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My Week in The Life Project: Setting Myself Up for Success

Memory KeepingAnandiRCComment

It's been a while since I posted a project I made on Monday, and I hope to get back to that! But this week is going to be different - I'll be playing along with Ali Edwards' Week In The Life.

It's a one week photo/writing/scrapbooking project to capture as much as you can of your day-to-day life's details. I bought the album kit, so I also have a pretty gold album and sparkly bits to decorate the pages when I'm done.

You might remember I started this last year, and failed. I took a bunch of photos, but not as many as I would have liked. I got busy and stopped writing as much as I'd hoped to, and then we started our huge remodel and had to move out, so making an album slipped way down the priority list.

But this year I'm ready. I think the magic sauce is in the planning (and reminding myself that I spent $$ on a kit, so I'd better use it!).


Here's my process:

  1. Live life as usual
  2. Use Ali Edwards' Daily Sheets to capture hourly schedule, meals, quotes and thoughts
  3. Keep either my DSLR or phone camera with me at all times. Take lots of photos
  4. Use Google Keep on my phone to jot down additional notes when I'm out and about
  5. Upload photos nightly
  6. Blog about each day - bigger stories and thoughts + a few good photos
  7. Assemble the actual album in November, after the week is over, using the daily sheets, photos, my five year journal, and blog posts.

Things I did to set myself up for success:

  • I unpacked the album kit to see what is included, to get my mind thinking about how I want to present the info. RuKristin wrote a great unboxing process post.
  • I printed out the Daily Sheets, and put them on a clipboard on the kitchen counter with a pen attached to make it easy to write stuff down. The clipboard will travel with me in the house.
  • I charged my DSLR battery and my phone. Both the camera and phone are in the kitchen, ready to go.
  • I told my family that I was doing this project, and "warned" them about the photo storm about to arrive :) 
  • I read Ali Edwards' "getting ready" blog post and some of the other older WITL posts on her site.
  • While my Photoshop class was fresh in my mind, I created my own daily templates for the album (but this isn't required for the week). 

I think what's key for me to be successful is separating the Data Collection from the Presentation, to borrow some scientific words from my past life as a biochemist.

Some people approach WITL as a "real-time scrapbooking" project, where each evening they create the album pages for that day. The benefit is that by the end of the week, the album is mostly (if not completely) finished. 

I find that to be too stressful - not only do I have to sort through all of the documentation for that day, but I have to find the bigger stories AND think about how I want to lay them out in the context of the album.

I've mentioned before that I'm a pretty slow scrapper and I need time for ideas to "percolate" in my head, so a daily deadline like this just doesn't work for me. I need to focus on getting the data first, and writing up my thoughts each night. Then I'll look at the entire body of work and figure out what the album is going to look like.

Not everything is going to be included and there may be larger stories that span several days that only emerge when I look at everything together.

Once I figured out that I work best this way, it was a piece of cake to finish my December Daily 2012 album, which only came together in June 2013. But it worked for me, and it's one of my favorite projects to date.

So, are you doing Week in The Life? How are you setting yourself up for success?

I'd love to know what strategies you have for "remembering" to document as much as you can through a busy week!

See related posts at The Papercraft Lab