We've discussed pens in previous articles, both in detail about fountain vs. rollerball (we aren't going to restart that debate!)
Morning Pages: Worth adding to your daily routine
Oh no, not a journal. No, I'm not a writer, you might be thinking to yourself. That's fine. This isn't an article for writers. They already do something like this. This article is for gents who want to be more effective in their personal and professional lives by adding a routine of 5-15 minutes to it.
There are many theories behind the purpose of dreaming - two of the most popular include the idea of information processing (organizing and cleaning up the data in your brain), and exploring the subconscious (things become manifest that we are not consciously aware of). Morning pages not only do both of these things, but add a third and powerful component: goal setting.
There is no one way of doing morning pages. But this is an outline to help you get started and establish this habit. You can add or subtract as you need to - just remember to keep it brief - those who bulk up their morning pages and try to turn it into a journal often stop doing it just a few days in.
Component One: Gratitude
What are you grateful for? Today? That you didn't write down yesterday? Whether you only write one thing down, or a maximum of three, this will allow you to start your day on the right foot: in an orientation of positivity. More importantly, this isn't some fake "positive thinking" mantra, but quantifiable things you can recollect and note.
Component Two: Goals for today
What are 1-3 things that you must accomplish for today to be considered a success? Again, limiting this number focuses the mind and makes you choose the high value activities that should be your "MIT" (most important things) for the day.
Component Three: Anything on your mind
This is the "subconscious" part. Is there anything on your mind? Now that you've activated it by being grateful and by setting your goals out, is there anything else that's lingering up there? It could be something serious - "I'm worried about my dad's health" or something banal, "I need to buy toilet paper later today" but what you are doing is "clearing your cache." Let it flow. Write it down - go as far as you want to - or if there's nothing that is really seeming to come up, put the pen down and finish for the day.
Just do it.
That's it. You've just added a new daily routine that will add just a bit more spit, polish, and focus to your day. While we know that we are in the digital age, we would encourage you to write using a pen and paper. If you want to use one of those journals that syncs up to something digital, that's fine too, but there are proven scientific benefits to your brain when you engage in "old fashioned" hand composition. It will also be an easy way for you to simply pull up those morning pages at any given date in the future and look back at a series of what you've been grateful for, what have been your goals, and what else you've been thinking about. It's a great tool for those interested in self-improvement and self-mastery. You simply can't write down goals, things that you're grateful for, and things that are on your mind without noticing patterns, discovering new ideas, and making connections, just to name a few benefits. It just takes the discipline of 5-15 minutes a day. If you miss a day (or five) don't give up or do "make up" entries. Just work on that day. This is for you, not for anyone else.
Can you do it? It's often the smallest things that make the biggest difference.
Still not convinced? Tim Ferriss shares a photo of one of his morning pages in this post to convince you to start doing them yourself.
Do you have a morning pages routine or something similar? Tell us about it in the comments below and receive a coupon for a free 7-course hair service you can give to a friend who might be interested in The Gents Place but just hasn't been introduced to it yet.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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