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DIY Focus Board Tutorial for Planning and Organization

This focus board tutorial will help you declutter your mind and visualize your workflow!

If you experience a lot of overwhelm and mental clutter—and especially if you have multiple jobs, side hustles, kids, or things going on at once—I suggest you create a focus board to organize your thoughts and create a visual guide for your life.

Sometimes, the terms “focus board” and “vision board” are used interchangeably. My concept of a focus board works differently than a vision board, however.

On a vision board, you put all the things you want to attain in life—feelings, material things, experiences, etc. Through visualization, you eventually bring everything on the board to life.

Vision boards are powerful tools. If you want to make your own, here’s a roundup of 15 vision board tutorials to get you started.

Now, let me explain how my focus board concept is different. My lifestyle as a blogger and entrepreneur gets crazy. I have a million different things to worry about all the time. I love my career, but it’s overwhelming at times.

Since I’m a very visual person, I came up with an idea to create a focus board—or a mind map of each of the areas of my life that I want to focus on.

Here’s what my focus board looks like:

focus board mind map

Check out this DIY focus board tutorial! (Yes, it's different than a vision board!)Tweet that!

As you can see, it’s meant to be more of a tool than a pretty DIY project. (But you could make yours pretty if you want! I’m just lazy.)

The topic of my board is personal and career development. I came up with six core categories that I want to focus on this year, and then I created different levels of sub-categories underneath.

So you don’t have to squint to read everything, I’ve listed my focus board organization below:

Samantha’s Focus Areas for 2020

1. Blog

My blog-related projects and tasks.

  • Content
    • 3 posts per week
    • Email list 1 to 2 times per week
  • Traffic
    • SEO
      • Build backlinks
      • Optimize old posts
    • Pinterest
      • 30 pins per day
      • Nurture boards
  • Monetization
    • Get into Mediavine
    • Affiliate marketing
      • Amazon products
      • Blog resources
2. Freelance work

My freelance projects and tasks.

  • Long-term projects
    • (Names of the clients/projects)
  • Client acquisition
    • New business research
    • Pitch people!
    • Networking events
    • Job boards
3. Health/fitness

Things I want to do consistently to maintain my health.

  • Work out
    • Gym
    • Fitness classes
  • Eat healthy
    • Grocery shopping
    • Meal prep
    • Willpower!
4. Portfolio

Portfolio building projects and tasks.

5. Social networking

Social media strategy.

  • Instagram
    • Post more frequently
    • Post stories
      • Shoot for 10 stories/day
    • Timed daily engagement
  • Twitter
    • Tweet quotes from blogs
    • Tweet random (but relevant) thoughts
      • Schedule in Hootsuite
  • Facebook
    • 1-2 posts per day
    • Facebook group for networking
    • Paid ads for larger products
  • LinkedIn
    • Post content/engage
6. Products

Products that I want to create and sell on my website this year.

  • Printables
    • Organization tools
    • Personal development tools
    • Mental health tools
    • Tools for parents/teachers
  • Print-on-demand
    • Accessories
      • Notebooks and journals
    • Apparel
      • T-shirts

The structure doesn’t have to be perfect. The important thing is that you get your ideas down on the board in a way that makes sense to you.

As you can probably tell, my focus board is a tool that’s meant for me and only me. That’s what makes it so special!

I love the physical mind map format because I can see all the important areas of my career in one place. This focus board has helped me plan my schedule week after week—I know exactly which tasks to prioritize to get everything done.

Are you ready to create your own focus board? Keep reading to learn how!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase. All opinions are mine alone. Read my full disclosure policy for details.

Materials you’ll need to create your focus board

1. Inspiration and ideas!

2. A large surface (like a corkboard, glass board, or foam board)

3. Double-sided tape or tacks

4. Colorful index cards with a blank side

5. Scissors

6. Pens or sharpies

How to create your focus board

1. Make a list of the overarching areas of your life you want to focus on.

If you want your board to be career-focused, you could put your side hustle or professional projects. If you want to commit more time to your personal life, you could make “maintaining relationships” one of your focus areas. It’s all up to you!

2. Outline the points that will go underneath the bigger categories.

Use a sheet of paper or a Word doc to make your outline. This will make the following steps much easier. It will also help you visualize how your focus board will look once it’s done.

3. Count how many levels are in your outline, and choose an index card color to correspond to each.

Here’s an example from my focus board:

  • Center card (blue)
    • Products (red)
      • Print-on-demand (green)
        • Apparel (purple)
          • T-shirts (yellow)

As you can see, each level is a different color and size. This will help you distinguish the overarching ideas from the smaller ideas that fall within them.

4. Cut the index cards so the lower category cards are smaller.

Using the same example from above:

  • Center card (full index card)
    • Products (1/2 index card)
      • Print-on-demand (1/4 index card)
        • Apparel (1/8 index card)
          • T-shirts (1/16 index card)

It’s important to cut the cards so you have enough space for everything! Making each level a different color and size also helps with the visual hierarchy of the focus board.

5. Use your outline as a guide to write each item on the index card that corresponds to it.

I messed up so many times on this step (LOL). Try to keep cards of the same focus area together so you don’t lose track of them.

6. Using tape or tacks, attach your center index card to the focus board.

I wrote “Samantha’s Focus Areas for 2020” on mine. You can write whatever you want on yours!

7. Attach the overarching area cards, spreading them out around the center card.

You don’t want these to be too close to each other, or else you will run out of space.

8. Attach the remaining levels of cards, focusing on one level at a time to ensure proper organization.

This is probably the most tedious part of the process, but it’s well worth it! You can do it.

9. Hang your completed focus board somewhere you will look at it often.


How to use your focus board

I like to look at my focus board when I make my schedule for the week. With all my focus areas represented visually in one place, I can make sure I don’t neglect anything. I have a lot of goals for 2020, and my focus board is going to help me achieve them!

You should use your focus board as a guide for planning your life. Look at it whenever you’re scheduling activities, when you need inspiration, or when you’re bored and want something productive to do. You should use it in the way that works best for you!

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Related reads!

1. 15 Vision Board Tutorials to Help You Manifest Anything You Want!

2. Achieve Your Goals with These FREE Gorgeous Habit Tracker Printables!

3. 130 Productive Things to Do When You’re Bored

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What do you think of this focus board idea? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Mina says:

    This is genius for mind mapping and so much easier to switch around when life takes a detour. I’ll definitely try this out with post its.

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