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How to Simplify Your Life With Digital Bullet Journaling+Vision Boarding

Updated on May 14, 2021
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Joy sets goals for continuous achievement, and loves connecting with others by helping them reach their own ideals and aspirations.

What Are Your Questions?

A Combination of Systems

Vision board-journaling is a method we modified from the usual bullet journal or planner systems. It is an electronic, fully visual method which meshes with typical vision board ideas, and combines the bullet journal focus pages idea with an ideal short term vision board.

The best part about it is that it's flexible, and can be modified to almost any extent as many times as required.

Flexibility

In order for this plan to work, you need a fully flexible format. You must be able to rearrange images into different orders and subfiles as often as necessary, or as often as you desire, so that you can keep your current projects directly in front of you.

My best option is Pinterest, which is a site I enjoy anyway. If you cannot use or dislike Pinterest, you will need to explore other options.

For More Information

Please see the end of this article for information on related content, our qualifications, and an explanation of our approach to vision boarding.

My First Version

Let's start off by looking at a couple examples.

Below is the first one of these boards I arranged.

2019 Pinterest Layout

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here was my first effort at a 2019 Vision Board using Pinterest's then-format. I found this layout ideal for grouping specific inspiration and projects in different categories, with a preview of 7 images at a time. This is a list version of my 2019 board, after it had evolved somewhat with use.
Here was my first effort at a 2019 Vision Board using Pinterest's then-format. I found this layout ideal for grouping specific inspiration and projects in different categories, with a preview of 7 images at a time.
Here was my first effort at a 2019 Vision Board using Pinterest's then-format. I found this layout ideal for grouping specific inspiration and projects in different categories, with a preview of 7 images at a time.
This is a list version of my 2019 board, after it had evolved somewhat with use.
This is a list version of my 2019 board, after it had evolved somewhat with use.

A Kick in the Seat

This version worked pretty well, but in the few months I had it, it needed several additions and modifications. Still, it helped keep me on track, and inspired me to accomplish things I otherwise would have forgotten or procrastinated on.

Daily Perusal

Of course, it only worked because I made myself look at it every day--and I got tired of looking at the same pictures, so I did something about them. Also, the board helped me to consider more deeply what I needed from my daily life, and act accordingly.

Holidays Peaceful

In consequence, I had a very contented, lowkey autumn and Christmas season strictly with my family. This allowed me to indulge in a few of my favorite activities, which I might otherwise have missed because they were "too much trouble". In other words, I often tell myself I am too tired to enjoy things . . . then I have regrets because I miss out on treating others and myself in small ways. So I indulged good things over the holidays, not regrets.

On the whole, this board forced me to take a good, hard look at my habits, and begin making much-needed adjustments.

Another Try

Next, here is 2020. I have added a few categories more to it than were in the 2019 board, and repeated anything from 2019 that I didn't get done.

2020 Vision Board (Pinterest), 2 Versions

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I used several of the same categories when I set up my 2020 board, as life patterns involving food, gardening and animals, and writing remain similar. Pinterest changed their format to be more compact, so much of the preview effect was lost, but more categories may be viewed at a time.
I used several of the same categories when I set up my 2020 board, as life patterns involving food, gardening and animals, and writing remain similar.
I used several of the same categories when I set up my 2020 board, as life patterns involving food, gardening and animals, and writing remain similar.
Pinterest changed their format to be more compact, so much of the preview effect was lost, but more categories may be viewed at a time.
Pinterest changed their format to be more compact, so much of the preview effect was lost, but more categories may be viewed at a time.

How Should You Begin?

Start with anything you definitely want to accomplish--this year or any year. Add all these images to a dump file which you can sort from later. Of course, if you know exactly what you want and in what time period, go ahead and arrange pictures according to that plan. If not, simply stash them. Give them a bit of time. What you really want will start coming clear to you as you allow yourself to daydream, and try on different ideas. Your subconscious mind will help you do the sorting, and may present ideas to you at night, or when you are relaxed and have your guard down.

As you go through the pictures from time to time, or make deliberate efforts to decide which ones you want in your life now, move any that absolutely belong in this year, next year, or another time slot into appropriate boards or files.

Try a 5 to 10 Year System

A 5-year plan is a good place to start. It's a long enough time period that it forces you to think and plan carefully, yet isn't so long as to seem daunting or unreachable. If you are feeling motivated enough, reach for 10 years.

Just be reasonable with yourself, and don't assume that everything will automatically change because time passes. Be willing to be flexible and scale back if in, say, three years you find you over reached or misjudged your rate of growth, and your "plans" are entirely absurd. Remember that in the shade, some plants thrive and some merely hang on. Your rate of growth won't match anyone else's.

Here is a peek at my own long term plan, arranged by year:

2019 Through 2028

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I set up as far in advance as I felt I could reasonably imagine, and left lots of room for changes and unforeseen challenges and perceptions.
I set up as far in advance as I felt I could reasonably imagine, and left lots of room for changes and unforeseen challenges and perceptions.
I set up as far in advance as I felt I could reasonably imagine, and left lots of room for changes and unforeseen challenges and perceptions.

Themes for Each Year

As you see, I have things stashed in all 10 years. Some years have only a handful of ideas attached to them, others are fairly full. For some years, I used a theme, such as cultivating fruit trees, completing sewing projects, or getting on with farm improvements. In each year, I have sought for a balance between doing and resting, spending and income increases, and other factors.

Category Ideas

Now let's look at how 2020 is broken down. Hopefully you will begin developing your own categories as we go through these details.

2020 List View

I had the opportunity to complete more writing projects sooner than expected, so this part of the list changed drastically while the year was young. There are a few "fear" categories near the top. "Requests"=maybe do, maybe not.
I had the opportunity to complete more writing projects sooner than expected, so this part of the list changed drastically while the year was young. There are a few "fear" categories near the top. "Requests"=maybe do, maybe not.

I Need Reminders--Lots of Them!

Many categories exist because, having DID, my memory is poor to nonexistent. I must constantly leave reminders which I can easily discover, to tell myself what my intentions were. These reminders must include enough detail that even if I have no memory of creating a project or making a plan, I can figure it out again.

I'll go through most categories one by one, so you can see how they function.

Categories Explained

Now/Today/Last10%

Here is where we file anything that is urgent, very important, or appropriate for today/very soon. Also any project that is really close to being finished.

My DID System has an extremely difficult time actually finishing anything. The last 10% of anything is often harder than the first 90%. There are various reasons for this, but we help ourselves by giving us a heads up on which projects are almost done. This cues us to realize that we are in for a struggle, and we therefore are ready to help each other see things through, or work in groups to get things done.

The most important function of this category is to keep urgent and important projects in front of us. Things that regularly wind up here are:

  • Immediate meal plans, treats and beverages to try, and produce that needs eaten

  • Paperwork reminders

  • Upcoming holiday or birthday plans

  • Outdoor projects in progress

  • House projects which are urgent or in progress

  • Books I'm currently reading

  • Quotes or ideas we are working to internalize

  • Upcoming livestock plans or needs

  • Current gardening plans--especially new plants or techniques we haven't tried before

  • Canning recipes to try, or seasonal recipes I don't want to forget about

  • Current homeschooling plans, projects, and texts

  • Songs, videos, or movies I want to remember to watch, especially if they are important to a friend and therefore time-sensitive

  • Sewing projects or crafts I want to finish in a given time-period

  • Self-care ideas to try, or things we are trying as a System

  • Current or urgent writing projects--especially those which require massive reorganization, or require a group effort

  • Sigils and energy healing ideas we are incorporating now

    OnHandNow: Food/Meals

    This category is primarily for reminders of foods I can make with what I have available now. This helps with lunch plans, and gives me ideas for fun and different things I can try at any time. We choose from this and other categories to populate our "Now" ideas.

    Reminders of kinds of produce we have available also live here, as long as using them isn't urgent.

    Upcoming!

    This is where ideas and projects live which we hope to pursue in a month or so. This gives us a chance to plan how we will go about things before they become urgent. We don't like surprises, and require long acclimation periods.

    MakeoverMe Sections

    Here is where we deal with a few specific fears at a time. We collect images in each of these categories which help us visualize what life might be like lived without the fears we hold. This is part of our self-reconditioning process.

    Some of these fears, such as Body and Violin, have to do with humiliations we have suffered, as well as ways in which we would like to improve our social or professional skills. Others, such as Travel, are natural fears we experience because of a high number of autistic traits. Teaching or mothering fears, holiday challenges, and food attitudes complete our selection of fears we are currently facing down.

    The Alcohol category has to do with self care, not alcoholism. We feel guilty for spending money on beer or wine, because we have seen those close to us be selfish with grocery money. I love trying new beverages, and recognize that I shouldn't feel guilty or fearful about this.

    The Bread category deals with overcoming anger and fear over how our love of baking has been treated in the past. It was squashed.

    The Water category has to do with nightmares related to our DID. We get negatively triggered by most things involving water, even showering.

    House: DiningFloor

    This section has to do with a huge house project. We want to create a decoupaged floor in our dining room which will replace an ancient art rug (area linoleum) which has come to bits. We are still in the designing stage.

    NotHome

    Here is where we tuck any projects or ideas which must be done in some place other than home.

    PrayerNeeds/Disturbances

    Personal prayer reminders go here, including photos of friends.

    Articles Sections

    Each article, series, or blog project has its own section. This helps keep us from bogging down while in the midst of too many ideas and plans. Posting at least one photo regarding each project helps us see what we wanted to accomplish, and that delving in is usually easier than we suspected. Screenshots of documents, article drafts, and photos we intend to use get posted here. Thus we don't need to remember what each project looks like, because a visual is literally available. We can also add screenshots of progress made on long projects, to keep our inspiration up.

    Foods/RecipesDefinitely

    Here is where we put recipes we hope to be able to try. Most are dependent on gardening success, and are therefore seasonal.

    FoodInventoryOptions

    Here we keep a selection of images representing types of produce we expect to have available at different times of year. We periodically look over these items and copy any current ones to our "Today" or "Available" sections.

    FoodIncentives

    Here we post images of beautiful produce we hope to grow, or possibly buy. This helps us recall why some of us are excited about investing so much time and energy in gardening.

    Beautiful/Restful/ConvenientHome

    Here we collect ideas of ways in which we hope to be able to improve the functioning of our farmstead home. We also include inspiring pictures reminding us of how it may look or feel to use our cleaner, more organized, less time consuming home. We are not aiming for traditional minimalism, but for trimming out anything we don't require for our various kinds of work and hobbies.

    HouseInventory

    Whenever I change where things are stored or majorly reorganize an area, I post snapshots here so that my DID System can more easily see the changes, and have an idea where items are kept. This category saves us loads of time looking for things. Even when we don't refer to the pictures directly, it helps, as more of us recall more accurately what was done in the body to improve the house.

    Health/SelfLove

    Here is where we store quotes and inspiring images of things that we want to incorporate into our lives to make us feel more worthwhile or stable. This may include things for our skin or appearances. It also includes energy release techniques we want to try, calming techniques, and music that helps us ground, reset, or focus.

    Quotes/Affirmations/Internalize

    This section is for truths we don't want to forget, which were new thoughts to us at the start of the year.

    SchoolToFinish/WorkOn

    In this section, we keep homeschooling plans, reminders of books, and movies we intend to share with the children. We also keep tidbits and interesting facts regarding current studies. For example, we collected photos of Michelangelo's works of art while we read The Agony and the Ecstacy, by Irving Stone. We snap photos of all textbooks or other materials being used, so that if we have an alter front who is unaware of what we've been doing, they have some place to start.

    ReadingGoals

    Here is where we keep reminders of books, magazine titles, or online articles we plan on reading this year. This helps us not flit from one thing to the next, forgetting our aims. We usually have several books going at the same time, either belonging to various alters, or covering different types of topics. The books shown here that we have in physical (not electronic) form, we keep in our bedroom on a special shelf for time-sensitive reading material.

    Friends/Communications Categories

    Here is where we keep funny memes, interesting pictures or quotes, or other things we want to share with friends.

    Crafts & Sewing

    Here we stash reminders of crafts, sewing, or crochet projects we would really like to do. There are always too many, though we periodically narrow down the selection.

    Travel/Roadtrips/FieldDays

    This section holds links and information to places we hope to visit within the year, usually as a family. These destinations may be local jaunts, or places which are farther away. We also keep a few photos which serve to remind us of past fun trips, and that traveling can be pleasant, not scary.

    Livestock/Animal Aims

    This section holds both livestock aims, and pictures of wildlife we would like to work on attracting or increasing.

    Gardening Farmstead

    Here we keep specific information on plants or varieties of plants that fit into our gardening scheme for the year. We include snapshots of seed packets which previously did very well, so we can remember company names, etc.

    FarmImprovement Categories

    Here we keep hopes for all kinds of outbuilding projects, renovations, or yard overhauls.

    House Improvements

    This section includes plans for home improvement projects which I cannot do alone, and which take extensive time, energy, and/or money.

    Holiday Categories

    Here we keep hopes for special foods or table settings, gift ideas, gift wrapping inspiration, decorations, and other holiday related ideals.

    Buy/$

    Here we keep anything we hope to buy--clothes and shoes, non-habitual household goods, new supplements, and home improvement materials.

    Journal&Joggers

    This journal section includes photographic reminders of holidays and special moments, as well as any personal things I want to recall, or share with my DID System.

    Requests

    I have a category for Requests from my DID System. These may include gardening or sewing experiments, unnecessary expenditures, or reading material that isn't time sensitive and doesn't fit any particular goal which we, as a group, have fixed upon.

    Accomplished

    When any project, major task, or new recipe gets completed, I put it here, as a reminder that we truly get a lot done. This helps my DID System feel encouraged on days when we feel that our life in the body is at a standstill--full of dirt, trash, and dirty dishes. We inevitably are inspired to try again as soon as we realize all the beautiful things we've actually accomplished. This category also helps our System realign when some alters are aware that a project has been completed, and others aren't. This cuts down on the confusion and frustration we feel when we might be waiting to do something that was already done.

Another Approach--Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a method of organizing information visually. It starts with a central topic, and subtopics branch out from this core. Still other subtopics can branch from each subtopic.

Below is an example of how I have used mind mapping to construct an alternate version of my several-year plan.

Mind Map Layout--Basic + 2020

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Prior to setting up my Pinterest version, I had experimented with a mind mapping layout. Here I have entered major plans for 5 years from 2019. I realize you can't read the details--it's simply to show you the scope.Here, most of the pink boxes represent a backlog of writing projects which could not be completed due to circumstances. Laying out my work this way has helped me feel motivated to undo this mess.Writing projects are divided by month, with 1+ major projects and 2+ small ones assigned per month. Correspondence, household, school, and finances each have their own categories.
Prior to setting up my Pinterest version, I had experimented with a mind mapping layout. Here I have entered major plans for 5 years from 2019. I realize you can't read the details--it's simply to show you the scope.
Prior to setting up my Pinterest version, I had experimented with a mind mapping layout. Here I have entered major plans for 5 years from 2019. I realize you can't read the details--it's simply to show you the scope.
Here, most of the pink boxes represent a backlog of writing projects which could not be completed due to circumstances. Laying out my work this way has helped me feel motivated to undo this mess.
Here, most of the pink boxes represent a backlog of writing projects which could not be completed due to circumstances. Laying out my work this way has helped me feel motivated to undo this mess.
Writing projects are divided by month, with 1+ major projects and 2+ small ones assigned per month. Correspondence, household, school, and finances each have their own categories.
Writing projects are divided by month, with 1+ major projects and 2+ small ones assigned per month. Correspondence, household, school, and finances each have their own categories.

What to Add

A mind map is not the place to try to add every detail of your life; a planner is better for that. But it can help you get an overview of what your plans look like, both long and short term.

I put my daily work plans at the top, so I'd never be stuck for inspiration.

I spent several days working out, a bit at a time, what information belonged in which year, and how many topics to include per year. I did calculations on income-related questions. I took a hard look at my writing habits and other income streams. I wrote down all debts, as well as estimates on home improvement jobs. I put places to record the dates of important communications, along with summaries of content. All article drafts and solid ideas were noted, and put in approximate order for finishing on schedule. I planned only a few major jobs for months in which I anticipated being busier with outdoor jobs, and more for times in which it was probable to be snowed in, or otherwise slowed.

Since lockdown, and also serious disturbances in my family over almost the last year, my plans have of course changed. That's the beauty of a mind map--it is simple to shuffle and re-shuffle. Some months have become heaped with projects. Some things have been deleted. Where I thought I would be, as estimated a year ago, and where I am are two different things. For the most part, I have been more productive than anticipated.

How to Mind Map, by Ayoah

Apps

In the app I use, called Simple Mind, you can choose from a variety of formats, and adjust colors and features to suit you. You can add images, create slideshows of your map, and link to calendar events, documents, and web pages.

There are several other mind mapping apps available. Explore your favorite app store for the one that best suits your style.

More Details for Your Perusal

I have included screenshots of my estimates and major plans for the next several years, so that you can see how my layout functions, and what remains the same from year to year. For example, I anticipate certain friendships deepening. I anticipate being able to increase my monthly writing output to a certain point. I anticipate practicing other ways of creating passive income. I anticipate growing my participation in the DID community.

2020 Mind Map in Detail

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Each project can have as much or as little detail entered and displayed as you want. Images may be used. Color coding is handy. Moving projects around or redesigning your approach is simple.I've used traffic light colors around each project to designate how close it is to completion. Red=Can't Finish Yet. Yellow=Time Consuming But Doable. Green=Almost Finished. Icons as keys can prevent frustrations. Stages of progression for each project are easy to see. Checkboxes can motivate you to drive to a finish. Once you have a roadmap figured out, you can display it in as many or as few steps as needed to suit your style.Links to contacts, calendar, web sites, and documents may be included. I chose to place daily needs near the top of my layouts, and sporadic or frivolous items near the bottom. This helps me stay focused. (Layouts may be done in a variety of ways and with different color schemes.)
Each project can have as much or as little detail entered and displayed as you want. Images may be used. Color coding is handy. Moving projects around or redesigning your approach is simple.
Each project can have as much or as little detail entered and displayed as you want. Images may be used. Color coding is handy. Moving projects around or redesigning your approach is simple.
I've used traffic light colors around each project to designate how close it is to completion. Red=Can't Finish Yet. Yellow=Time Consuming But Doable. Green=Almost Finished. Icons as keys can prevent frustrations.
I've used traffic light colors around each project to designate how close it is to completion. Red=Can't Finish Yet. Yellow=Time Consuming But Doable. Green=Almost Finished. Icons as keys can prevent frustrations.
Stages of progression for each project are easy to see. Checkboxes can motivate you to drive to a finish. Once you have a roadmap figured out, you can display it in as many or as few steps as needed to suit your style.
Stages of progression for each project are easy to see. Checkboxes can motivate you to drive to a finish. Once you have a roadmap figured out, you can display it in as many or as few steps as needed to suit your style.
Links to contacts, calendar, web sites, and documents may be included.
Links to contacts, calendar, web sites, and documents may be included.
I chose to place daily needs near the top of my layouts, and sporadic or frivolous items near the bottom. This helps me stay focused. (Layouts may be done in a variety of ways and with different color schemes.)
I chose to place daily needs near the top of my layouts, and sporadic or frivolous items near the bottom. This helps me stay focused. (Layouts may be done in a variety of ways and with different color schemes.)

What Do You Anticipate in Your Life?

Supposing that things go well for you, what sorts of items do you want to put on your own mind map, which will act as a visual reminder of just how well you can do?

Spend a few minutes writing down ideas.

Play with the question, What would I regret having not done or shared, if my life ended tomorrow?

For me, I would regret not having continued to do my best as a mother, wife, and teacher. I would regret not developing friendships as far as possible, including that with my Creator . . . not having read a friend's fantasy stories . . . not having shared my knowledge and passions in my own writing.

I was created to write. What were you created to do?

Whatever it is, this needs to be a repeated theme in your long term plans.

5 Years Projection, Key Details

By deciding on areas of your life to include, it is possible to prepare foundation layouts for several years in advance. For me, writing, correspondence, family/homeschool, and financial goals were repeated categories.
By deciding on areas of your life to include, it is possible to prepare foundation layouts for several years in advance. For me, writing, correspondence, family/homeschool, and financial goals were repeated categories.

How to Use SimpleMind for Mind Maps, by Greg Dea

Creating a Mind Map With SimpleMind - Part 2, by SimpleMind

Topics Previously Covered in This Series

In Part 1, we explore why fear inhibits our ability to know what we really want, and act on it. Our thought loops often hold the key to realizing our deepest desires. Focusing on and owning these thought loops can allow us to move forward, first making the decision that fear will no longer own us.

In Part 2, we cover the basics of how to develop a vision board, whether in an electronic or physical format. We offer prompts and resources to help you decide what you truly want out of life.

In Part 3, we discuss the role of bio rhythms in setting intentions which yield pleasant fruit. When you pair your firm and detailed expectations with careful timing, cooperation from others and the Universe often results.

In Part 4, we pinpoint how to choose the perfect visuals and images for your needs, decode your personal color associations, and use past regrets and misunderstandings to help you go forward more wisely.

In Part 5, we explore the decisions to be made while setting up an Intentions-by-the-Month system, using a Pinterest Board or other format of your choice. This system allows you to form a habit of setting intentions daily, or on whatever schedule you choose.

Our Conditions and Qualifications

In case you missed our intro before, we are an autistic DID System who have spent years exploring how trauma affects our ability to live our best life and act on our deepest needs. We have no official diagnosis, and no legal qualifications to offer advice or training on mental health conditions. Conversely, we have a decade of experience managing our Dissociative Identity Disorder, as well as about four years working to understand our autism.

Our Approach to Vision Boarding

Because fear is such a huge roadblock to stability and satisfaction, we have chosen to approach the topic of vision board development by exploring how it can be used to assist in healing and changing trauma patterns. We specifically use it to overcome fear and other trauma responses.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Joilene Rasmussen

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