How I Overcame Procrastination Using A Travel Map And A Spinach Box - Part 1

Chronic Procrastination.

You spend the entire day watching inspirational videos on YouTube. Still no motivation to finish your project.

What if I was to tell you that you could put an end to all of this frustration, delay and procrastination with just a travel map and a spinach box? You want me to spill the tea right this second, huh?! 
picture of the recycled spinach box from Costco and the vintage travel mapWell, if this is something that you've been struggling with or know someone who has, then please keep reading! I'm excited to share this article with you, as we discuss the creative mental exercise that helped me overcome chronic procrastination, reignite my business & travel goals and ultimately redefined my life purpose.

GIF source: Giphy.com

This past week, I had a range of fun, new recipes to publish. Yet, no matter how excited I felt, I couldn't for the life of me get one recipe typed up or published. My initial writer's block rapidly transpired into chronic procrastination; the fog that clouded my brain became so thick. I was compelled to figure this out, once and for all. Why was it becoming increasingly harder to complete simple tasks? Moreover, why was procrastination creeping into my life at a scarily, debilitating level? I needed answers and I needed them fast.

After 30 mins of laying down, searching for my soul (which I was sure I would find somewhere), all of a sudden...it hit me! I couldn't find the drive or focus to finish anything, because I didn't have a strong, definitive vision.

Think of your vision (or goals) as having two layers - an outer layer and an inner layer. The outer layer of your vision gives you your "WHAT" - the physical representation of the achievement of your goal.

The inner layer of your vision gives you your "WHY" - the internal driving factor that takes you from start to finish, the very reason for the existence of your goal. It's easiest for me to remember our "why" as the inner layer, because I visualize it pushing up the "what" like a collapsing tent anytime doubts and anxiety start to trickle in. 
image of Viktor Frankl quote about having a whyOften times, your "why" stems from the problem that you wanted to solve when you set your goal; back at the very beginning (for some us that may be years ago; DIG DEEP!). Every goal was set for a reason. If your reason doesn't light a flame inside YOUR soul, once your initial excitement and adrenaline wear thin, there won't be much gas left inside of you to push through to the finish line.

I found this quote online a while ago, and always refer to it when my mind is overcomplicating stuff!
image of twitter quote ask kids what problem they want to solve
I always thought (I guess in retrospect, assumed) that I had a clear vision in my mind. Yet what I failed to realize, is that it's pretty much impossible to maintain a crystal-clear defined vision, when the only place it lives is inside your mind. Why? Any human living in civilization in 2020, has a bajillion conflicting thoughts racing through their head at any given moment of the day.

GIF source: Giphy.com

I couldn't push through to finish any blog posts, because I didn't have a clear vision that really conveyed the "why" or "what" to my mind. With the realization that accompanied this epiphany, the problem-solving part of my brain quickly kicked into gear (FINALLY!). I already know I'm a visual learner. So what better possible way for my mind to be able to comprehend and recollect the "what" or "why" on the daily, then a vision board?! Makes sense, right?

image of quote from Helen Keller about having no vision

Before we start creating a vision, why having is a vision so important?
Think of this for a moment. Imagine that your life is the home of your dreams and you have made the decision to finally build it; designing every square foot and detail exactly the way that you want it. No expense is spared, no order is too tall. You've never felt truly at home in any of the houses that you've lived in. Therefore, the very thought of living in a home designed by you and that genuinely represents your heart and soul, makes you giddy with excitement. After all the years that you've spent planning and designing this home (and all the Pinterest boards), you've made the choice to bring those plans, designs and pins to life!

Frantically with excitement, you pull out all of your late night sketches and scrapbooks - your visions - and you get to work. In this very moment, you have chosen to breath the precious air of life, into your dreams. Time goes by and at last, your home is finally built. The individuality that you dreamed of and integrated into the design and structure, combined with your solid path of execution, has now given you the house of your dreams and LOOK! It's everything you wished for and more!

With a strong vision and a strategic plan, any dream can be taken from thought to thing. This includes your dream life and dream lifestyle. Without a vision for your life, how do you know what life you are designing and building? How can you fulfill your purpose without a plan?
infographic showing that 98% of people die before they make their dreams come trueThe minute that I realized that my procrastination stemmed from a lack of solidarity, I felt helpless and weak; but at the same time, insanely motivated. The statistic above is a sickening reminder of the shortness of breath I had during my intense moment of realization. The moment when I realized how badly I needed to solidify my vision, if I am to successfully build a lasting legacy before my inevitable mortality whisks me away for eternity. At this second, I jumped up and started looking for resources to make this vision board with.

*In case you want to know more about the science behind a vision board, here's a super informative yet concise read, "The Neuroscience Behind Visualization", written by neuropsychologist, Dr. Amy Palmer.*

My mind began to try and sabotage itself with negative thoughts. "Ugh, I don't have a board or anything to make a base with" or "I don't have a printer to print images out of." For a fleeting moment, I thought that going to CVS to get the supplies would be a solution. But, I know myself too well. If I did that, it would turn into me buying everything apart from what's actually needed and by the time I get back home, I've lost my vigor, train of thought and any sort of motivation. So leaving the house for supplies was NOT an option.

Since I've just moved into my new place, it occurred to me that there had to be something laying around that I could use. I glanced around my living room and realized that I could deconstruct the spinach boxes that I had acquired from Costco (free btw if you just ask them, and helping to recycle!).

image of spinach box deconstructed from Costco

As psyched as I was about the cardboard box discovery, I didn't want to just put pics and inspirational quotes over a plain ole' spinach box. As my hunt continued, I remembered I have vintage travel maps (paper maps) that my Grandma gave me and they would make the perfect canvas medium for this vision board. So, I wrapped the travel maps around the spinach box to create a base for my vision board.

image of recycled spinach box from Costco being covered by a recycled travel map from the 1980"sYou can totally use a glue stick or tape to stick the map to the box. But, since I was determined not to leave the house before I finished the bulk of this board, I used the only sticky type of sealant I had, Mod Podge. At first, it may seem like an unusual choice, but then I remembered that the primary use of Mod Podge in it's early days was for decoupage. When I was using it, I saw how great it is for decoupage and layering design effects using paper. 

image of mod podge fabric glue to use as sealant on DIY vision boardMod Podge (featured above) used to glue the map to the box.

To adhere the map to the box, I just did a few brush strokes along the inside edge of each side of the travel map and glued it to the box. It's a very similar process to when people cover their school books, but with this you're just manually adding the adhesive. Once I wrapped the "front" side of the box and glued each side to the "back"(used one travel map in total, didn't cut it or anything), I then used a smaller travel map; gluing that to the back of the box, tastefully covering the majority of the box from sight. 

This pic (below) is of the back of the vision board base when finished. 

image of back of DIY vision board using a recycled travel map and spinach box from Costco

Just like that, I had a base board to create my vision on! I also found something very grounding in the sense that not only am I designing and creating my own vision, I am truly creating the foundation of my vision from scratch by making even the base of my vision board myself. There was something so metaphorically refreshing in that "a-ha" moment.

These pics (below) are the completed front of the vision board base.
aerial shot of vision board front wrapped with repurposed vintage travel map

side view of DIY travel map vision boardOnce I finished making the board base, my next mental hurdle to overcome was the "I don't have a printer, so how will I recreate my visions?". Well I remembered that I had recently attended the 2020 Travel & Adventure Show (it was at the LA Convention Center in DT btw and they have upcoming shows in different cities, still!), where I collected a TON of brochures, flyers and magazines. I excitedly flew over to the brochures and started tearing out different pics that were apart of my vision. I had no idea what I was going to do with all the stuff I collected at the convention until now! (An almost absolute moment of serendipity.)

If you don't have any magazines or brochures at home, this is a great opportunity to stop by a local travel agency, Costco or even a bookstore like Barnes & Noble and ask them if they have any old magazines, catalogs or brochures (any old promo material) that you could repurpose. When you speak to the business owners and managers, tell them why you need the magazines and brochures. If you tell them your story, they are much more likely to help you as they will be encouraged to play a role in helping you achieve your goals. Remember, people feel good when they get to help someone else. This in-person visit might just give you a connection that will come in handy in the future, especially if launching your own business is a piece of your vision.

image of how to repurpose old catalogs, brochures and magazines

As I went through each magazine, I realized that everything I needed to bring my visual reminder of my vision to life, was sitting right under my fingertips. This was a compelling life lesson to really digest and take action on. I also found myself being able to effortlessly build my vision; but this time, TANGIBLY. It does something powerful to the mind when there is a tangible representation of your vision.
image of Napoleon Hill quote about the mindImage credit: Picturequotes.com

Now that my base board was complete and I had plenty of content to cut out, it was now time to create!

Want to learn how to bring your vision to life? CLICK HERE!

In Part Two, I'll share with you the exact tools you'll need, along with some heartfelt memoirs and guidance from my personal journey. Click above and I'll catch you over there!

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