Do you use a whiteboard at home or at work? It can be a simple and easy tool to stay focused and be more productive. Here’s how to best set up a whiteboard and the different ways to use it.
A whiteboard set up at home or work can be an excellent way to organize your thoughts and keep track of your goals.
In general, people are bad at remembering to do things. We think, “Oh yeah, I need to see the doctor about this appointment” or “I need to remember to pay the electric bill” or “I need to finish this project at work this week”. but we soon forget that until the next time someone reminds us.
We often overestimate our ability to remember something inside our heads and underestimate the importance of writing things down.
That’s why even a simple checklist can be a powerful tool for motivation and productivity – it serves as a constant reminder of what we need to do. Are you a little distracted? Just look at your checklist and you’re back on track!
A whiteboard can help take this concept to the next level. It’s a greater visual reminder of what your current goals and tasks are. Every time you walk past it, you get a visual nudge of what you want to focus on for the next day, week, or month.
You can also use the extra space on a whiteboard to write inspirational quotes or affirmations, take mental notes, or brainstorm ideas for an upcoming project.
Here’s how to set one up along with some helpful hints and tips to get started.
Starting with your whiteboard
- choose a location – Depending on the use of the whiteboard, choose an appropriate location. If it is work related, you can place it on your desk or in your office. If it’s home-related, the kitchen or refrigerator is a common choice. If you want to use it strictly for brainstorming, you can get a waterproof one for showering.
- Start with a “to-do” list – The most common use of a whiteboard is usually some sort of “to-do” list. Depending on your goals, this could include weekly tasks, work-related tasks, tasks and errands, event reminders, or personal goals (including new habits you want to work on). Every time you complete something, be sure to cross it off your list for an instant dose of dopamine.
- Write down milestones and long-term goals – It’s also good to write down more long-term goals and milestones to keep you motivated. Choose a goal you want to accomplish by the end of the year and write it down. Break it up into multiple milestones or checkpoints to find along the way.
- make mental notes – Whiteboards are great for jotting down ideas and mental notes for yourself. These aren’t necessarily individual tasks to do, but things you might want to look into, do more research, or make a decision. You can move these ideas to your “tasks” section once they become concrete action.
- Add an inspirational quote or affirmation – Dedicate a space on your whiteboard to write positive thoughts. Every week update your whiteboard with a new quote or statement that resonates with you and motivates you.
- Create space for drawing and brainstorming – It’s smart to leave extra space on your whiteboard to draw, doodle, or create visual representations for your goals (including flowcharts, mind maps, or outlining different stages of a current project you’re working on). Research shows that drawing ideas can help to ingrain them in your mind even more than just writing them down (this is sometimes known as the drawing effect).
- Use a color coded system – Depending on how organized you want to be, you might consider color-coding your whiteboard to fit different categories in your life. For example, you can use “red” for health goals, “green” for work goals, “orange” for housework, or “yellow” for family-related tasks. This adds an extra visual element to your to-do lists, which can make it easier to conceptualize the different areas you need to focus on in life.
All of these are just suggestions. In the end, how you choose to use your whiteboard is up to you and what you want to accomplish with it.
Now let me show you an example of how I use mine.
Example of my whiteboard
I’ve had a whiteboard installed on my fridge for a few years now.
Initially, I only had a small, cheap one that I found at the dollar store, but I recently upgraded to a bigger one. It’s 19 x 13 in size and came with some markers and a large eraser (here’s a link to it on Amazon).
Here is what my whiteboard currently looks like:
I labeled it to give a description of how I use it.
The “To-Do’s” and “Mental Notes” are the most essential pieces. The “Quote” is also a nice touch, which I try to update every week with a new one to keep things fresh.
The “Milestones” only serve as a reminder of my long-term goals over the course of a year. The “Plans” section is just a reminder of the social/leisure events I’ve scheduled for the month (all work-related appointments like coaching sessions are still saved to my Google Calendar).
I’m still playing around with the “Brainstorming” section – for now, it’s mostly for fun. I’d like to get some different colored markers soon to add more variety.
Overall, a whiteboard made a significant difference in my life. It helped me break down many of my goals and projects into manageable, weekly tasks.
The best part is, at the end of each week, I can reflect on the things I’ve accomplished and re-evaluate what I need to focus on for the next week.
Don’t underestimate the power of a whiteboard, it could be just what you need right now to take your productivity to the next level.
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