Scrapping Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: The Time Management Series, Part 3

It’s no secret that while I love designing, I still love to scrapbook as well.  The problem is, however, trying to find the time among a day job, a family, and designing to actually preserve some of the memories I want to share.  I have tried every way of getting myself “ready to scrap” and to “make time to scrap,” but these tips are the ones that have really started to make my scrapbooking more efficient and fun.

Get Organized!
There is nothing worse than trying to do a layout, and not being able to find the things you need to complete it, I have been there.  A while back, I got a copy of ACDSee Photo Manager, and it has really helped me to get my scrap supplies in order.  With ACDSee, I am able to “tag” all of my digi products.  So when I get something new, I unzip it, and either “tag” it right away, or put it into a folder labeled “To Be Tagged.”  I try to keep this folder as empty as possible, but sometimes life gets in the way.
I have tried a number of styles for organizing my stash.  First, I started by renaming every file with the designer’s name, and the product name, and then tagging each separate item of the product: papers, ribbons, stitches, etc.  What was good about this method: if I was looking for a red ribbon, I could click on my ribbon category and find a red ribbon that would work.  Right on that file, I would have all the info I needed for credits, so I would be all set.  What didn’t work:  This method takes a while to get going, and can be time consuming.  Also, I am usually a kit scrapper, meaning I usually use stuff from one kit for a layout.  Therefore, tagging each item was just making extra work.  Next, I decided that I would just tag the previews of each product and put them in categories such as kits, alphas, elements, templates.  One nifty feature of ACDSeeis the “Go To File” Option.  With this, I can click on the preview, and select “go to file” and it brings me to the folder that contained the preview, usually the kit folder (Here is a great blog post about “go to file”).  What worked with this method: it was so much easier to tag everything and it fit my style better.  What didn’t work:  The categories were too broad, and if I wanted to look through my stash for just stuff by a certain designer, I couldn’t easily do that.  That has led to the method I am using now.  What I did was I took the organzing I had done in the previous method, and added some new categories.  Each file is able to have multiple tags, so I utilized this to tag each product by the designer, by the specific product, and whether or not I have used it yet.  Take a look at my categories


There are tons of other ways to organize with ACDSee.  Over at DigiScrapInfo, they have extensive information about working with ACDSee, including sample organizing styles you can download.  Check those out here.

Get Inspired!
So often, I find myself ready to create, but without much inspiration.  We often hear around the digi world about someone “losing their mojo.”  I have been there, and it’s not fun.  When my mojo tends to run a little low, I have a few places that I look to for inspiration to get me going again.
Sweet Shoppe Challenges – The girls over at SSD do a great job of keeping scrappers inspired.  There is a new challenge EVERY DAY.  Sometimes these challenges are just what I need to get moving.  Not to mention, there are some great benefits to participating.
Gallery Standouts – At Gallery Standouts, each day there is a blog post with some great layouts from around the digi community.  I wait every day to see what will show up next.  It’s a great way to keep an eye on the scrapbooking world around you, without having to visit 46 galleries everyday.  You can just subscribe in your Google Reader (which I know you all set up after my last post), and beautiful layouts will be delivered to you daily.
My Scrapbook Art – If I want to venture to a gallery, I often peruse the layouts over at My Scrapbook Art.  MSA is an open gallery, so there is a great mix of stuff from all the digi designers out there.  Check it out, I am sure you will find something you like.
Music – music plays a huge part in my creative process.  It helps me set the mood I want to convey on my project, and keeps me going throughout the night.  I have used Pandora before, which is a web app that plays music depending on what you select as your first song.  More often than not, though, I spend my time listening to my own music collection with iTunes.  I like to have control over what will be played next – I’m a control freak.  My tastes are widely varied, and heavily influenced by my two daughters’ affinity to the Disney Channel.  If you want to check out what I am listening to right now, you can hop over to iTunes, and see an iMix I made just for you guys:

Get Knowledgeable!
For me, working with Photoshop (or any other program) is all about learning more and more about your program as you go.  Luckily, there are tons of great people who offer FREE tutorials on how to work with Photoshop, either for digi scrapping or for other stuff.  These are some of my favorite tutorial sites:

Photoshop Killer Tips
Hummie’s World
Tutorials at Digi Scrap Addicts

Get Resourceful!
I am very upfront with people: I use templates to scrapbook.  I used to be really ashamed of that, thinking that people would think I was “less of an artist” because I used a template.  It took a long time to get over, until I came to the realization: in 20 years, when my daughters are looking at my pages, they are not going to look at it and think “oh gosh. Dad used ANOTHER template for this one.”  To me, scrapbooking is about preserving memories.  By using templates, I am able to free up time to get to more stories, as well as the 86 other things in my life at that very minute.  So there, I said it.  Hi, my name is Aaron and I use templates.
I buy templates almost everywhere, but some of the ones that are really sticking out to me now are:
Designer Digitals Templates – all of the laides over at DD have great templates, in a variety of different styles.  Right now, I am partial to experimenting with Katie Pertiet’s and Ali Edward’s templates.
Vinnie Pearce at Pixel Canvas – I was drawn to Vinne’s templates because they are so different than my usually scrapbooking style.  Templates are a great way to experiment with other styles of scrapbooking without having to fry your brain.
Layered Up In You, La Grier – Over the last few months, La has released many sets of the Layered Up in You Series.  What they are are template for mats, journal strips, shapes, and almost everything else you can imagine.  The come with a shape to clip a paper too, as well as one of La’s characteristic doodles to outline the shape.  While not a full template, putting together a layout is super easy when you use these as your base.

As a bonus for you, I have this free template for you to download and use!!!


Get to thePoint!
Like I mentioned before, I had to come to a point where I realized that I was scrapping to preserve our memories.  What a relief it was to finally feel released from my “obligation” to scrap every event, every moment.  Now, I only scrap what I want to share.  I challenge you to ask yourself why you scrap?  Once you do, you will be able to push away all of the “extra feelings” and focus on why you love this hobby in the first place.

BONUS!!!  Today on The Daily Digi, Katie the Scrapbook Lady shares her method of “Power Scrapping.”  I absolutely LOVE these ideas, and will be trying them out with my scrapping very soon.  Read the post HERE.

Until next time

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6 Responses to Scrapping Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: The Time Management Series, Part 3

  1. Chris says:

    Excellent post! I use ACDSee Photo Manager and it really does help me to find what I am looking for quickly. I have my unzipping/tagging/scrapping “work flow” now down to a science. I can get so much more done using PM.

    I love templates and scraplifts too.
    Thanks for the links/suggestions.
    Off to read your other Time Management posts:)

  2. Chris says:

    Excellent post! I use ACDSee Photo Manager and it really does help me to find what I am looking for quickly. I have my unzipping/tagging/scrapping “work flow” now down to a science. I can get so much more done using PM.

    I love templates and scraplifts too.
    Thanks for the links/suggestions.
    Off to read your other Time Management posts:)

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  6. Beverly Mascara says:

    Hello Sir…I am using your info published in Daily Digi about your experience with ACDSee.  Thank has been a tremendous help for me although I am using Mac Pro..  I would like to ask about (Here is a great blog post about “go to file”).  I cannot get to that blog do you have an idea on how I can get it?  Thanks in advance

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