Morning Pages: a tool for producing 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 still be making sense of the way the world used to work.

Just as top sportspeople can react in a split second to put the ball exactly where they want it to go, so our unconscious minds will already be spotting the new patterns that are emerging.

To lead ourselves and other people better through this time of change we need to find new ways to draw on the power of our unconscious intuition.

Exercise, creativity, meditation, and spending time in nature build a foundation that deepens our connection with ourselves that builds over weeks and months.

A more direct and immediate 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 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 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 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 understanding, Morning Pages will often bring solutions.

You already spend most of your day thinking consciously, so if there’s an issue you are struggling to resolve why not try calling on the power of your unconscious?

First thing in the morning, before you are fully awake, 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. Then repeat the next morning or for as long as you feel a need to draw on this extra source of information.

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


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

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