The Life Design Notes book is used to capture your personal and practical goals and plans, and messages to both yourself and your loved ones to bring better closure to your life. In filling out this notebook, you will become aware of many important aspects of your life that are often forgotten or set aside. These realizations provide the key to achieving a satisfying closure to your life. Life Design Notes is currently available in English and English/Japanese versions.
In my many years of working with people in crisis, one of the most common challenges I saw people face was that crucial information was unknown or documents were not easily available at a time when they were urgently needed. I often worked with clients to put together binders of their personal information and documents so that they had it in one place for the future.
While in graduate school, I met Yoko Moriyama who has worked in healthcare in Japan and now lives in the U.S. She is now married to an American, but her parents and other family are still in Japan -– a situation that many other people are in as well. Yoko had the idea to develop this book to help people with family in both countries to capture personal and family information in both languages, so that it is accessible to everyone involved.
Yoko and I worked together to include items from my family binders, and she created the design to have English and Japanese content on facing pages (so if you open to a page, English is on one side and Japanese is on the other, capturing the same information). She also created an English-only version, because even if your family doesn’t have multiple languages, everyone can benefit from having one place to capture their essential information and documents. Additional bilingual versions can be developed upon request.
The key benefits of using Life Design Notes are having a tool to plan the rest of your life, having all your information and documents in one place, and having information to guide your family in the event that you need assistance with care or at the time of your death.
An example of the table of contents is shown at the left. The notebook is in three-ring binder form, to allow you to easily add additional pages or documents in protective sleeves.
Three reasons to use Life Design Notes:
1. Plan the rest of your life
Nobody knows how long they will live and when and how they will die. Being well prepared means fewer worries for you and your loved ones in a time of crisis. You can also spend more time focused on positive things like what brings satisfaction and happiness to your life. By using with Life Design Notes, you can live purposefully and focus on what is important to you. It is intended to be a “living notebook” that you will continue to add to and update over time.
2. Put vital information in one easy-to-access book
Life Design Notes is full of your information. As we age, we become forgetful–that is just human nature. By consolidating your information in this book, you can avoid the mistakes and frustrations other families have as they try to piece together a loved one’s life.
3. Help your family
By making your end-of-life wishes known to your family, you help them deal with the grief of losing you. Don’t leave them guessing. Give them clear directives and help ease their pain after you are gone. As you fill in this book, you may find the need to talk to your family, which could become a valuable conversation for all of you.