• How to Make a Vision Board


    Maybe you’ve seen them trending on TikTok, or if you’re a millennial like me, you’ve seen them on Instagram Reels a few weeks later, but it’s that time of the year when vision boards are up trending. The beginning of a new year helps a lot of people adopt the mentality of “to start”. I mean, NEW year could easily translate to FRESH START. Regardless of the time of the year, anytime is the best time to think about what you want out of life, no matter how big or how small. So, with that said, where do vision boards fall into this?

    Aside from a fun crafting activity, creating a vision board is about establishing your intention setting for the year, the next six months, the next three years, and so on! You are taking the time to mentally and emotionally outline what YOU care about. What things matter to you?

    What changes do you want to see in your life? What do you want your life to feel like? What do you want to focus on?

    I recently hosted my first vision board party and was surprised by how many people didn’t know what they were. Sure, it may not be hard to quickly come up with something you want to do – “Hey, I want to read more this year!” “I want to work on my mental health!” “I want to create and stick to a budget!” – but when you take the time to think about what you want, those things tend to stick. Plus, you might be surprised by what comes to mind when you allow yourself to be honest about what truly matters to you.

    In this article, I’m going to explain why vision boards help you meet your goals (& a little psychology behind them), as well as the steps to create your own. So whether you get a group of friends together to host your own vision board party, or you put on your favorite movie with all of your art supplies and start cutting out a magazine, let’s create a vision board and watch the pieces fall into place for your life.

    So… why make a vision board?

    In simple terms, taking the time to think about what you want, and what goals you want to set for the year, and then laying out a visual representation of these things, helps keep you focused on what matters most to you. See, by setting the intention with yourself, so tying these dreams/goals/wants/needs to you on a sentimental level, you’ve created an emotional tether for why they’re important to you. The visual reinforcement of seeing your board acts as a constant reminder. You are setting the stakes. This is your story after all.

    If that hasn’t sold you, there’s a collection of neurons in your brain called the Reticular
    Activating System (RAS) that essentially filters out information that doesn’t pertain to you. I’m not going to give you the super long-winded full neuroscience explanation of your RAS, but if you’re curious, check out this resource from the National Library of Medicine. Put in simplest terms, you are basically signaling to your brain to only focus on these things because you’re constantly feeding your mind what’s on your vision board, assuming you’re putting it
    somewhere the eye can see. 😉

    Ok ok ok, you’ve sold me. How do I make one?

    Well, the fun part about making a vision board is that there’s no one-size-fits-all. You can create one online, whether through Canva or simply finding your favorite things on the internet (hello Pinterest!) and adding them to a Word Doc. Maybe you’ll make it your laptop background, maybe you’ll print it – again no wrong way!

    If the digital route isn’t your style, then there’s the classic cut & glue! Grab those old magazines sitting on your shelf that you’ve questioned for years why you haven’t recycled, ask your local library if you can take last month’s expired magazines, heck, print out those specific things you want to include off the inter-webs and bring it allllllllllll to the board.

    Maybe you have a few pics, maybe you’re cutting out phrases, maybe you’re getting creative and cutting out literal letters to spell out your goals – create and lay your vision board out the best way you see fit.

    But before you jump into all the crafting fun, it’s best to take some time to journal out what ARE the dreams/goals/wants/needs you want to focus on. There are plenty of resources online, but if you want a little help to get you started, I created a resource that gives you different prompts to consider for things like personal growth, professional development, spiritual health, mental health, physical health, relationships…. The list goes on! You can download that here.

    Journaling is something that I’m trying to work on as part of my routine myself. If you take the time to muse on these ideas through journaling or other means that work for you, I promise you will find some level of motivation toward what’s on your vision board.

    SOOOOOO are vision boards magical? Nah. Vision boards aren’t made of magic! The magic comes from you. When you start acting on these dreams & goals and start focusing on them, things begin to happen. You meet people who open doors. You research things online that connect the dots for yourself. Heck, even the algorithm starts to feed you what you’re looking for! Opportunities resent themselves. I can’t explain it. You just have to trust it. Trust that when you start following your path, the path you outlined from your dreams and goals, things start to happen.

    Let the vision board be the reminder that keeps you focused, and believe in yourself to make it all happen. Trust that magic. 😉

    You can listen to my The In-Between episode about vision boards here.

  • 4 Simple Productivity Hacks

     If you were to search the internet for “how to get more done”, chances are you’re going to receive thousands of results claiming to offer the best advice to becoming a productivity wizard. I’m sure most of them are great. If you’re anything like me though, well, that many
    options can be overwhelming. Where do you start?

    Well, look no further! Not that I claim to have ALL the answers, but I have done some self-work. I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult (18 is still considered an adult right?) with zero explanation of what ADHD was or why the medicine prescribed helped. I went over 10 years
    not ever thinking about how  DHD affected me, how it played into my anxiety disorder, or how it played into my life.

    I’ll spare you the life details, but once I teamed up with a really good therapist, I started to learn more about ADHD and how it worked with my brain. Through that, and offering myself grace, I picked up a few tricks when it comes to productivity that helped me make progress towards my goals and manage my ADHD better.

    So without further ado, here are my, Elizabeth Cheney’s, 4 Simple Productivity Hacks to help you in a bind.

    #1 Manageable To-Do Lists

    Your brain is flying a million miles a second, thoughts swirling around. I’ve gotta do this. I’ve gotta do that. Oh crap, if I don’t do “this” then “that” won’t ever happen! To try and find some sense of stability in the mental chaos, you start jotting down all the things you need to do, whether it’s chores, whether it’s your kids, whether it’s your business, the list reaches a length no normal person can accomplish in a week, let alone a single day. Maybe it’s not always that dramatic, but you catch my drift. 
    My brain spiral would lead me to think that if I didn’t get ALLLLLLLLL of this done, then I would be [insert intrusive thought here].

    When you’re looking at a list a mile long, you don’t know where to start, and then boom…. You’re immobilized. I raise you: Manageable To-Do Lists (I know I know… WHAT?!?!)

    Believe it or not, you do not have to complete everything at this moment. What you can do is take that mile-long list and pull 4 to 6 things that you can actually accomplish in a day. Maybe it’s tasks for three days. Who knows! It’s about what works best for you. There is an actual dopamine release when you scratch something off your to-do list. It’s a feeling of accomplishment. So instead of overwhelming yourself with the daunting to-do list, pick a handful of things off the list (that are reasonable, people!), and feel that sense of pride when you scratch them off for the day. Sometimes I get off track myself and that list starts getting a mile long. Take a beat. Remember it won’t all implode if it isn’t all completed TODAY and give yourself grace.

    #2 Breaking Down Bigger Projects into Smaller Tasks

    Ok, so this one is an extension of the first one. My theory is if you can train yourself to manage your to-do’s better, then my second tip will be easier to adapt.

    So you have a big project ahead of you – renovating a home, preparing for a baby, starting a business, looking for a new job. Big projects have many steps and that can be overwhelming on where to start. Cue that immobilization (damn, you!!).

    Let’s take the example of launching a business. Do you have to create your logo, start your website, roll out your robust social media campaign, and pitch yourself to sponsors all in one day? One week? Absolutely not! You break those big chunks into smaller tasks. I used to think procrastinating was the way to get things done because all that added pressure spikes your adrenaline. Well, that’s not wrong, but that’s also not healthy and definitely not helping your anxiety. On the flip side, it’s doing more damage than good.

    So if procrastinating isn’t the right way to accomplish huge chunks of long-term projects, what helps? Tools like ChatGPT can help give you the framework or starting point on how to break these larger projects down into more attainable goals. You can type into ChatGPT, “Help create a 3-week project plan, broken out into 30-minute increments, for building a website.” In a matter of moments, voila, you have a starting point. Most often the issue is we don’t know where to start.

    #3 Two-Minute Rule

    This one helps not just with productivity, but it’s a helpful tool to work on building better habits. Ever heard of Atomic Habits by James Clear? Well, I picked this up from his book.

    The idea is that anyone can do anything for two minutes. If you are stuck on something, you don’t know where to start, and the task feels overwhelming, whatever the case may be, give yourself two minutes to explore the task at hand.

    You want to write a blog post, but you’re not much of a writer, so you’re overthinking what it needs to say. Set a timer for two minutes and simply begin to write. Two minutes! Before you know it, it’s over and maybe you wrote three sentences, but that’s three sentences more than you had before.

    See how that works? When in doubt, lower the stakes and give yourself two minutes.

    #4 Listen to Music

    This one may sound simple in theory but don’t doubt it’s magic. As someone who often needs to decompress, sometimes silence is necessary. Now when I need to focus, especially on something I know is going to take some mental strength to start, there is nothing like a “creative focus” playlist.

    There are so many different types of playlists, but for me personally, I like non-lyrical ones. I can vibe to the beat, and it keeps me focused. It tunes out all the thoughts running around in my mind by giving me a focus point.

    Try different types – maybe you want more of a jazz feel, maybe today you’re looking for something a bit more up-tempo. Maybe you even want to listen to a podcast! If so, I have a great one for you to check out (Ahem, it’s called The In-Between with Elizabeth Cheney). 😉

    In Conclusion
    Life is distracting! There is ALWAYS going to be a million things to do. Remember you do not have to have it all completed today or even tomorrow. As you find better ways to manage your productivity, you will gain more self-awareness on what you should spend your time on.

    What matters right now? What matters today? What can be moved to tomorrow or next week? Everything will still be there for you. 

    You can listen to The In-Between podcast episode on productivity hacks here.