Morning Ritual = Process for Creativity
Inc. published an article by Jessica Stillman, “Why It’s Worth Making Time for this Lengthy Morning Ritual“.
When business owners go looking for productivity boosters, they’re generally thinking of small changes that can help them squeeze more essential business tasks into their days. In other words, tricks and techniques that will speed up their work. But what if the truth was that in order to reach maximum velocity in completing tasks you first had to slow way, way down?
That’s the counterintuitive idea behind a practice called “Morning Pages” introduced by Julie Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Just as you’d suspect from the name, the idea is, basically, to pause each morning to do some writing before you jump into your day. What might shock you is how and how much. Cameron insists that three pages, written out in longhand, are ideal.
This isn’t my morning ritual. I’m a night-time writer. But the broader point is that we humans benefit from a little repetition and structure to go with our creativity. I remember a creative writing class in highschool where the key bit of advice the teacher gave us was that, if we wanted to be great writers, then we should write something every day. Another tactic was to write for 10 minutes three times in a row, each time narrowing the focus of the writing.
I have found both techniques to be really influential in my life. The time to write at the end of the day is somewhat therapeutic and let’s me synthesize what’s going on in my life or at work. The process of writing is a great way to formulate thoughts in a way that can be better shared with others – verbally or otherwise.
So what do startup execs think about this crazy idea of hers?
He confesses his first response to the idea was, “Is she crazy? How the heck am I supposed to find the time to sit down and write out three pages each morning?” but since taking up the practice he claims it has become an essential way to clear his mind, unleash creative ideas, and quiet his inner critic, reducing his anxiety.
Whatever your morning ritual is, if it isn’t a process it probably should be. Something that you do to set your mind in the right frame for the day. Whether it is brewing a cup of coffee, or making breakfast for the kids, find something manual to do that sets your brain free for a few minutes. Wake up earlier than the rest of your family. Find the quiet.