Breaking Down a Big Project : Week in the Life 2017

BREAKING DOWN A BIG PROJECT : WEEK IN THE LIFE 2017 | NICOLE REAVES

It’s been a month since I completed my Week in the Life and last week I started the process of putting it all together. Spending an entire week taking pictures and writing notes about everything that happened is intense and kind of draining so I took a little time “off” from thinking about it before digging in to the assembly phase. I spent my break time redoing my scrap space and I'm excited to share that with you in another post!

Big projects, like Week in the Life, can be hard to tackle because there is so much to put together. What do you work on first? My favorite way to break it all down is to write down every single step I need to do to make progress on finishing it. Keep asking, "What's next?" And write it all down. The smaller the steps, the better, because I'm much more inclined to sit and work on it for a little bit if the next task is ridiculously easy. This list is usually project specific, but is very similar to the way I go about putting together any mini album. I start with the main parts of the album - photos, memorabilia, journaling and embellishments - and create lists within each section of what needs to get done. Here’s a look at my final to-do lists for completing my Week in the Life album :

PHOTOS

  1. Upload photos off my phone and onto my computer. Note: I only used my phone this year. No DSLR photos.
  2. Create desktop folders for each day of the week.
  3. Review notes I made about my daily plan, like the desired number and size of photos.
  4. Look through each day’s photos and drag my favorites into the appropriate folder.
  5. Go through the digital product I already own and decide if I want to buy anything new this year. Do I want to add text to the photos or leave them as is so I can embellish (or leave plain) and journal elsewhere?
  6. Make a rough plan about what photos will go where. Choose which ones work best as 6x8, 3x4 and 4x6.
  7. Begin editing each day’s photos :
    • Color // I typically only do one of two things here – either brighten dark photos or edit them to black and white if the colors are off or too distracting.
    • Crop // the vast majority of my photos are portrait, or vertical orientation, and will work well in most pockets (3x4 and 6x8). Knowing I had a couple 4x6 pockets for each day, I was mindful to include some horizontal shots too. The only photos that will need thoughtful cropping are the 3x8 pockets and for me, those are most likely going to be detail shots. I may also crop a photo to give myself a lot of blank / white space for embellishments or typed text.
    • Words // along with my daily notes, here I add typed captions to the photos I feel need a little more detail to tell the complete story.
  8. Collage each day onto letter or 4x6 sized canvases for printing.
  9. When all of the pages are complete, send them to the printer. I print at home on a large format Epson and love the convenience of print on demand.
  10. Allow to dry.
  11. Trim photos apart.
  12. Lay each day’s spread out, making room / note of the gaps for journaling cards and memorabilia.

MEMORABILIA

  1. Grab the stack of papers I collected during the week.
  2. Sort the items by day and also make a separate pile for items that could be relevant any day. These are good for days that I might not have enough photos and need a filler.
  3. Refer again to my daily planning sheet and my laid out photos to see where I can fit in a couple pieces of memorabilia each day.
  4. Crop to size and add them to the spreads I have laid out.

JOURNALING

  1. Look at each day’s spread so far and review my daily planning sheet for where I think journaling should go.
  2. Flip through my notes from each day and use a highlighter to mark the stories, quotes, conversations, etc I want to be sure to tell. Ask myself, "What details will tell the best story for this week?"
  3. Begin filling in journaling cards with those stories and place them in the laid out spreads.
  4. Are there are stories that I didn’t have room for? How will I fit them in? Create another loose page?

EMBELLISHMENTS

  1. Open up all of the embellishment packages from my Week in the Life kit and organize them.
  2. Page by page, place embellishments on the photos and journaling cards that are laid out.
  3. Watch for balance of colors and patterns on each 2-page spread. Also be mindful of what is behind it if it is visible.
  4. Adhere the embellishments down.

FINAL ASSEMBLY

  1. Slip everything into their page protectors.
  2. Flip through the album and make sure everything is to my liking. Move photos and cards around, if needed.
  3. Add a label to the album spine.
  4. Hand off to my family to see the finished scrapbook!

While I often like to give myself a firm deadline as motivation to get projects done, I'm not doing that this time around because I know I would rush through it just to call it done. Instead, I'm going to set every other project aside (I have a few!) and not let procrastination get to me. Oh procrastination, I have a post for you too. Let's see how far I can get by working on it in batches over the next couple weeks.