Do you use a whiteboard at home or work? It can be a simple and easy tool for staying focused and being more productive. Here’s how to best setup a whiteboard and the different ways you can 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 have the thought, “Oh yeah, I need to check-in with the doctor about that appointment,” or “I need to remember to pay the electric bill,” or “I need to finish that project at work this week,” but then we immediately forget about it 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.
This is 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 get done. Get a bit distracted? Just look at your checklist and you’re right back on track!
A whiteboard can help take this concept to the next level. It’s a larger visual reminder of what what your current goals and to-do’s are. Every time you walk by it, you’re provided a visual nudge of what you want to focus on for that upcoming day, week, or month.
You can also use the extra space on a whiteboard to write down inspirational quotes or affirmations, jot down mental notes, or brainstorm ideas for an upcoming project.
Here’s how to set one up along with some helpful tips and suggestions to get started.
Getting Started With Your Whiteboard
- Choose a location – Depending on what you want to use your whiteboard for, choose an appropriate location. If it’s work-related, you may want to put it by your desk or in your office. If it’s home-related, the kitchen or fridge is a common choice. If you want to use it for strictly brainstorming, you could get a water-proof one to go in the shower.
- Start with a “to-do” list – The most common use for a whiteboard is usually some type of “to-do” list. Depending on your goals, this could include weekly to-do’s, work-related tasks, chores and errands, event reminders, or personal goals (including new habits you want to work on). Every time you complete something, make sure you cross it off your list for an instant dopamine hit.
- Write down milestones and long-term goals – It’s also nice 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 down into several milestones or checkpoints to meet along the way.
- Make mental notes – Whiteboards are great for jotting down ideas and mental notes to yourself. These aren’t necessarily individual tasks to get done, but things you may want to look into, do more research on, or make a decision about. You can move these ideas into your “to-do” section once they become a concrete action.
- Add an inspirational quote or affirmation – Dedicate a space on your whiteboard for writing down positive thoughts. Every week update your whiteboard with a new quote or affirmation that resonates with you and motivates you.
- Create space for drawing and brainstorming – It’s smart to leave extra space on your whiteboard for drawing, doodling, or coming up with visual representations for your goals (including flow charts, mind maps, or outlining different stages of a current project you’re working on). Research shows that drawing ideas can help 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 can 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 chores and errands, 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.
These are all just suggestions. At the end of the day, how you choose to use your whiteboard depends on you and what you are looking to accomplish with it.
Now let me show you an example of how I use mine.
My Whiteboard Example
I’ve had a whiteboard set up on my fridge for a couple years now.
Initially, I just had a small and cheap one I found at the dollar store, but I recently upgraded to a bigger one. It’s 19 x 13 in size and came with a few markers and a big eraser (here’s a link to it on Amazon).
Here’s what my whiteboard currently looks like:
I’ve labeled it to give a breakdown 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” just serve as a reminder about my long-term goals over the course of a year. The “Plans” section is just a reminder of social/leisure events I have scheduled for the month (all work-related scheduling such as coaching sessions is still saved on 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 color markers soon to add more variety.
Overall, a whiteboard has made a significant difference in my life. It’s helped me to chunk many of my goals and projects into weekly, manageable tasks.
The best part is at the end of each week, I get to reflect on the things I accomplished and reevaluate what I need to focus on going into the upcoming week.
Don’t underestimate the power of a whiteboard, it could be exactly the thing you need right now to take your productivity to the next level.
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