I'm a firm believer that scrapbooking should be fun, easy, and painless. Back in the day, I used to spend MUCH more time agonizing over each page, wanting everything to be perfect, creating complicated layouts with painstaking details. I realize now that the most important part of scrapbooking for me is the pictures- not all the fluff on the page. Don't get me wrong, I like a little bit of fluff, but if it means the difference between getting it done happily or leaving the pictures forever on my computer- I choose getting it done. I know everyone who scraps has their own system and their own reasons for doing so, this is just mine.
So...here's my process.
First. I organize all my pictures and decide what will go on each layout (I almost always do 2 page spreads).
I then pick ALL my papers and spend some time doing all the "prep work" This includes anything I print on the computer or cut with my Silhouette. I do most of my journaling on the computer so it's easy to just take my stack of paper and pictures over to the computer and knock it out in one sitting. I think this really saves time in the long run. I find as long as I've got a general idea of where my photos are going I can journal and print right on the paper in advance.
Then I crop and attach EVERYTHING! Now I've got very basic layouts completed. As you can see below, this stage is just paper and printed titles and journaling. And yes- I am one of the lonely few who scrap in 81/2 by 11 size. This is because I LOVE printing right on the page- it's just so easy!