  I repeat this for 4-5 weeks so that I'm prepared.  So here you see Week would come this same set up but for Week 39, and so on.
When I'm ready to do some Project Life planning I grab my Project Life planner, my calendar and my iPhone.  Most of my photos are now taken with my iPhone but I make note in my calendar if I have some on my big camera too.  
 Here's what a week of events might look like in my calendar.  I have a monthly calendar at the front of each monthly section where I keep all of our appointments, birthdays, ballgames, etc very neatly.  On these daily pages, I scribble in what photos I took, little quotes or things I want to remember.  I usually update these pages once or twice a week.  If you ever get behind, these scribbles will become like gold to you.  Trust me.  I was 17 weeks behind last year and my calendar saved me.
 Here's what a weekly sketch might look like.  I start with a blank slate for the week then just work my way though my photos.  I have a little system of dots and squares that I mark in my calendar and kind of make a mental count of how many 4 x 6 photos I want versus smaller photos.  It's a little time consuming but oh so worth the effort.  I mark down any birthdays or big events in the daily section (see the bullet list on the left side marked Mon-Sun).  On the right I make note of any extra inserts I want to add.  I know I'll have inserts when we have a birthday or holiday celebration, a party or special events like the first day of school or a dance.  Once I have my layout planned for the week I email my photos from my iPhone to my computer email.  I then save those photos to my iPhoto program, edit and print the photos. You can see the checklist section below on the right where I check off when I've emailed photos, printed, completed and blogged a weekly spread.
Behind the planner pages I add in any collected items like receipts, tags, postcards, invitations, ticket stubs, wrappers, etc to the pocket page.  This is where I have noticed a big difference with my new planner.  I keep track of the collected items much better now.  I may use them or I may trash them but at least I've made an effort to gather the items in one spot. 
When I'm ready to print my photos I keep my calendar and planner by my side.  I check off the photos as I print.  I usually start by printing all the 4 x 6 photos, then all the 3 x 4 photos so that I can print 2 to a photo, then the squares, etc.  I don't use any Photoshop when editing sizes of photos, I do it all with my iPhoto program.  I use a lot of apps too like Diptic, Instagram, A Beautiful Mess, etc to do some cropping and journaling.
I slip all my photos into the clear page protector.  Now everything is one place and I'm ready to rock and roll. 
When I'm ready to work on a week of Project Life I take my calendar, my Project Life planner, my photos, etc to my work table.  I take out my photos and use my weekly planner page sketch to lay out my photos.  If you're interested, I'd be happy to do a part 2 post where I show you how I complete a week of Project selecting embellishments, making a dated insert etc.  
Once I'm done with a particular week of Project Life I insert the planner pages into one section of my planner that is for all my completed weekly spreads.  Once in a while I'll have an insert to finish or have something to add and this is where those post it notes come in handy.  
And that's how I roll with my Project Life.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I'll edit the post with answers.  I hope this was helpful to you.  Thanks for stopping by.  


Denise E said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! I've been waiting to see your planner/schedule and it really helps. I have a calendar that I've been using and is color coded for our family, but need get better about writing actual photo info into the calendar, not just events. I think those plastic sleeves would be a huge help too, to keep up with all the "stuff" of the weeks and to keep it in order. Thanks again for sharing! It's a huge help and we are always inspired by your PL posts! Would love to see the "part 2" of putting your weeks together too, if you'd like to share. Always helps to get other ideas! Have a great weekend. Thanks again!

Sandy Davis said...

I used to think people were so crazy for keeping a planner to do project life. I have always kept notes written down and every week always slide my pictures into a weekly folder. But I have fallen about 4 months behind and have been thinking of doing this type of system also, so this post was extremely helpful to me. Thank you. I would love to see a posting about the embellishments etc,

Carol said...

So loved reading your post. I have a sort of planner where I sketch out a week however might have to look at something like this which would work so much better. Would love to see a Part 2 sometime. Thanks so much for sharing your process with us.

Lynne said...

I too would love to read your part two. I use Marcy's planner pages - I didn't know she was coming up with something new! I'll look forward to that! I use those folders that have the brads down the middle. Planner pages in te brads with the insets plans in the middle, photos and collected items in the pockets. I too think it is so nice to have a place to put those collected tidbits! Thanks for this post!

Karen R said...

I learned a lot from this and would love to see part 2 of this post.

Anonymous said...

thank you for sharing, i've found this very useful.
i'm launching into PL from next Jan and am starting some planning now on how i'll make it work for me. this post has been super helpful - the pockets in the binder for collecting the extras i hadnt thought much about, and now, i may totally rethink what i was thinking!!!.
i am another who would love to see the part 2.
many thanks for sharing.

selina.mcginn said...

You're amazing. I am so doing this. I am several months behind in my PL (I do mine monthly) and need some way to organize everything. Thank you for you help and inspiration.

TenSGal said...

I enjoyed reading your system for planning your pages. Mine is pretty similar although I just throw my planning sheets away after I use them.
I dislike the planning process but it has to be done! LOL~
I have several planning sheets on my blog that are for anyone's use. Hate to promote my blog here but if anyone wants them...look me up!


Shan said...

This is AMAZING! I will be using this type of planning for 2014! I'm so behind in 2013..I'm not worrying now about keeping days or weeks separate just worried about completing BUT if I had this system I think I would be on top of it better! Thanks so much for sharing! I would love to see how you store all the 3x4 and 4x6 cards and all the do-dads that go with it!

crschaf said...

Love this post-so helpful! Are you using a Epson Selphy or Picturemate printer? Please tell us about your photo printing.

Carly said...

What a lovely post thank you for sharing your process

Jennifer said...

Awesome post Mish! Please share another post about how you select embellishments and put together a PL weekly spread. Thanks for your awesome ideas!

Andrea said...

Looooove reading these posts on your organization of pl. would love to see part 2.

Andrea said...

Looooove reading these posts on your organization of pl. would love to see part 2.

Debbie said...

This is THE greatest post ever Michelle!!
I just finished 1 whole year of Project life...and this is going to be so much nicer to work with!! I'm so excited to get ORGINIZED, because it seems to take me forever to go through my pictures and figure out sizes for my photo's.
And a part are incredible.....that's so time consuming, and you always take excellent photo's for us to see! Thanks again for the inspiration Michelle!! LOVE IT!

Peggy said...

Loved this post it's brilliant. Thank you! I'd love to see part 2

krash1717 said...

Hi. I was wondering how much time you spend deciding which pictures to use and filling out your planning pages? I loved your planning ideas. Thanks! Would love to see a part two.

krash1717 said...

Hi. I was wondering how much time you spend deciding which pictures to use and filling out your planning pages? I loved your planning ideas. Thanks! Would love to see a part two.

~ Jo ~ said...

This is a HUGE help for someone like me who has yet to start Project Life. I wouldn't even know where to begin to be honest Michelle. You are a blessing dear! I would LOVE to see a part 2 for this. I found this post to be incredibly informational and I've jotted down a few things that I've read and saw through this post. Please share more!!

♥ Jo's Scrap Shack ♥

Scrappin Robin said...

The is a great idea, thank you for sharing. I have tried different ways to planner out my PL but haven't found one that really works for me yet.Your system looks like what I have been looking for. I would love to know where by chance I can get a copy of your planning sheets. And I would also love to see your part 2. Thank you again for sharing.

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