Boosting Productivity with Morning Pages

Monday Mail #11

Hi Friends 👋,

Happy Monday from Jersey City! This past week, I've been sick with an infection (thankfully not COVID-19) so this edition of Monday Mail will be shorter than the norm since I haven’t been able to read too much this week — and so there are not too many interesting finds I could share.

This week's idea: Morning Pages

What exactly are Morning Pages? To put it simply, it's a fancy way to say journaling. But there's one caveat that makes it different: Morning Pages are done as soon as you wake up.

Over the last couple of months, I've picked up Morning Pages as a habit to implement into my morning routine and I've found it to be one of the best ways to start your day.

I use it to write down remnant thoughts, realign my focus for the day, track my mood, and clear my mind to tackle the day ahead.

Here's a quick look into one of my Morning Pages:

If you notice, I have a list of prompts on the right. I use these as guiding questions to help me get my thoughts out on paper. Usually, I use one or two of these prompts to get started and then free flow from there. ¹

Here are some things I’ve noticed as a result of morning pages:

  • Clearer Mind - Because you are writing everything down on paper at the beginning of the day, you are decluttering your mind from the thoughts/emotions you’ve had from the night before. There’s just something so therapeutic about writing your thoughts and externalizing your feelings.

  • Boosted Productivity - Without the extra baggage of thoughts, I’ve found my mind has become extra sharp and focused on the task at hand.

  • Higher Creative Output - Some of my best ideas for articles, projects, and realizations have come from just writing what comes to mind. As you are free-flowing and writing things down, you start to see connections that aren’t as evident in your mind.

If you want to give morning pages a try, these are the steps I take every day:

  1. Find a piece of paper or some device to type on.

  2. Create a list of guiding questions. Some examples include:

    • Is anything bugging me?

    • What is your main focus of the day?

    • What would I like to write about?

    • What are 3 things you're grateful for?

    • Do you have any leftover thoughts?

    • How do I feel?

  3. Set a timer for 25 minutes.

  4. Start writing. It doesn’t have to make sense, just write whatever comes to mind.

Thanks for reading!

Until next week,

Andy Gao

Fun Fact: A snail breathes through its foot.

QOTW: “Code is crystallized thought.” - Conor White-Sullivan

¹The app I use for Morning Pages (and life management in general) is Roam Research but you can use anything as long as you are writing and clearing out your mind.

The reason why I use Roam Research is because it has an awesome feature called bi-directional linking which allows me to keep track of my responses to my prompts over time: