Good morning, everyone!
Yesterday I decided to tweet a few strings of notes regarding motivation, productivity, anxiety, and depression. I was “in a mood” and wanted to ramble on about life a bit. I received a ton of feedback and support so I thought that it might be nice if I returned the favor. I would like to share one exercise that I have adopted which I feel helps me cope with the bad days and initiate productivity.
The first thing that I do every morning is repeat a writing exercise that is commonly referred to as Morning Pages. You can read about this being used by many, many successful people. I think that I first learned about it via Tim Ferriss during one of his podcast entries. The idea is quite simple, but it has helped me curb anxiety and depression, let go of stressors and insecurities, and it gets your day moving in the right direction by giving you the feeling of being immediately productive.
The concept of Morning Pages is simple: you are to hand-write three pages of stream of conscious thought. Everyone’s idea about the actual content differs (I suggest you try a few things and see what feels most beneficial to you), but I will just fill you in on what has worked best for me. I use the first two pages to just spill my brain onto the page. It should be a quick stream of consciousness, often without much rhyme or reason at all. Some days it very serious and deals with issues that are leftover and unresolved from the days prior, and other days it is silly to the point of being gibberish to an outside reader. The idea is to start creating and let out anything that you might be holding onto that could potentially prevent you from doing your best work and having a positive day. The third page is often a story that I write to myself about what I plan on doing and accomplishing that day. It’s a to-do list for what is to come, presented as a short story.
There are many other ways to structure your Morning Pages (Tim discusses another popular variant in his TED Talk). This one has worked most consistently for me. Morning Pages should take no more than thirty minutes at the very most. Use it to overcome your anxieties and trap your emotional problems within the pages. I follow this up with ice water, black coffee, and a multi-vitamin. If I am still not feeling loose and ready to go, I may even supplement that with a form of meditation. Usually a very short and basic form of meditation like listening to the some song each day while feeling gratitude and focusing on growing more and more calm.
All of this might seem silly to some. It certainly isn’t right for everyone! Use it as an example or an introduction to other exercises that could be helpful to you in work, health, and life. Do research and let me know if you have beneficial routines of your own!