Given their respective reach in pop culture, the chances are that you heard of bucket lists before you heard of vision boards. If you’re a fan of Jack Nicholson or Morgan Freeman, you might even have seen the 2007 movie Bucket List – talk about popular! Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no movie, from 2007 or otherwise, based on vision boards – at least at the time of writing.

However, there are similarities between the two, not least that you put down your dreams and goals, often with no specific timeline attached.

What is a Vision Board?

I’ll keep the definitions brief for the purpose of this article, but a vision board is defined as a collection of pictures, images and potentially other objects that represent your hopes, dreams and ambitions. They can be physical or digital, and often demonstrate what you hope to achieve and acquire. Vision boards tend to focus on material or otherwise tangible ideas.

What is a Bucket List?

Bucket lists are often written down (hence the list/board differentiator) and they usually focus more on experiences than tangible items. Your list will often comprise things to watch, see or do before you pass on.

Similarities Between Vision Boards and Bucket Lists

Both bucket lists and vision boards tend to start out in the same fashion, as you’ll decide it’s time to put down some of your biggest hopes and dreams. You’ll fire up a program on the computer or get a sheet of paper or card, and set about thinking about what lies ahead.

Both concepts can also interact with the law of attraction, although vision boards are more closely associated with the concept. I like to talk about the universe when the law of attraction is in play, and if you’ve visited us here before or otherwise explored the concept, the universe thrives on you having a clear, defined idea of what you want. Until it knows what you want to order, it might struggle to deliver exactly what you need.

Both bucket lists and vision boards can give the universe a good idea of what you want, and it can then get to work on making arrangements to manifest those desires into your life.

Neither format is defined by the law, but there are some obvious ideas concerning how they might interact:

Bucket Lists and the Law of Attraction

A common sight on many bucket lists is to visit a specific place or undertake a particular activity. We can combine both of these ideas together into climbing Everest. Very few achieve it, but it’s not impossible.

Consider the difference between using the law of attraction to check that off your bucket list and not. Let’s say you put climbing Everest on your bucket list – would you have any idea about how to make a start? You might, but I wouldn’t. However, I can speculate that, at the very least, you’d need training, gear and a not insignificant amount of money.

Without the law of attraction, it’s all on you to figure out. However, if you decide to introduce the law of attraction into your life, the universe will take the reins. All it needs to know is that you want to climb Everest. That’s your order, and what it will seek to deliver. It will take some of the stress off you by making arrangements so that the money, gear and training all fall into place.

Vision Boards and the Law of Attraction

More often than not, there’s a certain level of expectation when it comes to vision boards and the law of attraction. Many people that create a board do so with the intention of invoking the law, which is not always the case with bucket lists.

Putting something on your vision board is effectively saying to the universe “this is what I want – make it happen!”

I don’t feel that the two concepts have to be intertwined. I have written in the past, including in my ultimate introductory guide to vision boards, that vision boards don’t have to involve the law of attraction, and you don’t have to create a vision board for the law of attraction to work for you.

It’s not uncommon to hear people speak of incidentally invoking the law of attraction through creating vision boards. Fortunately, that’s nothing to worry about as the law of attraction only brings positive outcomes into your life. So, if it happens organically and potentially without your knowledge, I’d consider that a bonus!

The Three Key Differences Between Vision Boards and Bucket Lists

I’ve covered the similarities, but you might well have landed on this article wondering about the differences. I would break that down as follows:

Material Gains vs Experiences

I’ve already touched on the fact that vision board and bucket lists tend to focus on different aspects of your life, and that often comes down to physical objects and adventures.

If you’d like to buy a Ferrari, but it feels like it’s a long way outside your means right now, then a vision board could be the best bet. On a bucket list, it feels like a wish rather than a goal, and it’s difficult to quantify when you want the car by other than ‘before you die’.

If you want to visit Paris sometime, then that’s perfect for a bucket list. It’s unlikely that a trip to Paris is as far out of reach right at this moment as getting the keys to a Ferrari, and an appearance on your list is the only reminder you need to save up and book the trip.

Schedules and Deadlines

Things that appear on a bucket list are, by their nature, scheduled to happen some time before you die – and that’s all there is to it.

Vision boards differ in that while there are no deadlines as such, you generally want things to proceed as quickly as possible. If you want something as soon as possible, then a vision board could be the better solution – especially if you decide to use the law of attraction to make things happen too.

If something sounds like a nice idea, but you’re not too concerned with the ‘hows’ and ‘whens’, then a bucket list will suffice and the perfect time will likely make itself clear, without anyone or anything actively working to bring it forward.

Constant Reminders vs Random Checks

Vision boards are created to serve as constant reminders of what you’d like to achieve, whether that’s obtaining physical items, travelling to far off lands, getting a new job or anything else. As I’ve mentioned already, the only deadline with bucket lists is the ultimate one!

If you make a vision board, you should display it wherever it is most relevant. If you’ve created a vision board for work, it makes perfect sense to display it in your office or wherever else you perform your current job. Most people like to see their vision boards as often as possible and often dozens of times each day.

Bucket lists, on the other hand, tend to only come out when you need a reminder or want to add something on. By definition, you’ve got the rest of your life to mark off your bucket list, and you don’t really need constant reminders of your goals. Most people see their bucket list by accident for the first time after writing it and there’s nothing really to gain by having it on constant display.

So, if you’re the set and forget type of person, the bucket list will do the trick. If you want active reminders to push towards what you want, vision boards take the lead.

Of course, there’s no need to settle for one or the other. A bucket list can serve as the occasional reminder of what you wanted at a certain point in time, and you can tackle entries as and when the opportunity arises.

Vision Board vs Bucket List – In Summary

You can certainly decide which of a bucket list or a vision board works best for you, but I feel that the former works best for long-term, unplanned goals, while the latter is ideal for regular reminders to stick to the path you want to tread. I would also suggest that vision boards are more suitable for combining with the law of attraction if that’s part of your plan.

That’s because bucket lists are rarely on display – not that there’s anything wrong with that if you decide to put it on the wall. I don’t feel that bucket lists lend themselves well to constant display, however, as they’re far more binary than the relatively dynamic vision boards. By that, I mean something is either done or it isn’t. Vision boards tend to focus more on the process than just the end result.

So, if there’s something you want to do at some point in your life, a bucket list is the way to go. If you have a combination of short and long-term goals and don’t want to risk your mind wandering too far from making progress, a vision board is the perfect solution.