Want to be more productive? Created by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, Morning Pages are a technique to help with creatives that feel stuck – blocked, artistically. This practice can be used by non-artists too, to help clear the mind.
The world of recruitment is busy, with recruiters focusing on multiple processes at once. Attracting and retaining candidates, marketing, admin – it’s challenging work.
Morning Pages can be used to help bring focus to the day and allow recruiters to strengthen concentration and boost productivity.
Morning Pages: what are they?
Morning Pages are three pages of writing. These three pages are usually filled with a stream of consciousness, which is a writing that is described as a ‘form of interior monologue and is characterised by associative leaps in thought…’.
Like a stream, this type of writing flows. The text can include little to no punctuation.
Why do we need a writing exercise to boost productivity?
The world right now feels busy, and our task lists feel never-ending.
Morning Pages can help us become more productive by allowing us to release our inner thoughts and lift a weight from our mind.
The presence of social media, 24-hour news, family, friends – our minds take a constant battering and it seems like our lives have never been busier.
In a study undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation in 2018, it was found that 74% of people have felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Are there times when you have felt the same?
The same study identified different causes of stress:
- Friend/relative’s long-term health
- The need to respond to messages
- Comparison to other people
- Appearance and body image
- Housing worries
- The pressure to succeed
The push and pull of all these factors can add up, and the mind may feel unable to relax.
Here is where the exercise of Morning Pages can help. The writing exercise can help you avoid procrastination by allowing your mind to get rid of those niggling thoughts, worries, and ideas.
So how do you do it?
How to write Morning Pages
The rules for Morning Pages? There are no rules – there is no wrong way to do them.
- Upon waking, head to your designated writing area. Take your pen and begin writing three pages of 8.5 X 11 pages. Three A4 pages will do.
- Write whatever you want to, but make sure you fill three full single sides.
- Repeat the next day.
Why not give Morning Pages a go? As Cameron says, it’s important not to worry about the content.
‘Although occasionally colourful, the morning pages are often negative, frequently fragmented, often self-pitying, repetitive, stilted or babyish, angry or bland – even silly sounding. Good!’
‘The second page-and-a-half comes harder, but often contains paydirt.’
‘Pay dirt’ refers to ‘ground containing one in sufficient quantity to be profitably extracted.’ In other words, push through the difficulty and you might reveal some insight that can help you in life.
Cameron says to keep the pages for yourself and not to show anyone. She even suggests that you place them in an envelope.
It’s up to you what you want to do with your Morning Pages – after all, it’s your writing!
What are the benefits of writing Morning Pages? What do they teach you?
According to the Artist’s Way, the Morning Pages will teach you:
- That your mood doesn’t matter
Even if you’re not feeling like being creative, you still might surprise yourself.
- To stop judging and just let yourself write
Let the words tumble out of you, whatever they are.
- That your words may move you to act
Cameron explains that it is difficult to complain about a situation every morning without being moved to take constructive action – ‘undreamed-of solutions’ will be the result of despair.
- The Morning Pages help you to loosen your hold on fixed opinions
You begin to see that your moods and insights are often changing.
Chris Winfield says that they have helped him become less anxious. ‘Envy, anger, fear, vulnerability, procrastination… all those emotions can be put on paper and seen for what they are.’
Importantly, Morning Pages are a way for you to see your thoughts and feelings on paper. You can’t hide from your inner secrets when it’s written out in front of you.
It’s a time for you to be completely selfish with no one to think about apart from yourself. During that time, there will be no e-mail message pop-ups, no alerts from your mobile. No multitasking, no distractions. Just you and time with yourself.
How to make the time to write
Morning Pages can take around 30 to 40 minutes to write. If you worry about the lack of time that you have in the morning, set your alarm earlier.
Much like the 5 am Club and the Miracle Morning, the process of starting each day with a meaningful task will turn into a habit and one that you might just enjoy.
Make sure your morning table is ready for you to sit at. Find a peaceful room, at a quiet time and have your pen and paper ready and waiting. Leave that phone in another room and allow yourself to be alone with your pen, paper and your own thoughts.
Should your pages be written by hand?
Cameron states that Morning Pages should be written by hand.
When you write with a pen and paper you benefit from developing a true connection to ourselves and our thoughts.
It also means that you take the time – if you’re on a keyboard it’s like you’re ‘…driving 80 miles an hour’ and when we write by hand it’s ‘…more like we are driving 60 miles an hour.’
If the thought of writing something by hand brings you out in a cold sweat, there are alternative options available to you.
750 Words – An online and private writing tool.
Penzu – A free private online journal.
Morning Pages – Daily Journal – An iPhone/iPad diary and emotion tracker.
Try with a pen and paper first, and if you find that you can’t stand it, give the alternatives a go.
Recruitment life and Morning Pages
With so much going on in a recruiter’s life, it’s difficult to unload. That’s where Morning Pages come in.
Instead of waking up, checking e-mails, logging straight into LinkedIn or your recruitment software, you can take a bit of time to empty your mind onto the paper.
They are a way for you to truly concentrate on one activity – rather than have your mind wander. They can help you to remember things you need to do, complain and let go. Morning Pages can help set the tone for the day, let you work through issues, and understand yourself more.
Importantly, Morning Pages can help to boost productivity and allow you to focus on the day head.