Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fitting It All In - Tips, Questions, and a Wrap-Up...

Hello there and happy Friday! Welcome back to the Fitting It All In series here at PurpleMailbox. If you missed the previous posts, you can check them out here:

Oh yes - and don't forget, I have created a button for my sidebar that will get you to a page that contains this series in its entirety, from beginning to end. Easy peasy!

Alrighty!  That, my friends, brings me to our official wrap-up of this series. And, what better way to do it than with a post full of reader tips, along with a Q&A?

I have loved each and every comment throughout this series and all of the helpful tips shared as well. Without further ado....

Here they are...

Reader Tips:

Ashley Horton says:

I think we find time for what we are passionate about. Some people are passionate about sports, cooking, fishing, reading, traveling, tv...and they find or make time for those things in their life. We all have some down time in our lives at some point during the day, and it's what we choose to do with it. There are other interests that I also enjoy and I know I can't squeeze all of those in, plus my daily job as a stay at home mom and homeschool teacher, so I rotate and manage what I do on different days. And, I have also found, that if I need some me time, that the world isn't going to explode if the dishes don't make it in the dishwasher one day or all of the clothes in the laundry basket don't get washed!! :)
Maura has this to add:

Some days I just have to choose to play over doing other things, so I have learned along the way that things don't need to be perfect in my home. If someone else is driving, I use that time to check out stuff on the net, Pinterest, etc. some days it is just getting in 10-15 minutes, or maybe painting something so it will dry overnight. We just need our own play time!!


It is really good to take stock of what you do every once in awhile. I often fit in 10 or 15 minutes when I can't do more just to keep my creativity going. It might be painting something to let it dry overnight, but then i don't have to wait later on it. I fit more creative time in during the weekends, and when I go to a crop. I find it helps me to have a chunk of time to work in. Other times, I choose to read a book or watch a show with my husband, or get together with friends. I guess what it all boils down to, is when I make creativity a priority in my life, that is when I do it! Thanks for sharing your ideas on this. i always love what you come up with!!
Rebecca offers this:

Lists are good, I do make lists A LOT! I actually set time aside on Friday nights (if I can keep my eyes open) and Saturday nights for my craft time with LOTS of coffee :) Sometimes I'm up until the wee hours, but when I'm doing what I love, I don't even realize the time. On Sundays it is our family day so I craft when I can get a chance, a little here and there. During the week is tough but this is the time to make my dream list of what I want to accomplish for the times I can get a quick minute to sew, glue, paint, or cut in.

Mary Jo has this insight:

I think it's all about priorities truthfully.
But life doesn't always allow us to do what we want.
I wanted so badly to scrapbook last week, but my daughter was sick.
It just had to wait.
Aeryn had this fabulous idea:

I've found that timing myself while making a card or scrapbook layout has helped keep my ADHD brain from drifting. I'm very competitive so I'm wanting to beat the previous time every time I create a new project.
Michelle gets going with sketches:

I've been trying to use the most of my small increments of time, too, though sometimes I struggle with starting up where I left off. Sometimes when I can't think of that initial idea of how to start a page, I'll use a sketch if I don't have the time to play around. It helps to have a general idea of where to lay things out, and then I usually change it up once the foundations are set!

I just love each and every one of these! So many creative idea, thanks everyone!

Now, how about some Q&A?
I think my biggest struggle is GUILT. I do try to fit it all in job, house, COOKING, family, activities, fitness, commuting two hours a day. BUT wow sometimes, ha... a lot of times I don't want to do ANY of it and just create. How do you sort out the guilt factor?

I schedule in the "have-to's." I have a specific day each week that I do the laundry, the mopping, the vacuuming, etc. That way, when I notice a dirty floor and it's not Friday, I don't worry about it. Why? Well, I know that on Friday that will get done. This is all within reason, of course. I do have kids, and pets, and well - messes happen. Sometimes BIG messes. So, if I need to, I will clean before the designated day. However, the "I am vacuuming because it is a good idea to keep up with that" sort of cleaning happens on it's designated day. Knowing that there is a time that I will get to it, takes the guilt out of it for me.

Free time is pretty much the bulk of my time. Married, no kids, disabled, blah blah blah. My priority list is high on the creative, but how do you *schedule* creative. Writing is very high up there, but I never seem to find the time. How do I schedule this in without feeling forced into something so organic? I have severe ADHD so I feel that I'm just not taking advantage of the "blessing" that I've been given of staying home all the time.

The first thing that comes to mind, is to put your creative time in your "schedule" during those times of the day that you generally feel most inclined to do it. And - since you are blessed to stay home and have a more open schedule... you could even put the creative time in your order of events several times a day. This doesn't mean you have to actually use it, but at least having it in there might give you more "permission" to go ahead and do it. And, since you love writing, you could prioritize that first.

For instance...
Creative Time
Random chores, etc
Creative Time

Of course, I have no idea if the above list fits your lifestyle at all... lol, but - perhaps it could be a good jumping off point.

You also mentioned ADHD... perhaps a large block of time wouldn't work best for you? Maybe you could try writing or creating in smaller blocks of time scattered throughout the day?

Or perhaps you could do more multi-tasking. For instance... while you are waiting for water to boil, you could do some writing, or create a base for a card? 
How do you deal with the "too tired, don't feel like it, i'll do it tomorrow"... do you ever force yourself to be creative? I know you can't force ideas and inspiration, but do you ever find that you're forcing yourself to sit down and do something creative - or to at least start something?

That seems to be my biggest issue... I have entirely too much going on that's non-negotiable ... Work, housekeeping, pets, expecting a baby, schoolwork, etc... My biggest complaint is that when I do get the time, i'm "insert excuse here" - whatever that might be. How do you deal with that?

The short answer to your question is.... yes! I "force" myself quiet a bit, but only because once I get over the initial hump of not feeling like it, I usually get in a groove and if I don't and am hating every minute, I stop. Many times if I don't feel like it and just can not get into it, but want to so bad, I will do something more passive... watch a craft video, organize a supply, etc. 

I often find that spending just a short amount of time on a "passive" activity can spark something in me that has me wanting to run to the studio!

Also, having some sort of accountability has been really helpful to me. Being on design teams and having the blog has been a great sort of motivation. Those deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, are certainly a good dose of healthy motivation! :)

How do you fit in time for and manage online classes? You know, the videos and pdf's... the projects... do you generally do all the "assignments" for an online class or just the ones to speak to you?

It depends, on a lot, really. It depends on the instructor, the website that the class is offered through, what I hope to get out of the class, etc...

Let's dive a little deeper into that...

When I am considering whether or not to enroll in a class, I am considering many factors:

How much do I enjoy the instructor's work? 
I am more inclined to purchase a class from an instructor who's work I find inspiring. That being said, there are plenty of instructors out there who's style isn't anywhere near mine, but I happen to know that they are very skilled at delivering inspiration and I will be inspired regardless. The flip side of this is there are several instructors who's work I LOVE, but perhaps their style of teaching doesn't speak to me as much. If the content looks awesome and there are plenty of videos, I will take the class. But, I know that I will more than likely just look at the material and not participate as much.

What is the level of involvement the instructor will have?
This is a personal thing, but I have found that I am much more inclined to actively participate in a class when the instructor does as well. I am paying for their insight and their "time" in a sense and if I know they will be there, then so will I.

Is there an easy to use forum where students can and will interact with one another?
Just like I mentioned above, if the instructor is active, the students usually are. When the students are active, the energy of the class is just stronger and lends itself to more motivated participation on my part.

Are there assignments or is it more inspiration driven?
I am more likely to participate with every little detail of a class if it is presented as an "assignment." I find it motivating. This is a totally personal thing as well, but it's good to know yourself and know what you will respond to. This doesn't mean I will dismiss a course without assignments. But, I tend to approach them differently. For instance, I recently signed up for a workshop that is more inspiration driven and less focused on specific assignments. I watched all of the videos at once and then let the information simmer around the ole brain for a while. Once I had a good handle on all of it, I created a couple of layouts that were inspired by the content from the course.

Are there videos?
I am not going to sign up for a class that doesn't have videos. Period. That's just me. If there aren't videos, I am not going to be motivated to dive in.

Is it self-paced or live?
If it is self-paced, I am much less likely to complete the class, or to even make any projects based on the class. I am totally ok with that, though. In fact, I have indeed purchased plenty of self-paced classes knowing that I am simply buying video content. 

What about the PDF's?
I'll be honest... I hardly ever read them. I will open them and look at the pictures, but I rarely read them in their entirety. I know that has to be so annoying to the instructors that put SO much time and effort into a beautiful PDF. But for me, the videos, message boards, and email prompts that go with the class are usually plenty for me.

Once I have chosen a class and I know how I am going to approach it, I simply fit it in the same way I do all my other crafting. 

So... to sum it all up, know what will work best for you and choose your classes to fit in those parameters.

You mentioned that you have your photos already printed and in a box for scrapping. How often do you print them? I tend to use sketches or scrap-lift a basic layout I spot online. So, by the time I start thinking about using pics from an event, the "thrill" is gone when it comes to running to the store, printing them in different sizes, etc. I'd really like to hear more about your photo printing process.

When I download my photos, I sort them immediately. I delete what I don't want, then I sort the rest into files. One of the files is a "to print." Once I have 50-60 photos in my "to print" file, I upload them to and place an order. I order mostly 4x6. If I have multiple photos of an event and know for a fact that I want them smaller in order to scrap, I go ahead and order them smaller. However, I tend to not have my pages planned out that far in advance. So, I order 4x6 knowing that I can possibly trim them down, if need be.

Once the prints arrive, I have a box that is divided up by my scrapbook album titles... one for each child, one for family, one for me, etc... The photos get filed in their appropriate section. Easy!

I did treat myself to an Epson Picturemate last year for when I am in a pinch and want a photo at a moment's notice or really need a picture smaller.

I am so fascinated by all of the tips and ideas you have presented through your series. The only thing is... I just don't work that way. I am not sure how realistic any of this is to implement in my life. Do you have any tips on adapting this to those of us that just can't manage to work in small increments of time?

I think the best way to look at this is to make the most of what you have available to you. Perhaps you just can't get into doing a layout in little bits of time, but you know that you can grab a few hours on Friday night, like our reader tip above? I would try working out a list of ideas or downloading some sketches during the week so that when you do have your chunk of time, you are able to make the most of it. Another thing to think about is the fact that some scrapping is better than none at all. So, while it may not be ideal, fitting it in is better than not engaging at all in something you are passionate about.

You mentioned that you keep your stash small and that, in and of itself, helps you to cut down on the time it takes you to create. On a practical level, how do you resist all of that buying temptation, choose just what you know you will use, and put it to good use as you create?

Know your style. Knowing what you like and what you will use helps tremendously when making purchases. For instance, I LOVE all of those pretty cork embellishments. But, for some reason, I struggle to get them on a page. So, I don't buy them.

Choose paper over embellishments. Oh, that is SO hard! But, most of the patterned papers in a collection can be cut down to create your own page accents without breaking the bank. Plus embellies can be hard to store and sort through, thus taking up valuable crafting time.

Give yourself a waiting period. You know the drill. New items arrive in the shop at your favorite online store. You quickly begin checking it all out and fall in love with every single thing. Especially the embellishments. They are SO cute, after all. Every item makes it into your cart. I do this ALL.THE.TIME! Hey - don't judge... it's fun. Here is the key. DON'T buy it right away. Wait. 12 hours, 24, or more. Chances are, you will find that you "need" those things less and less. But what if they sell out? Yes, that does happen. However, they will make more paper, I promise :)

Use what you buy. It sounds simple, but if you are buying more than you scrapbook, then stop buying. If I have had a paper in my stash for a few months and haven't considered using it... I either know that I over bought or perhaps misjudged my style when purchasing the paper. Buy it, use it, enjoy it!


That's a wrap!

What's with all the random detail shots? You know I can't have a post with this many words and NOT include pictures! HA! And, I tried to make them relevant in some way. Sort of :)

Thanks so much for joining me as we journeyed through this series. Here's to making the most of our time and getting our craft on as much as possible!


  1. alright, wow!

    first of all, thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions, especially my last minute one this afternoon. lol... just something I've been thinking about a lot lately because I have a love-hate relationship w/ online classes.

    in regards to priorities and motivation, definitely... what we're passionate about is what we make time for. the one thing that I haven't let slide is the "document the bump" series that I've been doing on my blog each week. I don't want to miss a week because I'm planning to compile it all into an album, so I get it done, one way or another - even if it means a late night. lol...

    starting something is usually motivating in and of itself. i've definitely noticed that if I can force myself just to spend some time in my room, I can manage to get something done.

    keeping up w/ my studio sunday blog posts also forces me to do atleast something creative each week.

    I know what you mean about accountability... I made a list not too long ago of all the online classes i've signed up for and crossed off the ones i've finished - basically, I realized that if the class offered forever-access, well... I never so much as even looked at it. the classes that were only limited access? done - every video watched/every pdf read. lesson learned. lol...

    and, last but not least, in regards to having a stash - i've noticed that as long as i'm shopping, i'm generally not scrapbooking. I seem to go in spurts. lol... the more time I spend on message boards, the less I scrapbook and the more I shop. scary thought! note to self: spend less time online and more time in my studio.

    again, thanks for this series and for answering questions. sorry to write a book in your comments, but I wanted to contribute something useful to the discussion. lol... ;)

    have a great weekend!

  2. Ashli, this was such a great series!
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    It seems like a lot of us are in the same boat as far as time management.
    And I have realized that when I am really truthful with myself about how I spend my time, well there really is more time to do the things I want :)

  3. great blog post~I'm reading it twice:):)

  4. Great wrap up to an amazing series!! Thanks for taking the time to read and compile all these tips and q&a's !

  5. Thanks for a great little series. It has certainly made me think. I'm lucky and have part-time work, older kids, and plenty of time. BUT I don't use it well: there's always something to clean, shopping to be done, admin to be sorted, laundry, ironing, gardening, DIY, and I love to scrap, blog, surf, socialise with friends, visit my elderly mum, read and watch TV. And suddenly it never seems like I have enough time!

    My notes and lists have shown me that I need to prioritise and focus. Setting time limits on reading my friends' blogs, on forum time and on Facebook would be a start. Planning my blog posts and scrapbook pages is another thing I must do. Scheduling my chores (and sticking to the schedule) would help, as would some meal planning, which would streamline grocery shopping! See - the ideas are buzzing. Thank you :-D

    1. Thank you so very much for your sweet comment!!! And, thanks for reading :)


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