This weekend was as much about getting together with cherished friends and having a good time as it was about scrapbooking. (I honestly believe it was more about the first.)
However, there were some things I saw firsthand that I think apply not just to scrapbooking but to any project whether it’s home improvement, work-related or scrapbooking. And while most of these seem like common sense, sometimes I think we need to say them in order to acknowledge that we know them. This weekend forced my hand in that respect.
While the five lessons directly apply to my scrapbooking habits, I’m going to try harder to incorporate all of these into other facets of my daily life. I am hereby launching the AOP JR. program!
1. Assess. Do you even know what you have or what you need? These are two very important questions. While we took our annual trip to Archiver’s per usual, I swore myself off of ALL THINGS Christmas. (Organizing on Friday night led me to find all kinds of items I had long forgotten purchasing or being given.) This same principle applies when I go to do a DIY job. I have a ton of hardware: nails, screws, bolts, nuts, etc., in a variety of sizes and finishes. Do I ever look through these to see if I have a quantity that can be used for another project? Yes – but not always. This means I sometimes come home and use half a package of screws or nails and I when I go downstairs to store the leftovers, I find an unopened package of whatever I’ve been using. One of my chief goals for this year: Use up as much of what I already have as possible.
2. Organize. I’ve always known that getting organized is key to accomplishing almost anything. Once you know what you have and what you need, organize tools and materials in a way in which you can find them. Occasionally, I’ve even endeavored on a large scale to do this not only with my scrapbooking, but also with my DIY projects, and at work. Oh, sure. You can definitely run on auto-pilot. You can be spontaneous in the long-term and still accomplish a lot. However, you could probably accomplish a lot more if you knew where each piece of needed material or tool was located along the way. (Search less. Work more.) The hard part: continuing to follow whatever system you establish as new pieces or tools come in and others depart.
3. Plan. Think it all out. I do this almost to a fault with my home projects. Doesn’t mean it always goes the way I plan it, but it gives me somewhere to start and to go from. And, it forces me to revisit steps No. 1 and No. 2 and modify them if they need it. I’m proud to say that I used several pieces of paper and a variety of embellishments for pages I had already thought out. And, because I do much of my journaling with the computer (via textboxes), I can declare nearly 10 events or activities in 2006 – for a total of 27 pages – officially complete. I’m almost through June!
4. Justify. This is a toughie. I often reward myself with scrapbooking store adventures, so I know there is no way I can – or should – cut that out completely. However, I do need to exercise a little restraint and not walk out the door with everything I LIKE. I’ve already sworn off Christmas entirely. My rule for the near future for everything else is this: If you can’t justify it, you can’t buy it. And I’m not going to settle for just any ole wimpy justification either. (I’ll get medieval with myself if I have to.)
5. Regroup. You’ve done 1-4. What did you find out? This is important because if you’re like me, you get knee-deep into your project (whether it’s DIY or scrapbooking) and something doesn’t work, doesn’t fit, doesn’t look right – whatever – and you tell yourself, “Oh, I’ll just come back to this.” No you won’t. (If you’re like me, anyway.) Two years later, if it’s not something that seriously impedes progress, it will still look the same. (In some cases, it is something that seriously impedes progress.) Either way, if you do cut yourself some slack, don’t leave it open-ended. Seat a deadline –and stick to it!
I re-learned something else, too. To me, it’s more important than all the other five, so I saved it for last: FRIENDSHIPS MATTER -- STAY CONNECTED! We’re all busy with families, jobs, homes, the daily routines, and all those unexpected things that throw everything and everyone into chaos. So, we can’t go hang out with each other as often or for as long as we’d always like to.
So?! That’s not an excuse. There are still lots of ways to stay connected. Technology gives us a TON of alternatives. Fire off a quick email (a personalized one, not one of those FW: Subject letters). Send a quick text. Or, go completely low-tech and drop a Hallmark card in the mail.
Some of these are free. Some cost a couple bucks. All require just a few minutes.
But in every case, the ROI is more than worth it.