Morning Pages: a tool for creating insight, innovation, and calm

writingIn a world of constant change, we need to make better sense of what is happening around us.

But our rational, conscious minds are likely to be making sense of the world in the way it used to work.

Just as top sportspeople somehow know in a split second (without thinking) exactly what to they need to do to put the ball where they want it to go, so our unconscious minds will already be spotting the new patterns that are emerging — we’re just not conscious of them yet.

To lead ourselves (and others) better through this time of change we need to find ways to draw on the power of our unconscious intuition.

Exercise, creativity, meditation, and spending time in nature are four ways to achieve this. These deepen our connection with ourselves, but the results can build over days, weeks, or months.

A more direct way to connect with our intuition is to use a technique called Morning Pages.

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 up three sides of paper.

Journalist Oliver Burkeman was initially sceptical about using Morning Pages. Now he wishes he’d started years ago.

The benefits come on three levels:

  1. First, you get any niggling worries out of your head and down on to the paper. That makes you calmer and brings a clearer mind, allowing you to get on with your day, focused better on your priorities.
  2. Second, writing without thinking often surfaces unexpected insights and understandings: 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 focus, Morning Pages will sometimes bring solutions.

You already spend most of your day thinking consciously, so why not try calling on the power of your unconscious? Write whatever comes into your head until you have filled three sides of paper. Look back through what you have written, make a note of anything significant, and then get on with your day. Do this in the morning, before your conscious mind is fully awake. And repeat the process the next morning or for as long as you feel a need to draw on this extra source of information.

Is your conscious mind stuck on an issue it can’t resolve? Have you tried calling on your intuition? Would it be worth trying Morning Pages?

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

You can sign up to daily posts here.

Photo By Alpha via

Leave a Reply