I create the first draft without adhesive nor cropping and I walk away. I need time to digest what I've done and to revisit it with a fresh pair of eyes before I commit to the design. I usually take a photo with my phone so I have the raw page to reference as the layout evolves.
When I return to the project, usually the next day, I do a little tinkering and then I start cropping, inking and gluing. During this session, I usually rearrange things to see if there is a better way to say what I want to say, and if not, I just refer to my photo to return to the original plan. Then I walk away again.
The third session is usually my last although I always have post layout tweaks. A lot of times I deconstruct the layout and use the core in a different way. Often I switch out the background paper or turn the design horizontal versus vertical. This is also when I add my journalling, doodling and other "risky" touches. It never fails - I almost always wreck something during this phase. Either I smudge ink or tear a paper or put down a stamp that doesn't imprint correctly. So this is when I change the design a little to cover up my boo boos. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I keep hoping I'll outgrow it.
I don't do this for every layout mind you. And almost never with mini albums. Sometimes I sit down with a stack of photos and crank out multiple pages in a short period of time. Usually these layouts include store bought 3-D embellishment or standard cricut cuts and minimal journalling. I like this process too. There certainly is a feeling of satisfaction in putting the pages in the sleeves right away!