Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finding Time

"How can we find more time for our hobby?"

I hear it all the time from scrappers of all types: "I need more hours in my day," "I can't find time to scrap," "If only I could have a whole week to myself to get organized," "I can't seem to get going on my books," "I haven't done a page in months," and "I shop more than I scrap!" Common complaints, right? Have you ever said similar things? I must admit I have often felt pressed for time and my hobby is the first thing to flex. But if it flexes too often, we don't get very far finishing pages do we? Let's figure out a way to have more TIME to scrapbook.

The Problem:
Our resources and time is limited. Not only by our busy schedules, but also by the unexpected aspects of life--like job stress, carpools, children's events, sickness, etc. Sometimes I hear scrappers joke about "never getting caught up" "working on my books from now to forever" or they laugh off the dozen rolls of film they just took to be developed. Not to mention the thousands of digital pics stuck someplace in their hard drives.

Sure we all know the hobby is just a hobby. But it is also more than that? Isn't it a history of our family too? It may seem like dream but most of us really do want to get albums done and finished for our loved ones. Let's make it a priority to get more done. Let's leave finished albums to our kids-- not boxes full of things we never got time to finish.

Possible Solutions:
How you ask? How can you make more time out of a 24 hour day? Time is a basic element in life. We often think of time as something that just goes by. Time is sometimes viewed as an element in life beyond our control. (ie my several gray hairs! LOL) Often I will get up from the computer screen or the TV set and be shocked to find an hour more has passed than I expected. Has the deadline for a project at work ever snuck up on you? And we all have had to deal with kids who forget time and stay on the playground or the Nintendo or the IM too long. WOW Where did I let that time slip off to? I wasn't paying attention to how I was spending my time.

Yet other times I am amazed at how productive I can be in an hour or two. A work deadline is met with time to spare. The house gets tidy, the errands get accomplished. How did I do that? Did time stand still? What was the difference and how can I make my days and my time work for me and not against me?

We all know that we DO have some control over time. The control we have is how we choose to spend our time. This is a lesson I learned from my great-grandmother when I was 7. She was a pioneer type gal in Missouri. She still did everything the old way even in 1967. (My mom on the other hand believed in using modern conveniences you see so the contrast was apparent even to a 7 yr. old) Great grandma would pluck chickens, cook from scratch, wash the dishes by hand, churn butter, hang out the wash. I must have been amazed and asked her one afternoon how she did all that work and still had any time for herself and her quilting.

Her reply was to take me by the hand and lead me to the linen cupboard. She took out her dish towels and sweetly explained that she made time for her love (quilting) because on Monday you did the laundry and tuesday you did the ironing and thur you did your errands and shopping.....You have seen those towels reminding the gals of the daily chores. She explained that because she followed a structure and a system with her time, she had time to do what she loved. Her family grew to know her system and respect it and her time. She then made time for her creative hobby.

I think I agree with her even today. Thank the Lord I don't have to pluck my own chickens-- but I do have to manage my time. The only common thread on my most productive days and weeks seemed to be that I made a plan or a list.


Look at the calendar and PLAN. You need to work your goals into the existing times in your week . Make your goals (scrapbook time) a priority and write them into your calendar. This is especially important if you don't have a space to scrapbook where you can leave the work up and do 5 minutes here or there. You may need a bigger chunk of time than 15 minutes to take things out and get started sure, but take the bull by the horns and WRITE IT IN! Honestly who has time to got grocery shopping or to the dentist. But we make time for the mundane-- so why not make time for sharing our own history?

Breaking Scrapbooking Block and Finding more Time in a too-full Day!

1. Adjust your priorities.

It's all about choices. If you're not scrapping at all, it's because you've chosen to do something else. If you're watching Big Brother or a rerun of Family Ties, get up and move away from the TV! LOL This also goes for too much time in front of the computer screen!

2. Add it to the Family Calendar.

I have found that writing it on our family calendar also helps others in the family take it seriously. They see that commitment on the calendar and about half the time they automatically find another parent to carpool to the movies. If you are a morning person get up an hour earlier twice a week to scrap. If you are an evening person, get busy twice a week after the house is quiet. Maybe you can decide to go REGULARLY to local scrapbook store crops and retreats and PLAN it in on the calendar. Hubby has learned to make dinner on those nights. In order to get our scrapping done we have to make time for it. Use the crock pot once a week, eat an hour earlier or later and use the hour you saved to scrap right before or after dinner. This kind of time will not fall into your lap.

Take control of your scrapping time. Make time for it. Look at this week's calendar or this month's calendar and WRITE IT IN at least once a week. Give up an email loop (not ours of course!) or a tv show that is getting dull. Substitute a block of 30 minutes, an hour, or maybe two scrapping time for any of those 'blank' times where you have caught yourself mentally saying "Well that was a waste." Be proactive and manage your time the way YOU want . The time is in our days. We just have to find it and grab it and use it.

3. Lower your expectations.

You can't believe I said that? It is true--You don't have to create a contest winner every time. My ratio of quick pages to really nicer "stunning" pages is ten quick pages to one primo page. It keeps me moving along and uses lots of the elements I have already bought and want to use up. You can still create stunners...just less often. My teenage kids have even said they would rather see the albums DONE than wait for every page to be good enough for a contest.

4. Do something scrapbook related every day.

Just sorting photos, organizing the sticker binder, filing new papers, and cleaning your area will help you work faster later. This does NOT mean go to more yahoogroups, Bulletin Boards, and scrap chat rooms! Each Bulletin Board you check takes an average of 20 to 30 minutes. Couldn't you be scrapping instead? Don't want to go cold turkey on your buddies? Pick your favorite lists and stay on those but drop one or two others and gain 20-40 minutes! Or check them HALF as often as you do now. See? You just gained TWICE your current time to scrapbook!

5. Do one little thing.

Sometimes we get mentally blocked because the task ahead looks too darn big. Break it down into smaller parts and start with the first photo or set of photos. Sounds too obvious, but the fact is, we let ourselves get psyched out by the thought of doing a page, when all we really need to do is start by picking colors or page additions!

6. Take Sketch Notes.

Put a blank book in your purse or car and look for ideas everywhere you happen to be. Look at billboards, magazine ads, pop cans, and get ideas for color combinations and graphic designs. Do it while waiting for the car pool. You don't have to be elaborate or an artist. Just sketch it out so you can recognize what you had in mind. Use this book later when you need a fresh idea or jump start.

7. Journaling is often a tough aspect to 'hurry".

And really we don't think you have to hurry it. But do use your writing time wisely. . Frequently, we get blocked because we're stuck by one idea or subject and we're reluctant to get started. Take that title or photo or memory and in your blank book, free associate or
brainstorm. Write down every word you can think of relating to the event. If some seemingly unrelated word pops into mind, put that down too. Later sift through your words for a few key ones that relate to the original idea.

8. Momentum. One little shove in the right direction...

Just push that ball down the hill and watch it roll! Take a photo from your stack of unfinished pictures and scrap it, no matter what. It doesn't have to become a stunning layout--see what you can do in 30 minutes with it. Try something new. Take out an idea book and copy a layout you love. That is what they are there for! Try this with some of your average photos if you are leery. Just do it and get the page done. You have thousands of pages to do.

9. Take a tea or water break every hour or so.

Skip the caffeine and sit back a minute or two or five and recharge the creativity batteries. Then go at it again.

10. Better than therapy!

If you had a physical or mental issue that needed weekly appointments, you would make sure you got to them. Treat your "me" hobby time and scrapbooking as seriously as you would any mental health break or appointment. It certainly is as important as getting your nails done or a massage! You need your creative time --not because it adds more to your plate--but because it actually does help de-stress you!

Write in at least one more hour a week for designated scrapbooking time. Yes you can find it. It is there. Plan for it. Write it in and DO it. So what if you have to give up reruns of Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy. No more wishful thinking....Grab that time before it slips away. Make your time work for you. Use those supplies like papers and stickers. Zip out a few pages. Your family really does NOT want to have to dispose of 3 iris carts full of paper at an estate sale after you are gone....They would much rather look over your finished albums full of treasured memories...

....An imperfect finished page is better than an perfect page 'someday' that only exists in your head....

Make it happen for your family. :)



KerrieBerrie said...

This is so good! I'm going to copy this and share it with the ladies at the retreat I am attending this weekend. It is so applicable in so many areas! Thanks for sharing!
Kerrie Chamberlain

Scrapbookwife said...

Wow - Did this come along at the right time. I have have found myself with no time for me. I live by a calendar yet have no scheduled time for me. Not anymore - mover committee meetings, volunteer work, hospital stuff - look out scrapbook room here I come.
Thank you for sharing and the motivation.

Kristi said...

Thanks for posting this. I have a week in a hotel coming up and while I won't take my scrap supplies with me (well maybe not), I plan to be productive by inserting decluttering sessions, organizing sessions and scrapbooking time in my planner.

I may take along some items to work toward other scrapping type stuff, like using my scraps to cut down for mats for photos or for inserting in divided page protectors (to hold embellishments, tags, or stickers, or journalling. Thanks for the motivation!!!