Morning Pages are a tool for producing new insights, innovation, clarity, and calm


In a world where so much is changing, we need new ways to make sense of what is happening.

Our rational, conscious minds will tend to seek out data, numbers, and facts. But a situation like Covid-19 shows that those numbers might not be available, they might not be accurate, and they might not mean what we think they mean.

Our rational minds will also try to make sense according to the way the world used to work. But in a changing world, those assumptions may no longer hold true. For example, we assumed that catching Covid-19 once would provide immunity in future. This turned out not to be true.

In a changing world our rational mind might not be able to help.

The good news is that this is not the only reliable method we have to understand the world. Top sportspeople respond in a split second to put the ball exactly where they want it to go and they do so instinctively, using their unconscious minds. In the same way, our unconscious minds are already spotting the new patterns that are currently emerging around us now.

If we want to lead ourselves and other people better through this time of change we need to find better ways of drawing on the power of that unconscious intuition.

Exercise, creativity, meditation, and spending time in nature will all build a deeper connection with our unconscious but this can take weeks.

A more direct and immediate way to connect with our intuition is called Morning Pages. This is a great tool to use when you find yourself confronted with multiple conflicting pieces of information and priorities, combined with uncertainty and/or emotional stress.

The approach is very simple:

  • Sit down with pen and paper first thing in the morning, before your conscious mind is fully awake
  • Then write out longhand whatever comes into your mind, until you have filled three sides of paper
  • Make a note of anything significant and then get on with your day
  • Repeat as needed

The benefits come in three stages:

  1. First, you get any nagging worries out of your head and down on to the paper. That makes you calmer and brings a clearer mind, which allows you to get on with your day undistracted and focused on your priorities.
  2. Second, writing without thinking often surfaces unexpected insights: things you had forgotten or not realised you knew. In this way, your unconscious mind can often be wiser than your conscious mind.
  3. And third, as well as finding better understanding of what is happening, Morning Pages will also often bring solutions.

Journalist Oliver Burkeman says he was initially sceptical but now he wishes he’d started years ago.

So if you find your conscious mind struggling cope with multiple issues and priorities, try using Morning Pages to call on the power of your unconscious intuition.

Are you stuck on an issue you can’t resolve? Have you tried using your intuition?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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