© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. In this paper, we design and study two modifications of the first order standard pressure increment projection scheme for the Stokes system. The first scheme improves the existing schemes in the case of open boundary condition by modifying the pressure increment boundary condition, thereby minimizing the pressure boundary layer and recovering the optimal first order decay. The second scheme allows for variable time stepping. It turns out that the straightforward modification to variable time stepping leads to unstable schemes. The proposed scheme is not only stable but also exhibits the optimal first order decay. Numerical computations illustrating the theoretical estimates are provided for both new schemes.