Stop Procrastination and Confusion – How To Create a Vision Board

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Today I’m going to give you a simple and effective tool that you can use to increase your productivity, improve your mood, stop procrastination, crush confusion, and bring you closer to your goals. I adapted this idea from one of Paul Reddick’s tips and ran with it to create my own success object. I call it a “Vision Board”. I spoke a bit about creating a vision board briefly in my post 5 Ways to Kick Ass Every Day, and I received some emails that prompted me to go into more detail, so here you go.

First of all, I’ll get into what I mean by a “Vision Board”. It’s really more of about taking a concept and making it concrete in a way that works for you, rather than a straight prescription. I know guys that keep things like a vision board on the desktop of their computer, while others use a whiteboard like I do (the picture above is my current vision board), and still others have a collection of sticky notes or note cards placed in strategic places around their house or office. A vision board is something on which you can place a list of goals, ideals, and focus points and post in a place where you are forced to see it often.

What Goes On a Vision Board?

It’s your board, so what you put on there is up to you, but there’s a few points that I make sure to keep on my vision board:

1. Your overarching vision. Where are you going? Sit down, take some real time, and think about where you want to go with your life. Every day time marches on, whether you’re improving or not, so are you getting closer to where you want to be every day? Write down, succinctly, where you want to go. Over time this may obviously change a bit and from time to time will probably need revisiting, but if it’s right there in bold print then you’ll always know where you should be heading. This can be more of a general vision or a concrete goal. For example, I have a general vision on my board as well as a concrete number figure that I will earn per year in the near future (I erased that in the pic as I don’t want to share financial info).

2. Write down why you are really doing what you’re doing and why you want that goal to take place. This helps cement your focus. It’s one thing to say “I want to make a million bucks”. That’s cool and all, but it’s a hollow goal if you don’t have a good reason why and deep down your motivation will know that it’s hollow. However, if it said “I want to make a million bucks because that’s the amount of money that will let me travel the world and explore my passion of understanding new cultures” then that would be different. NOW we’re getting somewhere.

3. Your short list of things that you KNOW you need to do to succeed in your goals. These are concrete, meat and potatoes things that you need to do in order to be successful. This helps you cut through the bullshit distractions and stop chasing your tail. For example, you see that I have a page minimum that I need to write every day to succeed. I know for a fact that if I write more, I achieve more success. Notice that I don’t have “check my email/Facebook/Twitter, etc” on there. While that stuff is fun and is a (at times) legitimate part of my business, it is also a huge time sink and the return on time invested is pretty low. I’m far more successful when I put my effort into high return on investment activities and stop chasing distractions.

4. Put up any quotes or reminders that you need. This isn’t the place to put “pick up the dry cleaning on Tuesday”. Instead it’s the place to put the little quotes that hit home for you. Dax Moy coined one of the best business phrases I’ve ever heard: “You get paid for done!”, and you better believe that I have that up there.

Why Should You Create a Vision Board?

So all that sounds cool and all, but really, why should you care? I mean, what’s a vision board really going to do for you?

Clarity: A vision board is your instant clarity device. You’re sitting at your computer, surfing away, and sort of ambling between websites. You’ve hit a bunch of places and grabbed some really cool ideas to implement. As a matter of fact, you’ve got so many new ideas swimming around in your head that you can’t figure out which one to get started with and so you end up doing nothing. Sound familiar?

Enter the vision board. Use it as a self-check. Measure each idea against your goals and ideals, which are staring you right square in the face. Which ideas bring you closer to your goals and mesh most strongly with your ideals? That’s where you put your energy.

Focus: There is nothing like a quick look at the vision board to bring you back to center. So you’re puttering around the house, ESPN’s on the TV, there’s music playing in the background, you’re trying to avoid mowing the lawn, and you’re reading the latest thing about Brett Favre making poor decisions, and suddenly you realize an hour has gone by and you’ve accomplished nothing. How often does that happen? Too often? A quick glance at the vision board is great to remind you of what you should be doing to get ahead.

Multiple Layers of Reinforcement: We all know that the more often you are exposed to an idea, the more secure you get in the information. We also know that different people learn in different ways. Creating the vision board hits both of those points to help cement your focus.

First, there’s the act of planning the board itself. Do you know why some professors in college allow you to create a “cheat sheet” for big exams? It’s not because they’re being nice. It’s usually not because they think you need to have that information in front of you, either. Actually, it’s because they’ve found that if students go through the effort of planning and writing out a cheat sheet then they usually end up studying and learning the information. Most people hardly end up using their cheat sheet. Think your prof was a head-in-the-sand, socially-clueless dumbass? Well, he just tricked you into studying.

Planning and writing your vision board does the same thing. It forces you to put your goals, visions, and success points into words and in front of you. That helps cement them in your mind.

Next is the actual act of writing the board out. Many people internalize information when they write it down, rather than just reading it. This is why a lot of people learn to study by copying their notes over and by creating flash cards. By writing out your vision board you are creating another neural connection to the information.

While you’re writing your board out read it out loud to yourself, and repeat this exercise once per day. Just as people learn by planning and writing, they also learn by hearing information. There’s a reason why the lecture format is so useful, and it’s not just because a lot of information can be delivered to many by one. Speaking your vision out loud is another way to bring it to the forefront of your mind.

Finally there’s the visual reminder of seeing the board regularly. In addition to providing focus and clarity, it helps reinforce your goals by brute repetition. If you look at this board 3-5 times per day, you WILL be more likely to internalize your focus points and pursue them to success.

There’s no question that the number one factor of success, whether it’s in business, fitness, relationships, school, or anything else is taking action. That should basically go without saying at this point. Taking action is made easier if there are tools in place that facilitate it, though, and that’s what this vision board is. It’s a tool that will focus and clarify your action if you chose to use it.






What do you think about the vision board idea? Post your thoughts and what’s on your vision board below!

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Comments on Stop Procrastination and Confusion – How To Create a Vision Board Leave a Comment

October 26, 2010

maki @ 10:44 pm #

Awesome post.

October 27, 2010

Isaac @ 1:46 pm #

Thanks bro!

stay @ 3:22 pm #

I have a vision board that I wake up to And go to sleep to every day. It helps with putting my goals into fruition. I have picked up a few more tips on here to add to my vision board! Love this! Thanks!

Isaac @ 4:27 pm #

I really like the idea of it being the first and last thing you see before you go to sleep. That starts your day off right and also let’s your mind work in the direction you’re seeking while you sleep. Great tip!

November 5, 2010

mom @ 12:40 am #

Great work you are doing, my son! Love MOM.

Isaac @ 10:14 pm #

LOL. Thanks, Mom.

See guys? It doesn’t matter if Mom doesn’t approve!

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