Last summer, Erin wrote about how and why she converted one of the walls in her home into a giant chalkboard. I have always wanted to have a large, metal bulletin board in my office. When people asked me why I wanted one, I never could give an answer. I just wanted a big space where I could play and organize. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m very right-brained, which means I like to have things out in the open rather than in files or drawers (whether physical or digital). I already have a lot of shelves in my home office, but I wanted a flat space where I could post whatever I wanted and remove it and start over on a whim. I finally found a four-foot by four-foot board online and installed it over spring break. I admit, I would have gone bigger, but the shipping costs grew exponentially once you go over four feet. But I hung it as soon as it arrived and kept it empty for a week or two. Then, I started using it.
The photo attached to this entry shows the board in its current state, and it reveals the two purposes I have developed for it. First, the bottom two-thirds functions as a simple inspiration wall. Fortune cookie fortunes, photographs from throughout my life, provocative quotations, newspaper clippings that are over twenty years old, and a few other things fill this part of the board. A lot of the stuff simply make me smile. Some items bring up moments in my life where I learned particular lessons. A few things are there to remind of writing or other projects I want to explore someday. At some point, I expect this part of the board to be full of overlapping items. Whether I ever clear it and start over or subtract and add continually remains to be seen.
The top third has begun to function as a form of record keeping. Like many Profhackers, I love index cards, my favorite being unlined four-by-six ones. At the top of the board, I have one area that contains a card listing the title of an article I have submitted to a journal. It also lists the name of the journal and the date I submitted it. Right now, it’s just there to remind me that I have something out, and I should feel good about it. In a few months, it may function as a reminder to contact the editors and ask about its status. The cards in the middle list the two major essays I want to work on this summer, including the names of the journals to which I want to submit the and the date I want to have them out by. I’m thinking of using the left side of the board for articles I plan to write once I complete these, but I haven’t taken the time to write those out, which might be a sign that the idea isn’t really working for me. I also have another card up there listing the days I complete particular workout routines. I’m thinking of using other cards as food and/or money diaries, too.
So far, I’m thrilled with the purchase. I like having a space that is allowed to be chaotic while the rest of my walls feature framed photographs and the like. Some of the items on the wall are things I have had in drawers for years and that I am thrilled to see more often. How do you use bulletin boards, chalkboards, or other such tools in your home or office? Let us know in the comments what works for you.