Scrapbooking for busy people - How to make it a hobby you can love AND maintain

[Heads up! This post includes a free download: Scrapbooking Habit Tracker!
Find the download link at the end of this post.]

Have you ever looked at a digital scrapbooking layout shared on social media, Pinterest or even in person, and thought, “That woman must have tons of free time, if she has time to create pages or albums like those”?

It’s natural to think that. After all, the pages probably look like they should take tons of time!

Thankfully, it’s not always the case with digital scrapbooking.

Yes, you could create pages from scratch, and those pages could be elaborate and complicated. Those pages could take hours to create.

But they don’t have to. In fact, you can create simple and elegant pages in very little time when you have the right tools to start.

Intrigued? Keep reading.N

Everyone is busy.

We all have 100 things we have to do. And if we don’t have 100 things we have to do, we have 100 things we want to be doing! So if someone stops and asks you, “Do you want to take on a new hobby?” many people will instinctively say, “I don’t have time for that!”

The good news is, while we’re busy, we’re also pretty great at managing a lot of tasks and finding ways to do them as quickly as possible.

We’re also good about making time for the things that matter to us, especially if those things touch our hearts in some way.

Make time for a friend for lunch? Absolutely.

Make time for date night with a partner? Sign me up.

Make time to watch a little one participate in a sporting activity, learn a new musical instrument, take an art class or sing in a choir? Wouldn’t miss it.

We find a way to enjoy the activities that touch our hearts.

All of those things matter to us on a level that is deeper than surface-level. So carving out time for them doesn’t seem like a chore. 

Engaging in activities that bring us joy sparks an increase of dopamine in our brains, which in turn drives us to seek more of that activity. So it’s not a stretch to say that if our brains and hearts find an activity that brings us joy, we will find a way to get more of that activity. We will make time for it.

Our photos and memories matter to us. They touch our hearts. And so, I believe that if you find an avenue for documenting your photos and memories that seems manageable and touches your heart, you’ll find a way to make time for it.

quote about making time for scrapbooking

Thankfully, you don’t have to make a lot of time for this hobby.

After you realize that preserving your favorite photos and memories is a heart project worth pursuing, you’ll start searching for an easy and enjoyable way to tackle the project. 

There are options, of course. 

You could create photo books. But then you realize you need to have an entire book done before you can enjoy it.

You could simply print your images. But then you’ll realize that those stacks of photos will just end up in a box somewhere, rarely to be enjoyed.

You could post photos on social media. The instant gratification of seeing people like your posts is fabulous — but then you realize that enjoying old photos is a royal pain, so you just don’t do it. 

You could create a page at a time and simply enjoy the pages you do get done, immediately upon printing. You could start a stack of layouts and find that, before you know it, you have enough for an album — or more. You can slip those pages into page protectors and group them into albums. You can flip through the albums at any time and enjoy the photos at a moment’s notice.

Ah-ha. This is sounding golden.

Enjoy your photos in just 20 minutes a day.

Creating a single scrapbook layout at a time — rather than trying to complete an entire album at once — is my best advice for making scrapbooking a manageable, enjoyable hobby that you can do in short bursts of time.

My next best advice? Break down the task into chunks.

If carving out an hour or two at a time to create scrapbook pages each week sounds like it’ll never happen, given your schedule, try working 20-minute sessions into your daily routine. Here is one way to do it:

Day 1: Decide what topic you want to document this week.

Find a photo or group of photos that speak to you, and then choose the best photos from the event that you’ll want to capture on a page. Gather the photos into a single folder where you will store all of the supplies for this layout (photos, journaling, etc.).

Day 2: Write out your journaling for the photos you chose on Day 1.

Think about what’s happening in the photos, and then write out the story as if you were telling a stranger about what was happening in them. Who’s in the photos? Why did you take the photos? Where were they taken? What’s happening? Why do you love the photos? Jot down the story and save the document in the same folder you created on Day 1.

Day 3: Pick and prep your template.

Here’s another HUGE time-saver! Use a template to start your layout. Doing so immediately cuts out at least an hour of work compared with creating a layout from scratch. The hardest, most time-consuming work is done for you, because you’re starting with a blueprint of the layout that is already prepped for your photos and stories.

On Day 3, choose a template — either one you have received as part of Story Squad membership or one you purchased at a digital scrapbooking store online — to use for your layout of the week. Go ahead and bring the photos you selected in Day 1 into the layout, and clip them into place. Also, add your journaling from Day 2 to the template.

Day 4: Pick your pack!

This one can get a little time-consuming, so it’s the single activity for the day — finding the kit of papers and elements you want to use with your photos. You might choose to purchase a kit online, or you might choose to use solid colors instead of patterned papers for backgrounds. Alternatively, you could consider scanning or photographing paper scrapbooking supplies (like patterned papers) to use digitally. 

Once you’ve selected your materials, save them in the same folder you created on Day 1.

Day 5: Make it your own!

Put your digital kit elements and papers into your template, and complete your layout. Be sure to then save the layered Photoshop document (.psd file), a full-size JPG and a social-media-sized JPG (1200px wide per page or so) of your layout. Post to social media, if desired, giving credit to the designer of the kits and template you used, if any.

This is a condensed version of The Story Squad 20-minute Plan for Creating 50+ Layouts a Year! Keep reading to see how you can get a copy of the full plan.

How to make 20 minutes a day a habit, not just a nice thought

“Yes, it sounds like a great idea to add 20 minutes to my daily routine, but I know it’ll never happen for me.” Do you hear yourself saying something like that?

If so, I have a little trick for you to turn the idea into a reality: You simply need a habit tracker! 

If you’re into bullet journals, exercise logs or healthy-eating motivators, you’ve probably seen something like this. A habit tracker is simply a one-page chart that has a series of circles that you use to document your progress on something. 

In the habit tracker I have prepared for you (which you can download here), you color in a little circle for every day that you included 20 minutes of progress on your photos and memories, such as by following the five-day plan I outlined above. As you color in circles, you can see the progress you’re making, and as you continue week after week, you can visually see that you’re building a habit — and a hobby — simply by showing up for yourself on a regular basis.

I recommend that you post the habit tracker in a visible location (like on the refrigerator or a bathroom mirror), so you see it regularly throughout the day. The more you see the tracker, the more you think about documenting your photos and memories, and the more likely you are to actually do so. It’s a beautiful thing, really!

As you can see, scrapbooking doesn’t have to be a chore — or something reserved for people who have tons of free time on her hands (because, honestly, who does?). This is something YOU can do, number one, because it will bring your heart joy, and number two, because you can use templates, a 20-minute plan and a habit tracker to work the hobby into your daily routine. So what do you say? Shall you get started? 

Download the habit tracker and 20-minute plan (one PDF that contains both resources) today! 

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

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