When I am often asked how I get so much done, I usually think to myself, "I dunno. I am an anti-time management guru."
But because inquiring minds want to know what I do, I've decided I'll share a trick or two that I have figured out to help me with my anti-time management ways.
Not too long ago, I learned about the Kolbe A Index assessment test, which is designed to help you identify how you work best. When I got the results back, I was relieved to learn that I wasn't a lazy dolt because I hate – and actually refuse – to use time planners. I learned that it isn't necessary for me to change what I am doing in vain efforts to increase my productivity. Instead, it was necessary that I respect my "MO" – my modus operandi – and use it to my advantage. I've learned that if I fight my MO, the internal conflict I feel overwhelms me - and I fall apart.
I won't go into everything I learned about myself in this article, but I will share the results that are pertinent to my learning how best to manage my time and surroundings.
When I am working on things, I have a need to see and easily reach what I will use. Knowing this, I have stopped getting upset at myself when my office periodically explodes. I have observed that once the project is over, I voluntarily clean up the mess as a signal to myself that it is time to move onto something else.
I like to do several things at once.
I like to deal with tasks as they arise.
It is stressful for me to follow rigid rituals or to put up with step-by-step procedures. If I find myself in a situation in which I am supposed to do things in a certain way and in a certain order, I am likely to procrastinate.
It is stressful for me to have to repeat myself.
It is stressful for me to adhere to redundant systems.
It is stressful for me to be overly scheduled. (Thus the extreme aversion to time-planning books and software.)
Because I tend to move from project to project without finishing them and because I like to move fast, it is helpful to me if I give myself internal deadlines. Setting internal goals (I will get this set of files done before 11:00 a.m.) creates a game-like atmosphere for me. As a result, I will automatically push myself to beat the deadline so that I can win the game.
When I am working on big projects, I need to skip from one thing to the next one without finishing whenever I start to feel fatigued. It is better for me to work on a chunk of something and then circle back to it again when my mind is fresh.
If I am working against my grain, I am not only unhappy, I am unproductive.
Once I realized that it is okay for me to work my way, I began to work on developing a "schedule" that isn't actually a schedule at all. After awhile, I came up with something that works fairly well. I call a "blocked schedule."
I always carve out time in the morning to keep myself in tune with the Lord. This is the one thing I always do – no matter what. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
Because I am always worried about the company, I have discovered that I will never relax in the morning until I have checked my email to make sure that it hasn't blown up on me overnight. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.) I do this checking via my iPad (because it's hard to type long emails on it). Once my morning email session is complete, I can go onto the most important portion of my day – my morning project block - without worrying that I am missing something critical. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
I work on the projects that take the most brain power in the morning. Each day, I select one important thing to do, and this is when I do it. I have learned that if I don't carve out time in the morning to work on these important projects, I find that I get so distracted by my preference to get things done as they appear that I won't meet my daily goal. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
I do my best to schedule meetings and phone calls in the afternoon so that they won't interfere with my valuable morning project time.
If I go to the computer in the evening, I try to limit myself to creative activity (such as designing), as it is refreshing and cleans out my mind. If I slip and start working on business items, I am sunk as a skunk that has fallen down into a dry well because once this dog has a business-bone, I can't let go of it until it is consumed. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
Before I begin my wind-down time, I like to look at non-business blogs. I do this from my iPad because it is hard to do anything but look at the websites. If I did this on the computer, I would start working on business items and the dog would be chewing on a bone that shouldn't have been licked until the next day. (Yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
I try to read something completely unrelated to work – usually fiction – before bed. This helps my mind unplug. (Anything I can do to unplug my mind is welcome because... yes, I am obsessed. I admit it.)
So now that I have told you all about my blocked schedule, I will confess to you that I wander away from it nearly every day because it is my MO to do so!
Muse: To be absorbed in one's thoughts; engage in meditation. Not intended to solve the world's problems, another person's problems, or to cover topics completely. One does not have to agree with musings to enjoy them, just as one does not have to be the same as someone else to appreciate who they are.
Would you like to earn a $20 Gift Certificate? Send your own muse to [email protected]. If it is selected for publication in the Scrap Girls newsletter, you'll get to have fun shopping!
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Big Picture and Details
Note: Tutorial created using Photoshop CS5 with Windows 7.
When photographing, it's a good idea to take a variety of pictures that will help tell your story. Shoot your subject in its entirety to set the scene. Then get close in and take pictures of significant details like a close-up of your subject's face wearing a dazzling smile; or zoom in on those colorful Easter eggs your kids painted to showcase the designs. Photos showing both the big picture and the details of the event will make your scrapbooking page more interesting visually, plus it better captures the memory of that moment.
Let me show you what I mean. My layout is about my daughter and our trip to the beach a couple of years ago. My journaling talks about how much she enjoyed playing in the sand and digging her toes in it.
In the layout below (Layout A), I used three photos of my daughter. Notice that the photos are similar in composition, and I used no close-ups of any kind.
Now compare Layout A with Layout B below. In Layout B, I included close-up photos of my daughter's feet and hands in the sand. Wouldn't you agree that this layout supports my journaling more effectively and better captures the spirit of the moment?
The next time you are taking photographs, just remember to take lots of shots. Shoot the entire scene as well as close-ups of your subjects and the surrounding scenery. A good balance of these two types of photos on your scrapbook page will go a long way in helping you tell your story.
Layout by Armi Custodio
Article written by Armi Custodio
Join the Scrap Girls Monthly Club and you can have fun with the newest traditional digital and printable scrapbooking looks while saving! (A $40.87 value for $9.99 or less!)
The Scrap Girls Club contents are released on the 1st day of the month (or the closest business day to the 1st).
With the Scrap Girls Club, you will receive:
- 1 Collection Biggie
- 1 Paper Super Mini
- 1 Word Art Mini
- 1 Embellishment Mini
- 1 Assemble Your Own Zoom Page Set
- 1 Designer's Choice Item
May's Scrap Girls Club designed for you by Brandy Murry
But that's not all! Club members now receive these three exclusive, club-only items!
Club Exclusive! JIFFY Easy Page Album
Club Exclusive! Designer's Gift
and a Club Exclusive! Color Palette
Combining ScrapSimple Paper Templates
Note: Tutorial created using Adobe Photoshop CS4 with Windows 7
ScrapSimple Paper Templates were some of the first digital scrapbooking products I purchased when I first started scrapping digitally. I saw such versatility in them and loved the idea of being able to use them to create unique papers for my layouts. If you look in the top right corner of most of the ScrapSimple Paper Templates marketing images, you'll see this little phrase: "Combine patterns for even more designs, build unique sets by collecting and combining different paper templates patterns." I want to show you how to do this quickly and easily!
I was working with some bright and colorful birthday pictures of my son. I wanted a nice bright yellow paper to mat the photos, but couldn't find the exact pattern I was looking for. I knew it was time to get a little creative with some templates!
I chose ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Rough and Tumble which has some nice, versatile patterns and textures. I also chose ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Fingerpaints because I've found that it not only adds a cute fingerpainted look to papers, but it also can add some soft texture when combined with other templates. Here are the steps you can take to create the same paper I created for my birthday layout.
First, create a layer and fill it with your color of choice. I used the Color Picker Tool and chose a nice yellow from my pictures. Then I used the Paint Bucket Tool to fill in the entire layer with yellow.
Drag a ScrapSimple Paper Template onto your canvas and make sure it is above the layer of solid color in your Layers Palette. Then simply adjust the Blending Mode until you like what you see. Some common Blending Modes to use with ScrapSimple Paper Templates are "Multiply," "Screen," and "Overlay," but try them all! It's fun and exciting to anticipate how each Blending Mode will change the look of your paper! My first layer is set to "Soft Light" with the Opacity adjusted to 60%.
A fun way to create a unique paper with ScrapSimple Paper Templates is by simply duplicating a template layer and rotating it. Select your template layer to highlight it and then click Ctrl+J to create a duplicate. Then go to Edit> Transform> Rotate 90º to rotate the duplicated layer.
Adjust the Blending Modes and Opacity on the duplicated layer until you're happy with the new results. My duplicated layer is set to "Screen" at 50%.
Next, you can add another ScrapSimple Paper Template to start combing different looks and creating totally new ones! From ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Rough and Tumble, I chose the "SmallStripes" template in the hope of creating a more interesting plaid-look to my paper. The Blending Mode on this layer is set to "Overlay" with Opacity at 75%.
Why not duplicate and rotate that layer as well and see what happens? I have the Blending Mode on the duplicated layer set to "Hard Light" at 85%.
Now I've got a nice cheery yellow plaid that I quite like. For a little more texture, I'll add one more ScrapSimple Paper Template to the top of my Layers Palette. This one is from ScrapSimple Paper Templates: Fingerpaint with the Blending Mode set to "Soft Light" at 85%.
If you love the paper you've created, save it to your stash of digital scrapbooking supplies so you can use it again on another layout! Combining ScrapSimple Paper Templates is an easy and creative way to personalize papers for specific layouts. Because of their endless possibilities and combinations, ScrapSimple Paper Templates are a great investment for your digital scrapbooking projects.
Layout by Ang Campbell
This last product is included in this month's Scrap Girls Club offering. Members receive a substantial discount on these club supplies. They are also available elsewhere in the Boutique at regular prices for those individuals who would rather not join a club.
Article written by Ang Campbell
Learn to make digital scrapbooking layouts and more! – Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Find out how easy it can be to learn how to create digital scrapbook layouts, edit photos, use and make brushes, recolor papers and embellishments, make your own simple backgrounds and embellishments, save and share your layouts and much more!
Ready to learn advanced techniques? – MORE Scrapbook Software Secrets Revealed
Learn to use paper templates, embellishment templates, custom shapes, styles, and brushes to make your own supplies. Learn advanced clipping mask and lighting blend techniques. Learn to make and use patterns. Learn to make brushes from your own doodles. Learn to extract images from photos. Learn work flow techniques that will speed up the layout creation process and advanced photo editing skills and much, much more!
Layout by Cheré Edwards
Designer Freebie by Cheré Edwards coordinates with her Purpose Collection Mini
Today's freebie designed by Cheré Edwards
* There is a "free download" button on the details page for each gift. You don't need to put them in your shopping cart unless you are shopping for other items. Also note that if you are slow reading your newsletter, you may find this freebie has already been retired, as the freebies are only available as gifts for about two newsletter cycles.
What's New in the Boutique Chat
Friday, May 13th - 9:00AM MT
Join April (April Showers) at 9am MT on Friday morning to chat about all the wonderful new products in the Scrap Girls Boutique! What are your favorite new items? Is your shopping basket full? What did you kaboodle? Have you already done layouts or other projects with your new goodies? Come tell the designers how much you love their work. You never know who will show up. There's a thread every Thursday and now there's a chat, too!
Recipe Swap Chat
Saturday, May 14th - 7:00PM MT
Join Carla (CRS) and Lei (Bride) at 7pm MT in the chat room for our Monthly Recipe Swap Chat. Please check the message board the Thursday before the chat for this month's theme and the swap details!
Quote Challenge Crop
Monday, May 16th - 7:00PM MT
Come join Pat (PBarnes) for the Quote Challenge Crop at 7pm MT. Including a quote on your layout can be a touching and meaningful addition, especially if you use the quote to create your own word art. Here's how it will work. Early on Monday, Pat will post a thread on the Chat section of the board giving you a quote that you may use to make your own word art. It's not hard, and she will have a layout with a Word Art example in the gallery. Then we'll meet in the chat room to have fun, chat, and create our Word Art layout! Everyone can participate and create a layout, even if you can't make the chat. Hope to see you there!
New Member Chat - Early Edition
Tuesday, May 17th - 1:00PM MT
Faith Journey Chat
Tuesday, May 17th - 6:00PM MT
Join Elisha (elibar) and Lei (Bride) for a Faith Journey Chat on the third Tuesday of each month at 6pm MT. All faiths are welcome! We'll be chatting and scrapping about our individual faith walk and how we also walk together. Watch the message board for this month's topic of discussion, and if you like - create a layout based on the topic!
Life Moments Chat
Tuesday, May 17th - 7:00PM MT
Join Lei (Bride) for the May installment of Life Moments chat. Our topic will be Outdoor Fun! With the weather finally turning nicer here in Michigan, my hubby and I are chomping at the bit to get our camping gear out and start planning some trips. So I thought it would be fun to scrap "Outdoor Fun!" Does your family love to camp, go to the beach or lake, hike, fish or have big family barbecues? Whatever your idea of "outdoor fun," let's scrap about it!!
May Message Board Game: Spotlight on the Boutique!
Each day during May (with the exceptions of Sundays), a member of the Welcoming Committee will post a layout in the official game thread. The layout will correspond with a product in the Scrap Girls Boutique and will be either the only layout or directly to the right of the product image on the product details page. A spotlight circle will show a portion of the layout you are to search for. If the layout is not identified by the following morning, a second spotlight circle will be added to the layout. This will be repeated until the product is identified.
To participate, search the Boutique for the layout and post a link to the product page in the official game thread. One guess per member per day. The winner will be drawn from all members who correctly identify a product throughout the month. The winner will receive a $10 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
For complete details, visit the Monthly Message Board Games folder on the Scrap Girls Message Board.
May Monthly Layout Contest: What's blooming in your yard, garden, or neighborhood right now? For those in the northern hemisphere, it would be spring flowers. For those in the southern hemisphere, it would be flowers of the fall variety. For May's layout contest, show us what's blooming in your neck of the woods or show us photos of your favorite flowers. Post your layouts in the May Monthly Layout Gallery before Midnight MT on May 31st. Be sure to list your credits in the description or under the EXIF Properties. If your layout is one of the two chosen, you will win a $10 gift certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
Club Concepts Layout Contest: Post your new layout using the current club selection (either the Scrap Girls Club or the ScrapSimple Club) in our Scrap Girls Club Members Gallery or the ScrapSimple Club Members' Gallery. Be sure to list all of the Scrap Girls products you used. If your layout is chosen, it will be showcased as a Club Concepts layout winner, and you will win a $5 Gift Certificate to the Scrap Girls Boutique!
Check our message board calendar if you have any questions about what is happening at Scrap Girls. All event times are given in Mountain Time Zone unless otherwise noted. Need help converting time zones? Check out the World Clock - Time Zone Converter. (Use 'USA-Utah-Salt Lake City' as the location for the Mountain time zone.)
Haven't received your prize as a contest winner? Please send an email to [email protected] and we'll get it out to you right away!