What My Morning Journal Looks Like

History is littered with examples of successful (and unsuccessful) people who kept daily journals. It ranges from Marcus Aurelius to Ben Franklin, and from Mark Twain to George Lucas.

But what on earth did they write about?

Or perhaps you’ve seen examples of their writing and thought to yourself, “Goddamn, that reads like the Gettysburg Address!” and become demoralized.

In this post, I’ll show you what my raw morning journal looks like.

Why?

Because it’s easy to imagine our heroes as unflappable juggernauts, who conquer insecurity with a majestic mental karate chop every morning. This is, of course, an illusion. Most people you see on magazine covers have plenty of mornings when they’d rather hide under the covers all day long.

A while back, I bared my soul in a post about “productivity” tips for neurotic and crazy people (like me). I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of heartfelt comments, letters, and more that I received.

Many of you have since asked about my “morning pages,” so I’m oversharing again…

The Daily Struggle

Nearly every morning, I sit down with a hot cocktail of turmeric, ginger, pu-erh tea, and green tea. Next, I crack open this large-format paperback (pic from my Instagram):

Tim_Ferriss___timferriss__•_Instagram_photos_and_videos

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To be honest, I never read the original Artist’s Way, which was recommended to me by many mega-bestselling authors.

More book consumption didn’t interest me, as I often use it to procrastinate. What I needed was a daily and meditative practice of production, like the tea ceremony. So, voila, I bought the journal. This “companion” provides plenty of context to be used by itself.

But why journal in the first place?

I don’t journal to “be productive.” I don’t do it to find great ideas, or to put down prose I can later publish. The pages aren’t intended for anyone but me.

Morning pages are, as author Julia Cameron puts it, “spiritual windshield wipers.” It’s the most cost-effective therapy I’ve ever found. To quote her further, from page viii:

“Once we get those muddy, maddening, confusing thoughts [nebulous worries, jitters, and preoccupations] on the page, we face our day with clearer eyes.”

Please reread the above quote. It may be the most important aspect of trapping thought on paper (i.e. writing) you’ll ever encounter. Even if you consider yourself a terrible writer, writing can be viewed as a tool that you can and should use. There are huge benefits to writing, even if no one — yourself included — ever reads what you write. In other words, the process matters more than the product.

Below is one of my real entries.

I’ve typed out the text below the image, as it’s easier to read.

Evernote Snapshot 20150114 141515

SUNDAY, DEC. 28, NEW YORK

Woke up at 7:30am, before everyone else. Feels great.

It’s a Sunday, so I feel I can take it slow, which is probably the reason it feels great.

Why should Monday or Tuesday be any different? There are still people waiting regardless. Let them wait.

It’s funny how we work and aim and strive to get to a point where people wait for us, not the other way around. Cue Get Shorty!

And yet, when we arrive at this vaunted point, the masses of people (often rightly) incessantly knocking on the door, one after another, causes far more stress than when you were a mere peon (sp)! [I was unsure of spelling]

Is it because of the 100x more inbound, which decreases a feeling of self-directed free will? A feeling that you’re constantly choosing from someone else’s buffet instead of cooking your own food?

Or is it because you feel you must be defensive and protect what you have: time, money, relationships, space, etc.?

For someone who’s “won” through a lifetime of offense, of attacking, playing the defensive game conflicts with the core of who they are.

[END]

So… What’s The Point Again?

There are two ways to interpret the above journal entry, and they’re not mutually exclusive:

1) I’m trying to figure things out, and this might help.

For instance: I’ve realized conflicts between goals (become “successful”) and related side-effects one must manage (100x more inbound). I’ve also noted that my big wins in life have come from being aggressive, much like iconic coach Dan Gable, who’s epic rant here is one of my favorites of all time. But the fetters of even a modicum of professional success makes one feel like they have to play defense, or manage instead of conquer. This runs counter to my DNA, which leads to unhappiness. Therefore, I need to divest myself of assets that require “protecting,” or I need to better delegate this responsibility.

That all sounds pleasantly analytical. Aren’t we smart? But perhaps the real value is that…

2) I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.

#2 is key.

Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.

Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life?

As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes.

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Would you like more posts like this? Or never again? Please let me know in the comments (click here), or I’ll never know. Thank you for reading!

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

667 Replies to “What My Morning Journal Looks Like”

  1. One of the discoveries I’ve made about morning writing (or any other time of day) is that the act of hand-writing itself yields ideas and answers that won’t be unearthed by typing on a keyboard. Thanks for sharing your morning page, Tim 😉

    1. Agree strongly…there’s something about the physical, muscular, tactile act of holding a pen and transferring thoughts to paper, somehow “captures” the mental transaction…solidifies it, gives it better scaffolding, better structure. From here, one can look at it again and again…each time re-digesitng, recalibrating. The thoughts are then brought back into the mind if and when we choose.

    2. That’s just not true for lots of people is better to write them clear and correctly on an iPad, it has more meaning and you are not contributing to more garbage by wasting paper

      1. hi marcela. I once did that, with evernote (typing, as opposed to writing on paper~to save paper) but I found over time that I made a good stash as scribblings that I cannot appreciate reading compared to a physical book/journal. screen strain my eyes.

  2. Hey Tim!

    I love the personal aspect these types of posts have! It is always eye opening to see how much of a normal guy you are and not someone so successful you don’t have normal people thoughts.

    Ive never been interested in journaling until now, so my question is this…

    In this post you mention “writing” and “paper” a couple times along with showing a picture of your physical notebook, but would journaling in evernote be just as effective for a beginner?

    Thank you for all you do!

    Be awesome!

    Keith B.

    1. Keith, it’s better than nothing but leaves it short as a large benefit of writing with the hand comes with its physical aspect. I highly suspect there is neurological patterns firing that link emotional aspects with the physical craft. It just feels more primal as well which can only help release yourself.

      1. I think the pros and cons are nice to consider 🙂

        Paper: I used to have beautifully written/drawn journals, but it became a bunch of real estate in a box that I don’t particularly want to keep/read, and the shape/quality is difficult to scan to computer. Now what?!

        Electronic: Recently, I’ve been whipping out my laptop and at least my thoughts are on Ctrl+F… but Joshua’s right about there being a sterility to to typing, plus, sometimes electronics are a little distracting/work-inducing… and you don’t get to thumb through the pages, but it has it’s conveniences.

        Compromise: I saw one blog post on the internet where a guy went paperless with his tablet (and sometimes stylus). Maybe if someone wants to take pictures of it with evernote then trash, or write on scratch paper that’s scannable…

        Evernote is a nice idea and they let you insert scribbles too, you’ve got your principles, why not make them work for you 🙂

    2. There is a lot to be said for writing in Evernote, but there is also a lot to be said for writing with pen and paper. In my experience, there are connections that just aren’t made when I use a computer vs. writing.

      Something worth considering is getting a Livescribe. I’ve had mine for years, and it’s literally world changing. A Livescribe pen will let you import your journaling into your computer, and you can also use it to take recordings of lectures. I’m obsessed. 🙂

    3. Keith,

      I highly recommend you to listen to a short audiobook by Jim Rohn called “How to Use a Journal” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-qYHYMdniM. It helped me greatly when I decided to take up journaling.

      And like Tim pointed out, it’s rather fascinating how empty your mind becomes after having written down your thoughts on paper.

      Good luck!

  3. Hey Tim

    I dont know if im just a part of a big trend or..

    but im also do the artists way ..ive learne a good

    crawl After thirty …im Training to draw the human body..doing Meditation every morning ..im learning langui. .ches (Obviusly still in proces) i wrestell with guitar..i mean..sine i found a one fits all teach-inspire. .please continue with the mailing.

    Chuk dee (thai)

    Troels Borum

  4. WOW, again.

    Thank you. I really appreciate the clarity of this perspective on journaling as well as the topic you wrote about.

    And sharing your real, personal example (tea brewer/infuser and all) is delightful and effective. It really made me smile : ).

    Thanks for all you do, Tim Ferris.

  5. Good morning Tim,

    First of all, thank you for your openness and honesty. It’s not always easy to live a transparent life, but I’m sure you’ll find that people appreciate you doing so because it helps to remind us that you have challenges too.

    I found this post and the previous post on “production tips for the neurotic and crazy” more heartfelt than your regular, scientific, ultra productive, “Superman of Silicon Valley” type stuff. Although I find many of your posts in the latter category incredibly informative, this post and the one mentioned above have a humanness quality about them which helps people identify with you better and is inspiring in a different way.

    What I noticed in your post about the Managing Editor position is that, and this is just my opinion Tim, perhaps you moved away from the real reason you started all of “this” to begin with. And perhaps now is a good time to ask yourself, why did I start the 4HWW? What was my original intention for the book? For the blog? For creating this life? What did I really want to accomplish?

    I think if you reflect back and think about what your original intention was, you’ll find a way to navigate back to that.

    Again, thank you for sharing. I would enjoy reading more posts like this on here in addition to the super hero type stuff.

    Renee

  6. Thank you, Tim. I just purchased “The Artist’s Way” with hopes that it will help settle my overly ambitions mind. I also just sent you a pot and a letter, I hope they find you well. Here’s a quote I thought you might enjoy:

    “The bridge builder’s position is always an uncomfortable one, apt to be shot at from both sides…Bridge building may be risky work, but somebody has got to do it, because the need is great…” Michael Cardew, “Pioneer Potter,” 1969.

    Sincerely,

    Joel

  7. Tim,

    Thank you for sharing. This is an excellent insight. I’ve been keeping a daily journal for over a year but I run it as an evening activity (occasionally have to catch up the next day).

    Building on your point here:

    “Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.”

    That’s part of the reason I journal at night – to help me sleep better. I may well experiment with your journal approach though. My daily journal tends to have a “log of accomplishments/activities” style to it.

    P.S. Your point here (“More book consumption didn’t interest me, as I often use it to procrastinate.”) rang home! That’s why I have set a role to read less in 2015 (i.e. read 45 books in 2014 and plan for 30 in 2015 to give more space for production and business building).

  8. Yes! Yes! Please! This is the kind of posts I like: Your spontanious reactions…and “solutions” to day to day life and preoccupations.

    Thanks!

    Luc

  9. Tim,

    Thank you for sharing. This is an excellent insight. I’ve been keeping a daily journal for over a year but I run it as an evening activity (occasionally have to catch up the next day).

    Building on your point here:

    “Morning pages don’t need to solve your problems. They simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull.”

    That’s part of the reason I journal at night – to help me sleep better. I may well experiment with your journal approach though. My daily journal tends to have a “log of accomplishments/activities” style to it.

    P.S. Your point here (“More book consumption didn’t interest me, as I often use it to procrastinate.”) rang home! That’s why I have set a role to read less in 2015 (i.e. read 45 books in 2014 and plan for 30 in 2015 to give more space for production and business building).

    (Apologies if this comes in twice – I had an error with the first attempt to post a comment)

    1. I started getting up early to do a creative burst after being inspired to do so by Josh Waitzkin on Episode 2 of the Tim Ferriss show. The practise has been transformational, I am now well established on a book project and wholly committed to finishing it.

      Like you I didn’t read Julia’s book but I did follow her advice of cranking out 700 – 1000 words every morning. Often it’s jibber-jabber, but if I’ve been ruminating on something overnight I’ll get high quality prose. There is definitely something special about writing by hand on real paper, ideas just flow out more naturally and in a more sensible order than than when typed on a keyboard.

      My top tip is to use a Livescribe Smartpen. That way I can easily digitise the good stuff and get it into a word processable format. [Moderator: link and related content removed]

  10. Tim – Your humility and transparency are inspiring. They give us all hope that we, with all our flaws, can also be as productive and amazing as you. As you said, a journal is for no-one else’s eyes. Part of the reason for that is you are free to be completely honest and uninhibited in getting those thoughts out. As long as you can keep that mindset while journaling, we want to see it! If knowing it could be read starts making your journaling work instead of therapy, I for one will be patient and wait for the finished product.

  11. I myself, have been contemplating implementing journaling in my daily life. I’ve been urged to start journaling. After seeing your sample journal entry, it gives me motivation to start journaling as well. Thank you. It seems as though that journaling is a type of meditation and the way of relaxation. It seems to be important to journal because it’s one of the best ways one can cope with stress, or aluminate the happiness in one’s life.

  12. I love this post so much. I loved your original “oversharing” post.

    This is what I most want from you these days. I already trust your abilities and effectiveness. They no longer need to be proven. I just want to know your ineffectiveness and struggles, because they make my struggles easier.

    These two posts, along with your post “Feeling Stuck… Read This…”, have made me feel significantly less alone.

      1. Awesome Tim, Writing is a way of dancing between unconscious to conscious, so all those vibrations rather than be ignored will be expressed! Also when looked at your instagram when reading your email saw Federico Aubele and I listened to his music and fell in love with, completely unexpected side effect. 🙂

  13. This is so cool to see! I’m curious if you picked a particularly benign morning of writings to show us?

    How does the writing and tea fit into your morning routine alongside meditation?

    Are you only doing Morning Pages for 5 minutes?

    I find that I usually do one or the other unless I have a long morning of free time.

    Tim – have you ever done “object writing” – Pat Pattison’s technique?

    This is another daily practice I’m juggling and haven’t quite found a groove between meditation, morning pages and object writing.

    I want more like this. The humanizing of public figures helps people realize that they can do great things too.

  14. I like that you posted this. I, myself, have been urged to start journaling daily. I didn’t know where to start or how to start but seeing this shows me that what I have to do is to just start. To my understanding, journaling is a lot like meditation. It’s a way to cope with stress in life. It’s a way to document the happiness that you encounter in life as well. Reading this post, encourages me to stop thinking about journaling and to start journaling. Thank you.

  15. Best post ever…. A cluttered mind is the worst thing that can affect productivity…. Intend to start writing from tommorrow morning

  16. You’re interesting and impactful without having to drop F bombs all the time. Think on that so I can share your stuff with my friends & kids…

  17. I started getting up early to do a creative burst after being inspired to do so by Josh Waitzkin on Episode 2 of the Tim Ferriss show. The practise has been transformational, I am now well established on a book project and wholly committed to finishing it.

    Like you I didn’t read Julia’s book but I did follow her advice of cranking out 700 – 1000 words every morning. Often it’s jibber-jabber, but if I’ve been ruminating on something overnight I’ll get high quality prose. There is definitely something special about writing by hand on real paper, ideas just flow out more naturally and in a more sensible order than than when typed on a keyboard.

    My top tip is to use a Livescribe Smartpen. That way I can easily digitise the good stuff and get it into a word processable format. I did a blog on my workflow a few weeks back that may be of interest to other readers who are looking to maximise the productivity of their morning writing.

  18. Thank you for this post, Tim! I saw you speak at the This Week in Startups LIVE event in SF back in September. I remember being intrigued to hear you describe the concept of morning pages at that event, and this piece builds on that talk with actionable advice.

  19. That was a resolution to me in this year. But, i feel more comfortable to write at night, before i go to bed. Release me from the problems and the stresses of the day, and give me a sense of good feeling with the good things that happen in that day! 🙂 Keep going! 🙂

  20. Thanks so much for sharing! I have a question, though. I recently read you actually were doing the 5 Minute Journal and not Cameron’s Morning Pages. I tried Cameron in the past, and it did not work for me. I am doing the 5 Minute Journal now and it seems better adapted to my needs. I would be curious to hear a comparison between the two and why you moved from one to the other.

    As usual, your writings and podcasts are a great inspiration. Saludos desde Buenos Aires. Te esperamos!

    1. Yeah, this is something I’d love to know too.

      Maybe, the five minute journal can be used to figure out your priority for the day while the morning pages is a word-vomit to bring clarity of mind as Tim said here. Productivity vs. Meditation?

      Are both being used for different reasons Tim or do you favour the morning pages?

  21. Thanks Tim I liked this. I find I start a journal and then it last 2 or 3 days and I pick it up again in 6 months. I literally forget it exists very quickly… I need to find a way to do it long enough to create a habit.

    1. In the morning pages you sign an agreement beforehand, a contract to do them. (If she’s still doing it the same way?) Therefore, if you feel strongly about keeping your obligations, a sense of honor about this, it might be helpful for you.

  22. Tim, OMG – I could cry!! I found myself purchasing this same journal all too many years ago, never read the artist’s way, in fact I picked out the journal based on it’s cover- I had a mount of some problems and new a I needed to do a mountain of journalling to help me sort it out. It was amongst those pages, that I would thrash through my thoughts each day. I have always journaled for as long as I can remember. I sometimes re-read them and sometimes I don’t because sometime it is a brain dump and I just want to let go of those thoughts and feelings.

    I love this honest commentary on how mess life can look like, feels like and yet you do have results. Helps me know I am not alone, and have more in common with you then I thought. I just have to work smarter on the results side of things.

    Thanks again – Mary Catherine (MC)

  23. Good post Tim. It’s always helpful to see behind the curtain at the stressed out little man (who you callin’ little!?) running the controls.

    I’ve been doing morning pages for about six months and I find it’s a great way to clear out all the junk and concentrate on the rest of the day. It’s also a gentle way to wake up. My eyes aren’t even open for the first 3 lines, but you can’t still be sleepy after 20 minutes of writing.

    One thing I do is, if something strikes me as something memorable, I’ll make a quick note in the margin. Then I can do a quick scan back to make sure I get that idea. Rarely more than one or two. Sometimes it’s an idea for a song or comedy bit, other time it’s just an errand I forgot about.

  24. Thanks for this post, Tim! I saw you speak at the This Week in Startups LIVE event in SF back in September. You mentioned something during the event about the concept of morning papers, which I found really intriguing. So it’s great to have these additional details and actionable advice!

  25. Hi Tim,

    This post really spoke to me. Not just how and why we journal… but also the contents of your morning page.

    As a business owner, your points on “the conflicts between goals and related side effects one must manage” and “A feeling that you’re constantly choosing from someone else’s buffet instead of cooking your own food?” really struck a chord with me… and perhaps made me feel a tad bit more sane in the process :-).

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    Kelley

  26. I’ve keep a journal for about 10 years and have tried both evening and morning entries both were quite therapeutic.

    A few years back I start block off my Sundays for longer entries or to read past entries.

    If you are ever out-of-sorts read your old journal entries and your mood will change instantly, especially when you rediscover you are now living the goals and dreams of years past. Cheers.

  27. Thanks Tim. I really enjoyed that. I’ve always been told I should journal, but it’s not natural to me, and I’ve never understood why I should do it. I’ve always thought it seems like a stupid waste of time.

    Your explanation is clear and for the first time I actually want to do it.

    Good stuff, keep it coming.

  28. yes I was only reading about doing this today in another book, so if it works for you then my question is how long do you spend doing this …

    1. amazing thing is that I have all my dairies from the age of 11 to 13 each day I wrote a few sentences, such discipline, it was probably what kept me in control at a hard time, parents divorcing, boarding school blah blah blah.. strange reading them now i am 39…..

  29. Hello Tim!

    I definitely would love to see more posts like this. There are few times we get to delve inside moments in uber-successful people’s lives where we can relate so strongly to them (unless you know them personally), which in turn makes people feel that they could be like you someday, just as in the case of your entry here.

    I keep a morning journal myself, and sometimes I ask myself: “Is this what I should be writing about? Is this what everyone else writes about?” But you’ve reminded me that that is unimportant. I always feel better about myself after writing regardless.

    Keep up the great work, Mr. Ferriss!

  30. Lovin’ these posts Tim – I’m filled with both fascination and appreciation for having access to the raw honesty of someone like you. My hope for you, is that in doing this, it will help you mitigate some of the pressure you’re currently experiencing. Two things spring to mind. 1. As Buddhism teaches us (with a little of my twist) this is gorgeously and inspiringly ‘temporary’. 2. It’s a ‘reaction’, therefore you have 100% control. In short, thanks for the posts.

  31. I have always been more productive keeping a journal than not. During the 2 years I slowed to a complete stop, I became less productive. Thank you for reminding me that this one weird thing I do on a daily basis really keeps me on track for doing great things.

  32. Great post Tim. Please keep this sort of thing coming. I really love the idea of a morning routine like this. My biggest concern is that I couldn’t write something as “flowing” as this, it reads like prose to me whereas whatever I write tends to be more like a poorly translated instruction manual. I find this my biggest road block to any writing I guess

  33. Yeah Dude, keep opening the Kimono and putting stuff like this out there and like the master martial artists there won’t be anything left to be defensive of. Sooo Meta. You taking a page out of Altuchers book? 🙂

  34. How do you make turmeric tea in a french press. Do you simply use powder? Do you add black pepper for absorption? That concoction sounds tasty, I think I will try that

  35. I like this type of post. I love seeing other folks morning routines. It’s really cool how people start their days in so many different ways. where do you get your tea?

  36. Tim,

    Thanks! I have been delaying my journal ambitions because yes, I feel like my writing is so pathetic. BUT, when I do go back and re-read the journal posts I have made, you can definitely tell I was shedding some weight that allowed me more energy for the day. Kudos for sharing!!

  37. Thanks Tim….I loved this post and you! You are successful and inspiring and at the same time such a real person. I’ve been journaling on and off for years and your right sometimes just bitching and moaning on paper can change your life because you get it out of your head and onto paper which helps let it go so you can move on to better ideas.

  38. For sure, these are my favourite type of blog posts. As a non-entrepreneur but someone who just applies Tim’s methods and ideas to every day life (automation, diet, etc.) posts like this are perfect. Will be trying this.

  39. Thought provoking read as usual Tim! I have sporadically tried to do this using the ‘Day One’ app on my computer, but I don’t think it is quite the same. Also, as someone who spends most of his waking hours staring at a computer, it is good to have any excuse to write physically, rather than type. Definitely going to try this out. All the best.

  40. Good stuff, it’s refreshing to meet someone (or, I suppose in my case, follow someone) who is willing to put themselves out there. Like their real-er selves. I loved your earlier post – “Productivity Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) – as well.

  41. Hi Tim. Yes, keep writing posts like this, and as you always do. Julia Cameron (author of the book you mentioned) saved my writing ass many years ago. Had given up on my writing ambition. Bought her book, The Right to Write, and starting reading it as I rode in the Boston Subway.

    67 Morning Page Journals later, and one published book (Get What You Want) but more on the way. I find writing “just for the hell of it” in Morning Pages to be liberating. Anyway, thanks for you great work. Am 68 years old, but feel, act, and think like a 24-year-old. Your books and posts are shots of adrenaline to the spirit. Keep it up.

  42. Top post. I’ve known the value of journaling and wanted to start it for many years but my perfectionist inclinations have held me back for not having something ‘worth’ journaling.

    So tomorrow is the first day I brain dump my thoughts of the morning on paper… Now… Need to find the right pen to write with 😉

  43. Thank you Tim. As I follow you more and more, I am appreciative of your personal insights because it gives me a better understanding of how you think and view life. Your ten questions podcast and these type posts, all help me better understand and interpret what you provide. Inspirational and educational.

    Now, go be awesome! (some more)

    Tane’

  44. I agree: You should definitely do more posts like this.

    The longest time I spent journaling was using the online application called 750 Words. They send you an email reminder each morning and allow you to save your ramblings to Evernote. Therapeutic is definitely the right word for this practice.

  45. Do you only do one page or are you only showing one page? I have attempted to make morning pages a habit for years. I am committed to making it stick this year, but sometimes the time requirement for 3 pages is a bit much in my morning routine (pickup house, eat, walk dog, exercise…).

  46. Like:

    I agree: You should definitely do more posts like this.

    The longest time I spent journaling was using the online application called 750 Words. They send you an email reminder each morning and allow you to save your ramblings to Evernote. Therapeutic is definitely the right word for this practice.

  47. I have been bitching and moaning in morning pages since 1999. I’m not sure I am any more successful but I must say that re-reading them 10 years later is entertaining at worst and has given me a few “aha” moments! I would love to hear more about your journey with your morning pages!

  48. Hey Tim,

    This is Ted from the quad squad. Hope your well mate.

    We just released the book of my friend Valerios journal (includes his blog post, Facebook messages, sms and personal journals) of the world record breaking journey.

    It’s amazing to read and relive the memories in my head and think about the good times we had together (as well as the tough times in our relationship).

    I would love to send you a copy. It’s a bilingual book which I know you would like.

    Email me. [Moderator: email removed]

    Ps keep being awesome.

  49. I believe this is a great email I’ve just recieved at the perfect time! I’ve been journaling like this for the past 2 years almost every single day. I’ve written about almost everything from people in my life to new discoveries it is raw as well. I think it’s great to share ideas I write a lot down. Whatever’s on your mind and is written down can help you and others in the future. I’m really glad I got to read even this. I was just thinking of all the pages I have written down in journals… would they help others?? You never know. Most probably yes!

  50. Meditation, morning pages, 30 g of protein. What do I do first!? I have an overbooked/overspec’ed 1st hour of the day.

    Any recommendations? I suppose it depends on what’s the current goals. But, for instance: assuming no need for serious fat loss at the moment, can the protein wait until the 2nd hour?

  51. I’ve done morning pages for 10 years now (I’m only 28) and I’ve noticed weird patterns — where sometimes it makes bad days worse. I think you have to push yourself to really dig deep.

    Here’s one question I’ve learned centers everything, especially for entrepreneurs: “What do I want my day to look like?”

    – Chris

    [Moderator: link removed]

  52. Great read. I always noticed several things when I kept my daily journal up to date. First, as you succinctly pointed out, it is indeed like spiritual windshield wipers (clears the focus even after a rough night). I also noticed that when keeping up with it my handwriting (which is quite good) always got better as well I believe due to the calming and intimate nature of the subject (deeper concentration). One other point which I found interesting though is that when I was remiss in not writing it was like one feels when they did not floss their teeth in the morning – like one personally cut corners and it always seems to lay a guilt complex on me until I rectify it later in the day. Then everything seems better. I guess it is more or less a personal discipline than anything else.

  53. This post = yes! I too blast off 10 minutes of mind babble in the mornings. (I also keep a separate sheet of paper nearby for “to-dos” as they come to mind; I jot them down and go back to writing). Lastly, the reason it works for me is because it’s so easy (wake up, throw on a hoody and write), no high level thinking required. On a really stressful day, I just wrote the f-word down for the first 3 minutes. Done.

  54. Great read. Do you think you could have the same benefits typing a morning journal on a computer instead of writing by hand? Also, any instructions on your tea. Looks amazing!

    Thanks!

  55. You are spot on with getting stuff out of your head so it doesn’t bounce around in there all day or night. I have to laugh to myself at times when i think “if anyone ever reads this muck, they’ll get the impression I was extremely unhappy or frustrated all the time.” And the contrary is more the rule, probably because I do journal all the gunk out of my head. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your notes – I always learn and enjoy seeing another person’s perception of life and a peek of what’s going on in their head. 🙂

  56. love this post. I stopped doing morning pages years ago for no good reason but they were a cool way to dump mental clutter.

    Half your luck you’ve got a tame little monkey mind buddy…some days I get so lucky, other days I wake up with a pack of wild dogs in my head. They start up upon waking and run feral and psychotic until I do something useful to calm them…or not as the case may be.

    At least it’s made me spend a lot of time and money seeking stillness and they’ve been a blessing in disguise for that.

  57. After many years of doing morning pages, I found many insights and understanding of experiences. They also allowed me to just get a lot of s… out that had no where else to go!

  58. I loved this post Tim. I enjoy these posts about everyday habits and how one can go about one’s day more effectively. They really play a much bigger role than anticipated. I too find writing in the morning a great ‘harddrive defrag’ but as many other helpful habits it’s hard too sustain without reminders. I’m setting an alarm for it right now.

    Cheers,

  59. Agreed with everyone else. More posts like this.

    After hearing Brian Koppelman talk about morning pages on his podcast as well as you talk about them on yours, along with this post, that’s the last push I needed to start them.

    Keep inviting us in on your journey. Things like this are what separate you from the rest.

    Best,

    Kevin

  60. I have to say Tim, that this could be my favorite post ever. I will start a journal tomorrow to write down all the nonsense stuff that is on my head in the morning. Who knows it may make sense if I read another day lol. Amei, escreve mais, por favor.

  61. I really enjoy your posts in all their dimension. You always give something useful that you figured out and share it with us. It was interesting that your posted this now cause I just started writing my morning journal and a bit of inspiration is always welcome.

  62. Hey Tim,

    It’s Ted from the Quad Squad. Mel’s friend. When I saw this I was reminded of the donation you made to our cause and thought I would let you know that we published Valerio journals of the world record breaking journey.

    Wanted to send you it. Let’s see if this works to somehow get it to you.

  63. I think this post was great. I began the same jounaling process recently. I have done it in the past but only to get through stressfull times. Now I am doing it to help stay positive and meditate on improvement in all aspects of my life. This type of personal post is great.

  64. Excellent. I appreciate you opening up. It’s a sigh of relief to all those others whom have many of the same issues.

    A post on insomnia would be epic.

  65. I love the post! More like this, yes please.

    I’ve done several rounds of “The Artist’s Way” (follow up books by Julia Cameron in the mix included). I did it once by myself. Successful during, but morning pages dropped off rapidly after the 12 week program concluded. It wasn’t until I worked the books with a group of people that her work really impacted my life in a meaningful way.

    Two key reasons the group made a difference:

    1. The accountability: I knew we were meeting each week to discuss my results and progress.

    2. POV shift: I got to hear other people’s perspectives and see things about myself that were otherwise hidden to me.

    Damn it all, but Morning Pages work!

  66. Writing down my thoughts is the single best solution of let go. It’s easy and cheap. Plus it’s a great yoga for fingers. Whenever I feel the slightest bit loaded with thoughts, I do this exercise and immediately I come back to the present.

  67. Tim, I am sure you’ve done 23andme. How much Neanderthal are you?

    (Serious question, one of those I-believe-it-but-I-can’t-prove-it things is that Thal heritage affects us much more than commonly thought, and especially so for those with high expression of it).

  68. Hi Tim,

    Yes I like this type of post. It is a insight into the mind of someone who has been able to successfully organize their thoughts that come at the speed of a million per minute… And create the focus to take action.

    I am dealing with monkey mind, an out of control one at the moment, full of non stop ideas. I am going to try this trick to clear my head in the morning and get on to my day – with more focus. Keep on being awesome, you inspire so many people.

  69. Great post Tim, and thanks for sharing. I’d definitely like to see more in the future.

    I’ve been journaling every day for the past few years and can absolutely vouch for the power of personal writing. Not only has it been a great way to keep a record of my life that I can look back on years from now, but it’s also led to a surprising number of personal epiphanies and has been the antidote to many a foul mood. It can be all too easy to think the same negative thought over and over again for hours, days, or even weeks; but it’s hard to *write* about the same thought for more than a few minutes. Getting things out of your mind and onto the page helps you see them more objectively and find solutions (or just move on).

    As for the other comments asking about hand-writing versus typing – I’d say it’s relatively unimportant. Tim has a drawing background and clearly likes to be unplugged, so it’s not surprising that he uses a paper journal. Personally, I find writing by hand to be excruciating and distracting, so I just type my thoughts into a Word document. Use whatever makes you feel most comfortable.

  70. Great post, I have been curious about your morning writing/journaling. I know you’re into morning routines so I was wondering your thoughts on Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning? I also wish I could attach my morning pages template for journaling, motivational quote of the day, Most important tasks, and hourly appointment format with checklists. This has allowed my journaling to turn into actionable steps on one page. Thanks for the great content as usual!

  71. You’ve give me a eureka moment! I try to journal every day – wins, losses, worries, but I’ve never tried it at the start of the day. I’ve had a lot on my mind recently which is manifesting in extreme procrastination. I’m going to give this a go! Amazing!

  72. Excellent post. A practical no-bullshit way of providing something I can start today to make my mental well-being better. When you bear your soul and open up, you are 10 times more real to everyone. Thank you

  73. Thanks for this post, always nice to hear your views. I tend to believe in fixed

    working hours and then time off. So a clear distinction between work and spare time.

  74. Love it…great post Tim, really liking the personal touch and insights in to you as a person (in a non creepy way!) just great to see the real person behind the hype every now and again. I think point #2 is especially salient, I know I barely ever reread, and often to be honest may not gain massive value from what I’ve written, but it calms some part of my brain and just gets me out of my own way for the rest of the day.

  75. Just the nudge I needed to get back to doing the morning pages, thanks 🙂 I like posts like this – short and insightful.

  76. Hey Tim,

    Thank you for the great post! I found some time ago the same truth that journaling keeps the mind clear. It also helps me get a feeling of how I spend my time.

    Best wishes,

    Simeon

  77. Tim, Thanks for this post. I really enjoyed it, (minus the “f-bomb”, not necessary), and used to journal myself at night. I found that it became an abridged recitation of the days events and a chore which doomed it to the dust heap of history. I believe I will try the morning routine and see how it goes. Thanks again. I always appreciate your posts and your time!

  78. Hello Sir Tim!

    Thank you for “over sharing”! I certainly appreciate these types of posts as well as the informal short podcasts. (Dig the long ones too).

    I have the artist’s way book, but not the journal. Have done morning pages off and on over the years. Trying to get into a morning routine that includes this practice.

    Cheers,

    Patrick

  79. My sister gave me The Artists Way for Christmas and I have been doing the Morning Pages since Dec. 27. 19 out of the last 21 days, I would almost call it a habit!

    It has been a great way to get my busy brain ready to take on the day. Thanks for all that you do and keeping it Real, Tim!

  80. I also do morning pages since reading the book. But I use Write Or Die (http://writeordie.com) for it instead of writing by hand.

    I set it to 1000 words in 35 minutes. This helps me to keep writing and not think about the content too much. (The app is also great to write first drafts of blog posts and sales pages for the same reason).

    And yes, it totally clears my mind and gives me focus for the day so I’m a huge fan of morning pages 🙂

  81. Morning pages (or whatever you call it, I call it my daily ramblings) has been the best way to clear my mind for years. I have tons or scraps of paper with all the stuff in my head scrawled out. Sometimes it’s useful, most if the time it is complete crap to anyone but me, and sometimes it’s even crap to me. But once it’s out, I focus much better on everything. Good post and anyone on the fence about it, I say try it for a couple weeks.

  82. There is so much good guidance out there about what you should do in the first stages of your morning that I get overwhelmed: Meditate, Work-Out, Box Breathing, Free Hand Journaling, Gratitude Journaling, Sun Salutations, Run… I know that I should experiment with several and discover what activities are the most fulfilling for my life, but I still find it difficult to distill down.

  83. Yes more. I have written in a journal for 40 years. Thank you for the affirmative response to what at times has been seen by me and others as a waste of time.

  84. Thank you for this! yes more of this refreshing honesty is nice. I’ve never heard the act of journal writing explained in that way and it actually makes sense to me and makes me want to try again. I’ve only ever heard the textbook therapist reasoning for journal keeping. Or the self help book step # whatever to becoming blah blah blah…I love that you’ve put it out there that it doesn’t have to lead to anything, become a part of your biography, or take part in a bestselling book I’ll write someday. Pressure I put on myself to write something meaningful has always made me view the journal as a chore or homework project.

  85. Yes, more posts like this! I’ve done morning pages off and on for years and as of late have fallen off the wagon with it. Your explanation of why morning pages work – process over product – reminded me why writing does matter, even if no one ever reads it. Yet another reason why I love your work. Thank you!

  86. Yes, please keep doing these personal posts! This one was helpful, as I’ve been doing morning pages and struggling with the “why” of them (I do them online at 750words.com instead of on paper, which is great for those inclined to keyboard instead of handwriting, although handwriting has major benefits). I recently came across another post that said essentially the same thing as you are saying – do the morning pages to dump the crap that’s bothering you, the random thoughts, the monkey mind, whatever it is – and that made them start being enjoyable! To read that you use them this way too is…gratifying? Right-feeling-making? Whatever, it’s helpful. Love to hear more about your struggles and how you deal with them! 🙂

  87. Let’s definitely have more entries like this one. It’s all well and good to tell people they should keep a journal with short daily entries every day, but it’s something altogether different to explain why and include an example. Thank you.

  88. I love everything you do. Everything you do affects me in a positive way! Thank you for sharing your personal journal entry.

  89. I absolutely loved this post Tim. I believe it helps everyone when you share raw details like this about your life. Thank you for sharing.

  90. Tim,

    Thank you for your comments concerning journaling. I use to meditate every morning and found I invested more time arguing with my self where journaling has allowed me to resolve any issue at a personal or professional level. By asking better and better questions in my daily journal, better and better answers flow in to my consciousness. I can then decide what to do about the situation as I get clearer because my emotions are put aside. As a result, I get better and better results, outcomes and experiences. Thanks again for your comments.

    Joseph F. Lahue

  91. Thanks Tim! Your original post has been of tremendous value to me in getting a sense of the “humanness” of “rockstars”, and this is an inspiring follow-up. I am journalling every night, but have now started journalling in the morning due to your interview with Josh Waitzkin. Following your favorite Bruce Lee quote, I adapted it to doing your exercise on fear-setting every morning to get the “fuzzy, muddy and maddening thoughts” out in the open!

  92. I’ve also been working with The Artist’s Way for the past few months, and the morning pages are *absolutely* game changing. Thanks for sharing!

  93. Tim Ferriss blog:

    Awesome Tim! You are so right on about writing. It makes us tap into the unconscious, and writing establishes the dance between unconscious and conscious. This natural flow between unconscious and conscious, which sparks all those vibrations and signals that makes us uneasy, uncomfortable, and anxious, these signals called spontaneously occurring signal (SOS) in new code NLP, we usually ignore them, suppress them, gradually they builds up and makes this black tar and haze over consciousness, then we feel anxious, worried, and depressed. We wonder why? We don’t know where this is coming from? Why I have this feeling. There are ways to establish bridges between conscious and unconscious. One of the ways is to pay attention to these signals and simply acknowledge them. The unconscious is trying to communicate with us(conscious). If we just acknowledge these signals, and communicate to our unconscious: You got my attention show me in images, sounds, and feelings what would like to communicate with me. Please show me my powerful unconscious. I’ll be silent waiting for you.

    Writing as you mentioned, can be mental bathing and cleansing our mind from these tars and haze.

    One of the interesting side-effect as I was reading your email, I noticed your Instagram and I saw the picture of you and your favorite musician, Federico Aubele, then I listened to his work and it so amazing. It reminded me of Mark Knopfler, Chris Rae, and Bryan Ferry type music but with his own blend of unique exotic passion spice.

  94. Really enjoyed this post. Tons of people say journaling is effective but you never really know who actively journals or who is just blowing smoke.

  95. Interesting article. I like your analogy of a bullet ricocheting through your skull. I tend to do my journal at night to get rid of anxiety or bad feelings before the next day, and it was interesting to see how your thoughts were different from my journal.

    I think it would be pretty cool if you showed us your morning pages as it gives an insight on your life, but at the same time it seems like a lot of work on your part analyzing and typing out your pages each day. Maybe outsource scanning your pages and uploading them to a special part of your website?

  96. Great post! Links in with the last two books I read “chimp paradox” and “the power of positive thinking”

    Both say the same thing that we need to dump what’s in our head to be free of it! Chimp paradox is more from a scientific view saying that the part of our brain (chimp) needs to be heard and its reactions are based on feelings which isn’t always right!

    Whereas power of positive thinking says we should hand all those worries, fears , insecurities over and expect with faith that they will be taken!

    I prefer doing it on a night but I also know my minds like a vacuum so if you remove something I need to put something better in its place!

    I get what I focus on which is a pain in a**e as Ive constantly got 20 things to do so its overwhelming knowing which one to focus on !

    Wow this was a cathartic rant great stuff great post

  97. I think this is the first time I’ve left a comment here:

    1. Thanks for asking for comments. While it’s probably at the bottom of every email, I noticed it today.

    2. Loved this post. For lack of a better description, I’ve had some bad luck lately and my brain has been racing (read: driving recklessly at breakneck speeds down quiet country lanes) with thoughts about how to change direction and reorganizing my priorities. I’ve been “meaning” to get into journaling but I haven’t actually made any effort.

    Thank you kick that I needed.

  98. I like this post a lot because I totally relate to that, it’s short and very valuable – teaches something extremely useful that is simple to get done and, helped me understand the principle behind Joirnaling, one that makes sense to me. And seeing you as human makes me believe I am also capable of doing what you do.

  99. I do! I believe in the same habit, writing my pages first thing in the morning.

    It kills the fear of the white, empty page.

    Enjoy your day,

    S

  100. Tim,

    I’ve been reading and following you for years. Watched your YouTube videos, TED talks and 4 hour body changed my life. Watching and learning from your willingness to share your own struggles has been an incalculable value to me. In the last year, for some reason, I’ve been struck with panic attacks. I didn’t know what it was until I was rushed to the hospital thinking I was having a heart attack. I have a high stress job, marriage of 18 years and a bunch of kids, bio, adopted and foster. I volunteer as a child advocate and I’m busy! I can’t afford to be anything less than at the top of my game. I just read #2 of this post. It hit me. That might just be the answer I need. Of course I have been too busy to write this stuff down for 20 years – too busy I’m quite certain. I’m going to try writing, not to solve problems but to get them out of my head so I can get on with my day. Thanks Tim.

  101. “I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.” Going to give this a try now even though (or maybe because?) I missed the morning already.

  102. Hey Tim – I have the exact same journal – and i start my day the same way — just not with the same tea. What’s that recipe? I read Julia’s book years ago, but, like you, at this time it’s not necessary – her journal gives the gist of what each week is about. I kinda thought it was odd for a guy to post this, but hey, as a newbie blogger (still setting up my blogging ideas), this one has inspired me to share the authentic part of myself. THANKS ..and YES, keep on shining with this heart-centred sharings 🙂

  103. , I get more from you sharing about yourself and what you go through and I do from other people’s posts. Because most people are just trying to impress, as opposed to open up and show how things are in real life and that your more like me and I feel a bit more likely to succeed in ways I see you or others have done. So I especially look forward todisease when you were willing to crack the door open just a little bit for us to see In.

  104. Love this post! Always curious as to what other successful people do as part of their daily routines. Thanks for the insight and authenticity to share something as private as your journal entry.

  105. Hi Tim,

    Thank you Tim for being vulnerable with us and sharing your journal entries…I can relate to what you are saying in a many ways. I do hope you continue to share with us similar posts to this one. I find journaling to be a great way to become more intimate with myself and reveal more of myself to me!

  106. Yeah, definitely keep on rockin’ with the introspective stuff. I love it, it’s inspiring and it helps a lot knowing that you superhumans are also humans after all.

    I’ve been also doing free writing exercises every morning; always handwritten, and always in my most beloved journals. After it I always feel like my mental pipes are cleared and ready to roll. Good stuff.

  107. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your morning journal AND why you find it so helpful. Yes, more stuff like this would be great. Sometimes, I can understand a concept, or an idea, but an example like this really helps me put it into practice.

    Thanks again!

    Dave

  108. Can you talk a bit more about “hot cocktail of turmeric, ginger, pu-erh tea”? How it’s made and why you drink this and where can we get this from? Thanks.

  109. More. I’d like more of these kind of posts. They sound like mine and even though that is so ego-ic to say, I have to admit it gives me confidence that I could open myself up to “the world”. Not sure why I am so afraid of that. I’m big into redefining my fears so that I can get moving on my most stubborn inner blocks without the constant side-tracking distraction mechanisms like writing this long sentence right now.

    I think I always wanted “the world” and “my experience in it” to be so mega fantastic that I am terrified that if I go conquer it, and if I will be disappointed that I won’t have anything to live for anymore.

    Enough of that.

    But what I don’t understand is why do you (as in YOU Tim) feel like you have to stop to conquer and now manage your life?

    Or are “over-sharings” like this morning pages blog post a new way of conquering possibly the fear of being transparent and vulnerable? In which case you’d have found a new way to be more in alignment with your DNA, which I agree is of utmost importance. (Total projection on my part). I think I have let go of the fear of making a fool out of myself, finally, and also have a slight sense that no-one ever really cares about what I say, so it’s okay to lay it all out without and imagine it will blow away into the wind like a colored sand mandala on the ground.

  110. Great post, and superb timing for me. As I am just about to start this morning (using a 5-minute journal that came in some box ages ago). Just waiting for the tea to steep. I found this post very helpful. Thankyou.

  111. I believe the opposite of you think. When we write our journal at any time of the day, we stress even more our daily commotions and the game of quantification do devastatation…Thougts aren’t like “rains wiped by “windshield wipers.”

  112. Thank you Tim! More, more, more!

    I did the The Artist Way last year and it changed everything. I still do pages and you are absolutely correct, its lets me begin my day with clarity!

  113. you just inspired me to journal in the morning…. often at night, i fall asleep and wake up with pages everywhere and “mysterious” ink marks on my pillowcases, and often my cheeks!

  114. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been doing a morning journal for years for exactly the same reason except I add a “to do” list at the end. Otherwise, as you say, things continue running around your brain all day ( the to do list helps here).

    And I’m 82 yrs old. It still helps.

  115. I really enjoy your posts like this that are less about success, but more about how you are also human and encounter some of the same setbacks/ frustrations as everyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I love your books and posts, but these are nice every now and again because they hit closer to home. To be honest this is the first post of yours I’ve stopped to read through to completion in the past few months, largely due to the cliche of being too busy. This one struck a chord that made me stop for a second to finish reading. Thanks for the insight!

  116. Thanks Tim. This a practise I’ve maintained for a long time. It’s heartening to find that I do it this way too as I thought it was because have such a memory with holes in it. Enjoy your info

  117. Brilliant. I’ve been trying to use writing as a tool for getting mental clarity and self-reflection, and I’ve done this mostly at the end of the day to take a moment and process the days happenings. I’ll give the morning routine a shot.

    The other problem is that there are too many things that can be helpful as part of a morning routine: meditation, exercise, writing, making breakfast, etc. And theres only a limited amount of time. I guess that would qualify as a first-world problem..

  118. This is like a bold reminder that I need to do this stuff again. I used to have a diary just like yours…..the words were just for me……but it got them out of my head an onto paper.

    Lately my mind has been cluttered and in the last few years I have lost focus. I think this is why. I haven’t had a diary for years.

    I am going to rekindle that today 🙂 Thanks Tim

  119. Tim,

    Taking a mind dump on paper first thing is the greatest. After my morning pages, I immeadately mediatate. I believe that getting all my thoughts on paper beforehand leads to better meditation.

    The difficult thing about following these morning routines is getting up significantly earlier than normal. I start work at 7am, this requires me to get up at 4am to complete my routine which can lead to burn out after a week or so. It’s a constant struggle.

    Thanks for the greast post!

    Gavin

  120. Yes,Tim. Your insights are helpful. Please keep sharing. You never know when something that you write will “click

    in”. For example I like knowing about you ginger tumeric tea. You have a keen and inquisitive mind and lots of

    experience and when you share your thoughts with the

    intention of helping others you have fulfilled a life role

    in alignment with your dharma-:))

    Wishing you much joy and wellness-:))

    Steve Heller

  121. “Would you like more posts like this?”

    I’d love a post just like this where you present a single journal entry from 3-7 different people. How you get them you choose… request from top performers you know that journal? Request from readers, randomly sample then pick a few awesome ones? Whatever. But a differing variety of entries from people that successfully journal (whatever “successfully” means). I think that’d be a powerful, motivating blog post that promotes journaling by showing how the style/flow/spelling doesn’t matter. And it should be a post that will stand the test of time, which we know you prefer.

  122. Tim Ferris, keep posts just like or as this one. One reason, you answered or better yet reminded my question I answered to myself years ago. Stop exploding my mind so much and write everything and anything in my long forgotten journal. This I know will clear my head and be part of my many ways towards “focus” and balance with thoughts, adventures life, plus increase my writing skills from “okay” to “on a roll Chris” to myself.

    Best Regards,

    Christopher Rodriguez

  123. Awesome post, please more of these!

    As much as I love the podcast posts, the non-podcast ones are the best, as they have some sort of a call for action. Starting my journal tomorrow morning.

  124. Hi Tim,

    Interested in fact that your entries are so short. Per the book (Artist’s Way), I usually try for three pages or thirty minutes. But sometimes I’ll do the same thing and spend five or ten minutes.

    Do you lengths vary, or is this a minimal effective dose sort of thing? I’ve noticed exponential returns for every ten extra minutes of mindfulness meditation — have you experimented at all and found little difference or has it always been five minutes?

    Michael

    My monkey brain may be a gorilla.

  125. I like this of post–it is totally useful to see what you get out of journaling. As a writer I find that the kind of reflection I get while journaling might in itself never be the kind of writing I want people to see, but it does a lot to help focus my thoughts each day. It also serves as a sort of confidante so I don’t have to bore my friends and family with all the minutia in my brain… 🙂

  126. This is awesome. Seriously. More of this is more than welcome. Yes, it’s personal, but it’s raw and real and relatable. And I love alliteration. God bless, Tim.

  127. Tim,

    First, hats off to your reader Ernie Kleven! Ernie, you are SO cool. 82 years old and you are keeping up with gents like Tim Ferris and posting on his blog! If I were blessed with many years will I be so flexible and open to learning new things? I love it!! Inspiring. (“Water seeks it’s own level”….no matter what age)

    Yes, please keep posts like this coming, this was good timing. It seems the other basics are in place (spiritual “food”, healthy diet, gym/activity, business…for the moment anyway). It is time to reincorporate morning pages. Until this post I forgot what a huge difference morning pages can make in your day. With your IG post I put my Artists Way back on my night stand…with this post I am going to get to it! As always, thanks! You make a positive impact.

  128. Morning pages has been a pivotal exercise for me for the last few years…I never reread them, it is not the point.

    More posts like this please…it helps to see how others walk.

  129. YEP on keep em’ coming! I have great respect for transparent people. Especially for those that don’t bore the HECK out of me with details. Grats!

  130. The need to journal grows as the demands on one grow. I have experienced this at epic life events, too. Marriage, births, promotions, deaths – all precipitate a mental storm that requires writing/journaling to keep the noise manageable.

  131. Loved this post! Morning pages have been the single key to me getting my head clear each day to focus on my goals. In three, sometimes eligible, pages I dump all of my insecurities, anxieties, irritations, weird dreams, hopes and plans for the day on paper and without fail, I’m more focused and ready to conquer the world. So worth the time! To kick start the process, I downloaded the audio version of The Artist Way and listened to it on my morning walks. I noticed that my creativity flows now in delightful ways. Keep it up!

  132. The world needs a Dan Gable movie/book/docu filtered through Ferriss kaleidoscope.

    “The 4 Hour Obsession”

    I doubt that Dan needed (or needs) a journal.

  133. I really like this post. It explains to me the benefits of journaling, and also shows me a glimpse into your personal journaling which further helps explain and show the benefit . I especially liked the last two lines about bitching and moaning changing your life. This might actually be useful to me. Thank you.

  134. I have been doing morning pages for years and they do all of the things that you mention. I have issues with being consistant because I often work 13 hour days. but when i do them the i am a much more accomplished human.

  135. This is great! It helps to know that you struggle with a monkey mind too. I’m a mom with two young kids, maybe not your target demographic, but we are all looking for ways to avoid distractions and focus on what really matters to us. Keep sharing, Tim!

  136. Tim, I like this blog. Sounds like a good way to get your day going, to help get unstuck, minimizing writer’s inertia, etc. I’m going to buy Cameron’s book amd try it out. Thanks.

  137. I like your blogs and am a little envious. I have the same think pattern as you do, but still have not figured out a muse yet. I like what I do, but I work too hard for it. I will still keep trying, thank you. Can you tell us what was in your $5,000 quarterly? I started with a new firm and couldn’t do it this year, but I wanted to.

  138. Love your thoughts about the journal and thank you for the Dan Gable reminder.

    Very true very powerful.

    Thank you

    It pays to be aggressive and you can do so without hurting others but in fact with aggression you can help others.

  139. Awesome read. Always been intimidating with journaling but seeing it from your perspective I can now see a lot of personal advantages. Quick question in regards to meditating and journaling. Is there an advantage of doing one over the other first?

  140. Awesome post. I’ve always been intimidated my writing and reading how it benefits you from your perspective really helped. It’s something I’m gonna work into my morning routine. A question did come up in regards to meditation and journaling in morning routines. Is there any advantage of doing one before the other?

  141. Love this post Tim!

    I always do something similar to the 5 Minute Journal. As you don’t write that much an it is more about focus for the day.

    But now I am wondering which approach is better…

  142. I find that a few minutes walking (not exercising or gym) on your own every morning does the same thing. I usually go for a hike up Table Mountain with my dogs (or just around the block, through a park if you dont have a mountain).

    Thanks Tim. Good read.

  143. Great post. I think and feel the same way. I just don’t have the guts to post these thoughts publicly. You are a braver person than me.

    Honestly, and I know you probably won’t see this, but you have influenced my life in many positive ways. I was introduced to your work based on my intuition. I was in my local library and was drawn to your book, “The Four Hour Chef.” I learned to cook, followed your podcast, read all your books, and the ones you recommended, and was turned on to many other masters in the world. Thank you for that.

    I know that I have been created to be a leader, such as you have. I’ve struggled with the thought of applying for your ‘managing editor’ position. I know I have the credentials you are looking for, but I still, despite helping others achieve their goals, still have self doubt. But, I guess my intuition led me here, after reading your post. I want to tell you this. I know I can do the job. I may not have been brave enough to apply before, but your words on this blog post have compelled me to reach out after all. :).

    Namaste,

    Liz

  144. I think there are many versions of you and I like them all but the vulnerable side may be the most inspiring to those who need to really think about identity, purpose, or the big and small questions of life. There is a lot to life. Cover it all. From any angle as long as it is sincere, truthful, and vulnerable. The last word may be more important than performance.

  145. Hi Tim, great post again!

    Creating a morning routine to allow for overall awesomeness is something i’m focusing on right now. The teachings of Hal Elrod in his “Miracle Mornings” book is an inspiration and also promotes writing or scribing in the mornings like you do. I was hoping you might share with us a little bit about other aspects of you morning routine and specifically what you do to plan and prep for a successful morning routine.

    Have a great day all!

  146. Tim, thank you for sharing the moments you have with your self. What you are doing is incoraging me and many others to accommodate a healthy habits. I have been inspired by you and what you share many times such as meditation has been part of my mornings for an year now. I have been thinking about journaling but often concern about time as my routines are increasing. However, I am eager to give it a go. So thank you Sir. Stay amasing.

  147. thnx for sharing so msny things. What this journal concerns it’s my understanding this is a way to digest things mentally/emotionally, more aware who you are and what drives me, which is one key to feel better/happy. Thnx to remind to such things, one of the ‘ secrets ‘ in life to use and discover. Probably this is a way to get the unconcious part more on the surface, to get aware what normally is overseen. it’s mostly a matter of knowing ‘ how to ‘ and realise it’ll work for you. “To be or not to be?” Great days are partly. made by this, have a great one😊

  148. Tim,

    Thanks for sharing this part of your personal writing. I appreciate the candor of opening up personal sides on your learning PROCESS to share with your readers/listeners.

    I am impressed by the quantity of quality of hints and learnings your put out.

    You asked for feedback and I would encourage you to provide more insights like the one on morning journals on your blog as well as to provide more “in-between” essays on your podcast. These in-betweenisodes always highlight in a condensed way practical hints and thoughts.

    Looking at the sheer quantity of your output, I would vote two topics as my top-picks for future in-depth commentary or inclusion into the Q&A podcasts.

    These topics are:

    – How to really master faster reading (your existing blogpost was a bit over my head)

    – Going deeper into the the concepts of how you break down a learning topic into Lego-size building blocks (e.g. a language, or any other topic) by using your approach in the 4HC; the intro into the meta-skill was good but could be expanded.

    Thanks for sharing with us.

    Greetings from Duesseldorf, Germany.

    Johannes

  149. hey, thanks for sharing, and sure – bring on more.

    I have been writing morning pages for a couple of years, but stopped.

    I´ll try it again. I´d love to read full three pages of yours though – or do you not care about writing a certain amount of pages…

    I found this to be helpful, cause on a bad day, or on a really good one, I might just stop after one page

    All the best

    FLorian

  150. This post is a winner. Yes, keep posting from your morning pages. It is interesting to note even when you have it “made” a whole new set of skills are required, as growth continues, just on the next level. And using paper and pen to let monkey mind rant allows one to see with a new perspective, and perhaps cut to the heart of the matter. For someone who longs to grow more efficient this ia a great way to start.

  151. You are brilliant and driven and funny. I am waiting for your book (4HB) to arrive. I am teaching myself to speak Spanish after taking extensive notes on your thoughts of learning a new language. I am indebted to you for what you have shared. God bless you.

  152. Hello! Im reading your posts avidly tho’ i protect my privacy here 🙂 I really enjoyed your post about journaling. I am often ashamed to let any monkies loose on paper – the things Im pursing are esoteric and academic and so, and I find I expect myself to rise above the mundane ecen in the most private life of journaling. Reading this makes me thunk its goid to have a set, allowable space for the neuroses, banalities and so on. ai note that ecen though this is your space for that, you still focused on your pursuits in life- hm! Anyway- YES I am definitely reading!

  153. Hi Tim, I enjoyed the post about journaling and look forward to seeing more like it. I found it to behelpful to me as I’ve attempted journaling many times. I thought that the morning pages was more of a 20 to 30 minute task and that felt completely overwhelming. What you’ve shown here simplifies it immensely.

    Thank you,

    Michael

  154. This is exactly what I needed to read this morning. After the Toni Robbins podcast I have been compelled to alleviate stress by establishing a morning routine. The following week I listened to Hal Elroad talk about the Miracle Morning and helped me set the foundation for my routine.

    Now, after 2 weeks practicing and applying what I am reading in 4hrWW, my stress levels have plummeted, I’m sleeping much better, my energy is through the rough, I’m much more efficient at work and have goals set for the future.

    Your sample journal entry was a great example and let me know its OK to basically have pen diarrhea all over my journal–I’m just getting all the shit out of my head before I start my day.

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  155. Yes! Although let’s be real. My morning pages are going to read like an elementary school kid’s. In special ed. And not like yours. But after putting it off for ever because I didn’t like how imperfectly journal pages came rolling off my pen, you’ve convinced me to return. More posts like this, pretty please 🙂

  156. Keep these coming. It is rare to be able to get inside the mind of successful entrepreneurs but even more rare to have their mechanics and tactics explained as you do.

  157. Thank you for over sharing. I would love to see more posts like this! Thank you for reminding me that the process of writing is more important than the product. Do you keep all your journals? Do you ever review them? I have been finding it very interesting to read my entries from one or two years ago on the same date because it gives me an idea how far I have come or where I am still stuck. I would like to keep my journals around for sentimental reasons but, I would also like to let them go to not become a hoarder. Thoughts? Thanks for your awesomeness!

  158. Before reading this my wife suggested daily journalling to me. I’ve been doing it successfully for the past week. The days that were my most productive were the days I was the most honest. So thank you for this edification of what has become a fantastic process for me. You have fundamentally altered my life by making me more willing to explore. I want to thank you for that.

  159. Thanks Tim. I’ve never considered writing in a journal before reading your post. How often/when do you reread your entries? Over the holidays I found this “assignment” while trying to understand some of my behaviors. It’s been eyeopening (and difficult) writing down my thoughts.Still working on it, but thanks to your post, I can dig even deeper. Thanks again. http://www.livestrong.com/article/14711-handling-pride/

  160. This is exactly the kind of right to the point post I like, Tim. I’ve been avoiding journaling as part of my morning ritual because of all the crazy nonsense coming out on paper and now you’re saying it’s the whole point of the process: to brain dump all that’s ping ponging around, so it’s not plaguing us all day. It’s a bit like the Capture process in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I’m grabbing my journal, some Chaga mushroom tea, and here I go.

  161. Thanks for the great post Tim. I really like the mix of sharing your personal habits along with the underlying ideas behind them. I know you have mentioned the 5 minute journal previously so has the journal format you talked about in this post replaced the 5 minute journal or do you use them together?

  162. I agree with you Tim. Sometimes trash thoughts knocked out of the saddle. But, as I remember, no one else to go ahead, except myself. I do not drive these thoughts, give them a talk. And, by the method of getting SCORE feel right my way.

  163. Tim,

    2 books have changed my life and made me know I wil have success. 1st is By Robert Pirsig. 2nd is 4HWW. 5 years ago I was madly scribbling notes from 4HWW while waiting in a FedEx Kinkos for a print order. Still have those notes. A few years later I reserved a copy at my local library. I still listen to it on audiobook in my car as I drive 11+ hours per week. Your podcasts are my latest delight. I get to learn and try out the techniques of other giants as well! There is just so much there. 

    Thank you for making your brain available to the world. You have helped me resolve an immeasurable number of problems and healthier in mind, body, and spirit..Steve G.

  164. Thank you for this post. I read The Artist’s Way (twice, actually) back when it first came out and did morning pages for years. I believe it was the reason I came up with my best business idea and had the confidence to follow through on it. (I opened a hemp store in 1995 and sold it in 2013.) I’ve been struggling to come up with another (good) idea ever since. You’ve reminded me to try Morning Pages again. I need to do it. It does always make a person feel better. It would probably help to work through the book again too.

  165. Yes Tim, I did like it.

    One of the reasons I read your blog is prods like this that inspire or motivate the kind of action needed to move forward in an area(s) of my life. Will try to include some gratitude along with the bitching & moaning for balance.

    Thanks again.

  166. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ideas and insights on journaling. We appreciate your efforts in contributing to our knowledge and growth. Keep these posts coming…

    Cheers,

    Chris

  167. I took a creative writing class and one of our main “assignments” was to write morning pages every day. Our prof insisted we stick to three pages every morning which is what Julia Cameron suggested in her book “The Right to Write.” I tell you, I hated every moment of the task. I had a very hard time pulling three pages worth of thoughts out of my head first thing in the morning.

    I like the idea of writing for five minutes much better than writing three pages. I get less “write, write, write” and “blah, blah, blah” if I don’t have to fill three pages.

  168. Great article Tim… I journal quite a lot and it is very helpful to release those thoughts from your mind. I don’t do it first thing in the morning, I do it actually several times throughout the day and sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night to release some thought of my mind, it’s usually the ones that won’t let me sleep, lol… BTW, just finished reading The 4 Hour Workweek… thank you for a great book… finally read it after it being on my book shelf for over a year. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down… once again, Thank you.

  169. Hi Tim,

    Excellent post, especially for someone who struggles with missed opportunities to effectively capture ideas daily (maybe I need to utilize that voice memo app!) Morning pages are not only great in theory and practice, but seeing a post like this from someone that many people respect and admire is super encouraging. My favorite part was “the process matters more than the product.” Not overthinking, but still capturing is another form of meditation really. Keep up the honest work! — Jason

  170. I love this! Will add to my morning routine. Q: Why did you stop drinking coffee? Also, why add turmeric and ginger to your tea (and how do you incorporate it – as a powder, bagged, etc.)? Thanks!!

  171. I love these sort of posts Tim and would like to see more. I think people can really relate to these sort of personal posts and find inspiration from them knowing that someone of your level thinks and feels like we often feel. It’s great that you open up like that and I personally would like to see more and how you deal with these sort of things. I have just read the ‘Essentialism’ book by Greg Mckeown and it is really me help making decisions and I thought of this when reading your post. Cheers Andy

  172. I am coming up on 4 years straight (I’ll hit that milestone in March) of journalling every day. I write mine at night because I have trouble going to bed – that monkey mind thing keeps me from giving up on a day. I use writing as my capstone on the day, where I can work through whatever happened that day and go to bed with a clear slate. It has been incredibly valuable to me.

  173. Yes please, I’m reading your 4 Hour work week at the moment, actually re-reading it and doing all the recommended exercises. Have made great adjustments, thanks for the help – you are truly responsible for me being able to free up my time at age 55 (urgh – you could have been born a little sooner). But I’m excited for the next 55 years – I am a young 55 (well I think so) – also just bought your 4H Body Book – so will get to reading that in the spare time I’ve created. Writing my morning journal not a habit yet. Still finding it a bit of a pain – but will persevere

  174. Thanks Tim, really enjoyed reading this. Love how frank you are, none of that “leaders are perfect” BS. Everyone has flaws and ways to cope, and I really appreciate you openly sharing yours

  175. Dear Tim,

    thank you for sharing your journal entry. I agree journaling helps to clear our minds and the process is more important than the product. Myself I prefer to journal in the evening – clearing my mind before I go to bed. In the morning I prefer to do some energization exercises, then meditate for a while which helps me a lot to clear my mind and get into the flow of the day.

    Cheers,

    Josef

  176. Seems like a logical way to get on with your day, I may have to give it a try. I do a ton of “inner monologing(probably not a real word).” This way I never tell my clients how I really feel. Unless it’s time to fire their dumb asses!

  177. Tim, Great post. i like the fact your willing to reveal the realities of your life and your own honest battles to achieve your best. big respect!

    I got the artist way in the mid 90s and have irregularly dipped into writing a journal ever since. I concur Its a great tool to rationalise some of the chaos that floats through our minds, and riff any anything trying to decide. Keep up the great work

  178. Great post, definitely like the personal aspect. As you said, we are bombarded constantly by books and articles of successful people, their morning routines, and their perfect lives. These kind of insights certainly give a positive perspective. I’d love to know how you prepare your tea cocktail?

  179. I like the idea of morning pages. I have also found great value in you advice to not open email first thing in the morning. Rather to plan out your morning the night before and focus on that task.

    I really enjoyed this email and would appreciate if your could brain dump your strategies more often

  180. (2011)

    Don’t know how but heard about this thing called 750 words every morning. I thought heck, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Couldn’t hurt to do this. Started writing 750 words every morning on my laptop. My god it was painful. Initially there were rants and raves of “Oh my god I don’t know what to write, god-damn it’s painful.” But after a while it got easier. And when I hit that magical 750 words in the morning, something magical happened. I would feel accomplished. Like I’d done something with your day. When you’re a 2nd year University student who constantly procrastinates and whose daily feeling is that of being hungover, this is a BIG deal. I got more creative, the censor in my head got turned off, and I had a collection of short stories that to this day I value. I however stopped for reasons I can’t remember.

    (Dec 2013 to Now)

    Saw Tim’s Instagram photo of the morning way. Thought “hey wouldn’t it be cool if I got into the habit of writing in the morning again?” I remember feeling productive and creative at the time. Thought “Screw it, let’s do it”, and got started. Speed read the beginning of a digital version of The Artists Way to get a feeling of Julia Cameron’s philosophy of the Morning Pages, and got on with it. Also set it up on Lift. My routine: get up in the morning, make a cup of tea, put on my GoLite, write 3 handwritten A5 pages, and press the check on Lift. Cue, Routine, Reward. Habit hacking 101.

    Now something magical’s happened. I’m way more productive. I’m excited for the days to come. Mental clarity increasing. Actually tackling my problems. But more importantly, I feel like I’m actually achieving something. And for someone who felt helpless for a few months that changes everything.

  181. I agree. The AM scribbling seems to clear the brain. and I ALWAYS use pen and paper. Sitting in front of a keyboard leads to checking this one thing… and then another thing… and pretty soon you’re in full-blown work mode. Going primitive is the better way to wrestle the demons back into their kennels.

  182. It was a surprise to find out that you do morning pages! Now I’ll no longer wonder whether the half-hour is well spent. My three pages are usually filled with monkey mind/windshield wiper stuff so I can get on with my day. At the times when I’ve stopped doing them, it was because I was stuck and got tired of writing the same things about something I couldn’t seem to change. Overall, though, I find the practice to be contemplative and clearing and a safe repository for everything from prayers to rants to dreams. Speaking of the latter, I’ve built my life and career on long shots, and the managing editor opening has made my morning pages. I have visions of grandeur that I made your shortlist and imagine how the course of my life would be changed. I guess that’s actually a dream and a prayer. Anyway, I like all the different types of material you share. Each is helpful, inspiring and/or entertaining to me in some way.

  183. Hi Tim,

    Have you tried and compared against journaling at night? I have always done them at night and found they were great for quieting my mind and letting it focus on the important stuff overnight as opposed to the “monkey brain” stuff. Would be interested to know your thoughts on this as I have yet to try a morning journal, but I do use Tony Robbin’s “Hour of Power” process pretty consistently which likely has a similar effect.

    With gratitude,

    Stephan

  184. Tim, PLEASE keep making posts like this. They are so helpful. Sometimes I think I’m going crazy and get caught up in my own little world. It’s great to know that I am not alone. And that others that I look up to experience the same things. Thank you.

  185. With so much clutter and worry running through my head I often feel I am not creative, thoughtful, or even good at remembering things. It definitely leads to substandard production with everything. Great tip! Thanks!

  186. I really enjoy writing and I think it is not only therapuetic but also helps me to develop my writing skills, which have a long ways to go. Thanks for the post Tim, I really enjoy your blog.

  187. Awesome man. Journaling has always been a way for me to unload my mind so that I don’t have all these thoughts just sitting in my head all day. Many of them just need to be acknowledged so that my mind can give the day it’s undivided attention. Thanks again for sharing!

  188. What an insightful and pragmatic post! Some times it seems thinking about life gets in the way of doing life( I’m sure that is a quote from someone). I personally find this style of journal to be very effective at simplifying my mental space for doing more life. Similar to a “Kata” in martial arts, simple movements with profound real applications. Writing a journal also strikes me as a survivalist tool for minimizing the impact of the possible by mentally preparing for it. Please continue to write these types of posts as they seem to me to be the most genuine. Cheers.

  189. Tim doing what Tim does best – simplifying what most believe as “daunting”.

    Like you mention here, I’ve heard that many successful people journal every day.

    Someone recommended the 5-Minute Journal to me, which I committed to for a few days but the problem with using a book that tells you to journal is that it limits the creativity and uniqueness that our minds are comprised of.

    Because of that, I found myself trying to answer the questions it asked me rather than brain-dumping what I was ACTUALLY thinking.

    In other words, I was trying to paddle upstream rather than with flow.

    But I love what you do, because I never thought about this (seemingly) simple task of unloading the “caged monkey”…

    Thanks, Tim!

  190. Hey Tim,

    Is the journal you write in the 5-minute journal that you spoke about before? Or is this a separate journal and you write in the 5-minute journal as well?

    Also, what is the caffeine content of your tea? Did you switch from coffee to tea in the mornings, or do you still drink coffee? And if you did switch, can you tell us why?

    Thanks!

    Sam

  191. Pretty cool insight into journaling. I always thought of it as a way for self-proclaimed self-help gurus to feel righteous about their morning habits, but to think of it as a way to get thoughts out of your head to move on with your day is useful and reasonable. Thanks for sharing.

  192. Good post. I have that book, but it was too religious /spiritual based. However, I get lost in writing like others get lost in thought. I always resonated with a scene from Amadeus, where Mozart was writing in the billiards room. The music was gripping, and in the background you heard knocking, then pounding, then his wife beckoning. The music stopped abruptly and the viewer realizes that it wasn’t a movie score, but the music in Amadeus’s head.

    Only problem for me is that time evaporates, and my wife doesn’t like being ignored. (;

  193. I like you sharing your very raw thoughts. Keep it up. Im literally a better person because of the way you share to how to THINK whether it be a more efficient time saving tasks or just to simply to think creatively.

  194. I started morning pages a little over a year ago. Just scrawling in my cheap notebook every morning has yielded so many great results (I now have nearly 5 notebooks full), including clearing the crap out of my head, essay & book content, general great ideas, and so much more.

    And I would add to those who are averse to actually writing by hand on actual paper, that yes (!) it does make a difference. There is some kind of magic alchemy that happens when you have to slow down enough to write by hand.

    Tim, thank you for oversharing! Always appreciated.

  195. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Morning Pages.

    I’ve been writing Morning Pages over a year now, and it’s the one thing that has helped me in so many ways, and I couldn’t imagine not doing it everyday as part of my morning ritual.

    Also, what’s funny is that I wrote and published on the same subject *a day before you did*. (-:

    [Moderator: link removed]

  196. Thank you for a timely and wonderful post. EXACTLY what I needed to get back to my morning pages. I agree–it’s way cheaper than therapy!!! So easily this practice slips away from some stupid distraction. It’s a great practice and I’m grateful for your post as I’m back at it first thing in the morning. Thank you and blessings to you.

  197. Tim my name is Guilherme, and i’m from Brazil. I love your stuff. Please tell more about your day, routines and habits. I admire your work. It has helped me a lot reaching for success! Cheers, mate!

  198. This is extremely helpful. What a fundamental concept of a written purge, one that had never occurred to me before. Muchas gracias

  199. I really never thought on writting a journal, gotta give it a try! thanks for sharing all this ideas! saludos de un boliviano desde Argentina

  200. Tim-

    Two things:

    1- Good post. I would definitely read more like this.

    2- I’m stealing your tag at the end, rewriting it, and using it.That’s one of the more compelling invitations to leave a comment that I’ve EVER seen.

    Daniel

  201. Thanks Tim, really liked this post. It feels honest. I have written a blog everyday for the past 4 years and have benefited from the daily moment of reflection. It DOES help put life/monkey mind in perspective. More posts like this one please: thoughtful, real, helpful advice!

  202. Tim.. for me, the link in the email about “click here” didn’t work. Had to click on the link below: “10 comments on this item” to get here.

    I’ll leave some feedback (Yes, please continue to share thoughts and writings like this, it helps give some patterns to help our thinking! Plus, I appreciate the courage it takes to share journal entries) and ask for your opinion on the following:

    What are your thoughts on physically putting pen to paper vs. journaling electronically? In this age of Dropbox and Evernote.. I find I am more likely to have a device with me than the journal during the day. Or should this be a more “traditional” activity. (p.s I just saw the movie “Emperor” yesterday, so revisiting my rebellion against authority when I see the “ceremonial” activities of post-war Japan.

    Thanks.

  203. Yes please. i enjoyed this post. On a side note, i’ve been journalling heavily for almost 3 years now. Being almost 19 now, I definitely feel its improved my general ability to think. Separating thoughts from your mind is powerful!!

  204. Monkey mind :). Goldberg and Cameron combine as a powerful elixir for writing of any kind! For some reason I despise journaling and always have – I feel too raw when I journal, but seeing your pages encourages me to stick with it. I started again in December and though I’ve missed several entries I haven’t given up. Color me newly-inspired to keep going.

  205. I love this part of the post…… “Because it’s easy to imagine our heroes as unflappable juggernauts, who conquer insecurity with a majestic mental karate chop every morning. This is, of course, an illusion. Most people you see on magazine covers have plenty of mornings when they’d rather hide under the covers all day long.”

    Thank you for keeping things transparent and honest. Things like this is what I need and like to hear.

  206. I’ve just suffered trough a night of complete insomnia, and this made me feel better. Everyone has some sort of kryptonite. Thanks, superman.

  207. From one over sharer to another, I appr your candor. Also, I think you have the best podcast out there, and it keeps getting better. I hope you’ll eventually do a podcast on Lyme disease. Sorry you got that, I had it too and even though it took a little while am back to 100%, you’ll get all better too!

  208. Yes more of this! This was a great reminder for me to pick this back up. I used to “brain puke” before and definitely helped me clear my mind for the day. As you say, even if it doesn’t solve the problem, it feels like “the journal will take care of it” and you can release it from your brain and use it for doing valuable things instead of worrying and thinking about small problems unnecessarily.

  209. I really appreciate how you are sharing more of yourself, Tim. Before, every time you shared something amazing that you did, it was both inspiring and intimidating. I always thought to myself, “there is no way I would be able to match that level of commitment, hard work, or smarts, etc.” So, it’s nice to see you open up.

    I have done the Artist’s Way morning pages, too. They are so helpful in releasing any limiting thoughts and beliefs.

    Thank you for all the amazing things that you do!

    Love,

    Xixi (Shi-Shi)

  210. 1. Keep them coming

    2. A great, simple way to make it a disciplined routine:

    When you start, number your page #1. Then, number on each consecutive day. If you miss a day: start over from #1.

    Best,

    Martijn

  211. Hey Tim – I was inspired to start writing daily after your interview with Brian Koppelman when he referenced The Artists Way. I didn’t know about this journal though, so my friend and I created a tool called Daily Page.

    We provide a daily prompt and a place to respond. After you’ve written, you can choose to keep your response private or make it public for others to read. Might be another way (outside of the journal) to maintain that daily writing routine.

  212. Yes I would like to read more posts like this. I was just at B&N about to purchase another journal. My wife asked why, the ones you have a empty. Well, I pull all the pages out and start over like its a new day or new year. This is right on point with what I was looking for. Thank you. Not sure why it helped but it did and im good with that.

  213. Tim, it would take a long time to put in to words how grateful I am for everything you’ve done for me through your writing and podcasts.

    That said, I was convinced that this post was going to be a kimono opening too far.

    Glad to say I was wrong, of course 🙂

    Whenever I’ve written a morning journal it’s looked very similar, so it’s great to be reassured/ reminded it’s a brain dump, and like a regular dump the fact it doesn’t look pretty is likely a good thing, means it needed to come out 😉

    Thank you thank you thank you.

    I hope you’re feeling better with the whole LD. (The level of output you’ve maintained while that’s been going on is incredible.)

    Take care

    Wayne

  214. Tim,

    this is one of the best posts I’ve ever read at your blog. Nothing long and scientific, just pure you (yourself?). It reminds me you’re not a superhero but a normal guy like everyone else with issues of his own.

    Thank you for this.

    Martin

  215. I tried so many times to keep a life journal but failed, failed and yet failed (sigh). I am going to try again but this time in a different way, will take some from you.

    Thanks 🙂

  216. This is so so true. I have been doing “morning papers” for more than 15 years and there truly is something magical about just putting words on paper. The days I miss (for whatever reason ie. I woke up late and have to be somewhere in thirty minutes) I notice the difference I can’t quite put words to, but something doesn’t quite shift in me. I rarely go back and read my entries. Sometimes I think when I am ninety or so, I might or not!

  217. Thanks for this post, your timing couldn’t be better!

    I’ve been looking at various journaling options and have been doing something along the lines of the five-minute journal for about three weeks — man what a positive change that has made. I’m particularly excited about this idea because it seems like a good way to get all that crap out of the way (along with the potential nugget or two of gold ore) so that I can get to productive, focused mindfulness.

    Keep this stuff coming!

  218. Hi Timothy.

    This may seem like mere splitting hairs, but I assure you the implications are global: I suggest that you mean Master rather than Conquer, as that which you conquer you, inherently, must defend. This defense mindset is at the root of all our societal problem, originating with a coercive means of human interaction: taxation.

    A king, an army, must always be on the lookout for enemies and those who would seek their bounty. You speak of how it works against your DNA; mine too, and everyone else’s as well.

  219. I would like to read more posts like this one Tim. I think you captured the essence of how most people feel with this point you made:

    “Because it’s easy to imagine our heroes as unflappable juggernauts, who conquer insecurity with a majestic mental karate chop every morning. This is, of course, an illusion. Most people you see on magazine covers have plenty of mornings when they’d rather hide under the covers all day long.”

    I think that a daily journal and meditation is a path to clear clutter and reveal your own path, to increase your sensitivity to knowing what you really want for yourself. Without it, we become lost and compare ourselves and our progress to the so called “illusion” of what others have achieved and in looking up to those we negatively impact our own subconscious as we feel a tremendous gap between where they are (because we want to be there too) and where we are at this given moment in time.

  220. Morning pages are powerful. I had forgotten about the “spiritual windshield wipers” metaphor. I might be wrong, but I don’t think you’d like the actual book, but you seem to get a lot of use out of the Morning Pages. I like how it clears out my head before I get on with the day.

  221. Tim,

    Fascinating, as always, to read your experiences.

    We are both on the same path of “journaling” via The Artists Way.

    When I began writing my morning pages a few months ago, I was concerned the “3 page per day” requirement was it taking me 30 minutes each morning…. If I was to really be efficient with my time, I didn’t know if this was a valuable use of it.

    However, I kept to it as is suggested in the book. Yet, at the 1 1/2 page mark, there was a strange consistency of an “A-HA” mind-blowing breakthrough that I don’t think I could have reached without this process.

    The purpose is exactly as you describe in your blog, but I love how you succinctly call it “caging the monkey mind on paper”.

    So now, I think 5 minutes is better than none at all. But if you really are messed up in the head, so to speak, and need a good mind clearing… 3 full pages of writing “Morning Pages” will do wonders.

    As an aside, I applaud your efforts to get back into drawing and art! There is nothing better to improving your drawing ability than taking a good figure drawing class and strengthening your analytical skills of drawing the complex human figure. I look forward to seeing your artwork! Onward to Mastery! Do you think you can hack the time it takes to master drawing the human figure??? Hmmm. I don’t think you could. But as a figurative artist and educator, I would like to see you try! Best to you!

  222. Wow this is a great idea, I some times write my feelings down when I’m going though my to do list but have found when I do this, its increasingly difficult to make purely productive decision. Just leaving the random chatter for another place could help, thanks

  223. To answer the question: I’d like more posts like this, yes! But more specifically…written posts. There have been a bunch of links and ‘supplemental posts’ to podcasts lately. I get the usefulness of podcasts, but they’re a major time-suck unless you’re stuck transporting your carcass from one spot to another on a regular basis. I can digest in 2 minutes what would take a 1/2 hr of podcast listening to disseminate. I simply don’t have time for podcasts. So please don’t forget the core strength of this blog, which is original content. Thanks!

  224. I’m very glad I caught this from the email river. Eons ago this was my college textbook for Drawing 1, long forgotten. On Sunday, I started for 4am (yeah) with a double espresso and breakfast tray, and did it again later in the evening. Perhaps I was a bit congested, though I’m getting more out of it now than before. I used to do this all of the time when I was a kid, then have a day of tossing out all of the old books after paging through the stack thinking, “Oh God, I hope no one reads all of this.”

    I think now I can live with it more, and my three pages of decongesting have been fairly positive so far, with a dash of musing. When something I write sticks as an image or an idea I might explore, I give it a highlight and pass those words on a notecard into the idea scratching box. So much that I do is self directed, or I know where I’m aiming when it starts. It’s nice to follow the moment with no particular path simply for the sake of discovery. I even went out today I picked of some my favorite ole fine point pens. Who knows, my lovely handwriting might come back to where it was. — Thank you for publishing 🙂

  225. I once followed the suggestion in The Artist’s Way to journal each morning–three pages in longhand. The rules are that you start the instant you rolled out of bed. I was able to keep it up for a little over two weeks. At the end of those two weeks, I had the most amazingly crystal clear mind I’ve ever had. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what the next step was to get it. Everything was so simple and obvious. I believe that the subconscious mind spends sleep hours organizing information and developing insights, and that this is why the journaling worked as it did. Doing it the first thing in the morning gives all of that subconscious mental work a chance to be recognized and absorbed consciously. That’s just my theory based on how it felt. The tough part was staying with the practice, which wasn’t easy for me because I am definitely NOT a morning person. Ultimately it fell victim to my morning lethargy. I desperately want to do it again, and I would recommend it to anyone.

    By the way, Tim, you really should read “The Artist’s Way” in its entirety. It’s as great a book as you’ve been told.

  226. Loved this post! I like both interpretations of why writing is so therapeutic, particularly two – certainly makes me feel more ‘normal’ and human to see others have all those sort of disparate thoughts, worries, ideas bouncing around in their head. More like this please.

  227. Great post! It inspired me to start writing again. I was told by a mentor to write three pages by hand every morning before I get started with the day. 3 handwritten pages is a lot, takes quite a bit of time and can be tiring on the hand! I usually don’t have enough to fill up all 3 pages but by the end my mind is definitely cleared of junk thoughts!

    I had never thought of this journaling as therapy but I love looking at it that way! I love the Artists Way journal, tried to buy it now on Amazon but its temporarily sold out. Your fault Tim!

  228. Yes, I love these posts! I love getting the real life, “here is what I do and how I work” type of posts rather than the theoretical, “try to do it this way and you’ll be more efficient/effective…” type of posts. Not that I don’t enjoy the latter but I feel like I get more out of the former.

    Thanks again for all your insights. I love coming here for new ideas on how to improve my life, whether it be working better or appreciating life more. Wish I could do what you do.

  229. I’ve seen morning writing practice as something very close to meditation for a long time. I use it as a way to keep my mind clear. I sit down in the morning and just write whatever the hell I’m thinking about. I’ve been doing it for most of the last ten years now and it’s probably been the single most helpful habit I’ve developed in my life. I’ve often described it in this way: imagine that your conscious mind is a stretch of beach. Deep in the waters is your subconscious mind. The surface of the water is the outside world. All the time, things float in on the waves and come up from the depths. It all accumulates on the sand and gets pretty cluttered pretty quickly and can get overwhelming if we don’t find a way to keep that sand clear. To me, writing is something like a rake we can use for clean-up. We keep the mental sands clear and when something important comes floating in, we are all the better prepared for it. If you google “aleatorist writing meditation” you’ll find a blog post where I explore this more in depth. It’s a simple act that can have immense payoff in everyday life.

    1. Meant to note, too, that when I finish a notebook of writing, it gets torn in half and tossed in the garbage. The point for me is getting it out. There’s something extra cathartic about getting out and leaving it behind.

  230. Thanks for this post, Tim!

    The photo especially made it sink in that you’re “still human” after all your accomplishments. 🙂 I’d love to see more of these type of “what does Tim do day to day” posts. They’re great and much appreciated. Keep it up!

    Miriam

  231. I love morning rituals but I will definitely add this I seem to have a millions ideas at the beginning of the day and slowly forget or really get sidetracked with other tasks. I have a million ideas most probably not worth pursuing but I like the fact that I have them and they keep coming I think one day there might be something golden and writing them down I will have something to track them back down.

    Thanks Tim… Oh and the tea all in one mixture could you possibly share the recipe in the future.

    Simon

  232. Great post! It’s interesting how the act of constructing your thoughts in the physical world extracts them from your mental. I do this every morning to avoid enduring a day of mental befuddlement.

  233. Tim, I enjoyed this post. It is helpful to see how you conscientiously create space each morning, take time to quiet the monkey mind, and clarify values, visions and goals (I just happened to pick up a sketch book for this same purpose, its pages will be blank no more!).

  234. Yes, please post more like this. I am trying to get into the habit of regular journaling in the hopes that it will help me to come up with writing ideas. I love reading about others’ ideas & suggestions. Thanks again for the post. 🙂

  235. Hi Tim,

    These personal entries are a lot like the questions you ask to your guests on your podcast… “What does your morning routine look like…” “What self talk did you do to pull yourself out of a depression…” “How do you chose your friends…” So in a way you’re asking yourself similar questions here.

    Very interesting for me, because I’m searching for similarities & patterns… For example, through podcasts, I discovered that many of the problems I’m facing in business and in life are not unique to me at all. So the morning journal, fears and motivators are very interesting to look at because they help to a get a second and different opinion (yours.)

    Thanks for having the guts to share with so many people.

  236. Finally something to back up my morning ritual. Felt uncertain about it for a while, having nowhere to ask about whether I’m doing it right. I simply write down how I feel, usually finding a way around the “blah, blah talk”. I don’t write to form conclusions, but as you’ve said get rid of thoughts, and especially problems. I just write down the things that bother me, and as in meditation, try to feel comfortable about them being in my head. The more objectively I put them down on paper, the less influence they have on my thoughts and feelings respectfully.

  237. This just gave me the idea to write in the morning. I don’t practice it but I think this is a good way to get the mind started. Like a warm up for the brain before you get the day started. And I guess it’s nice to write about something early in the morning when you’re mind is still clear; No emotions of any sort to interfere with the function of the mind. Wonderful idea! Thank you!

  238. Great page Tim! Forgive me as I regress abit from your main focus. I read how you drink green tea almost every morning and just wanted to point out how important it is to consume organic green tea. Green tea has great benefits- antioxidant, DNA repairing, etc- but non-organic contains pesticides and other toxins that simply cancel out the benefits and may even do more harm to our health. It is often overlooked because the health benefits of green tea are being so hyped these days but something to consider deeply. Here is a great discussion post on organic vs. non-organic teas.

    http://steepster.com/discuss/2381-organic-vs-non-organic-tea

    I am very happy that I found what is in my opinion the best organic green tea in the world as it is all handpicked, the farm is meticulous about not allowing any vehicles onto the farm and it is one of the first green tea farms in Asia to receive USDA certification.

    Take good care Tim!

  239. “At the still point, there the dance is.” —T. S. Eliot, “Four Quartets”

    This made me think of you, Tim, mainly because one of the first things I read from you was about meditation which I’ve since started to try. Seemed an apt quote for the purpose and simplicity of it 🙂 I’m hoping it’ll help me in the start up of my first ever business, training charities in persuasive writing. I know you normally reserve your shout outs for the first few commenters, but if this resonates with you and you’d like to check out my brand new teeny tiny business, feel free to let me know (oh the cheek of it 🙂 ).

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  240. Thanks for sharing.

    I’ve also had the chance to see the benefits of writing down what’s on your mind – it’s a therapy, a way to get things out of your head, to kickstart your day, come up with new ideas and even get to know yourself on a deeper level.

    I posted a short article on that right after I read yours: http://letsreachsuccess.com/2015/01/22/how-can-writing-for-10-minutes-each-morning-change-your-life/

    And yes. Do continue to share stuff like that. It’s extremely helpful.

  241. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for sharing your morning pages from your journal. I love reading your ordinary posts and have really benefited from tapping into some of your ideas. I think the hand writing is essential for journaling- it shifts you into the right brain and stops you from filtering, in a way that the keyboard cannot accomplish.

    I’m all the way down here in Australia. I have been spending my summer months practising your swimming stroke that you explain din one of your lectures. Fantastic! I’m swimming much further and with more power! Thanks for the tips!

    Bets wishes,

    Meg

  242. Interesting [and enjoyable] post and concept, Tim. I think it’s the small things like this that facilitate the big things we’re chasing. Swabbing the deck, clearing the cobwebs, whatever name you use, the starting the day with a clean slate is a superb idea with dividends paid in productive, satisfying days. I usually end my day with a letter to a friend, but I’d not considered starting my day like this. Just another take on the upside-down fire. Thanks. Keep it up. =James

  243. Tim, thanks for the post. I’m trying to get my own “miracle morning” in order. It’s good to see somebody else’s: guess I’m not doing it wrong!

  244. I feel like when I wake up in the morning I’ve got a pretty good head on my shoulders. It’s through the day when these negative thoughts come in that may need to be written down. Would you say it’s still effective when written at night?

  245. Thanks, Tim, I enjoyed this very much and would love to read more of the like. I just read it and look forward to checking out the suggested sites you provide. I’m a regular listener of your podcast and the shopworn phrase, “it’s really influencing my life”, is simply fact. Thank you.

  246. Great post, thanks Tim.

    I admire how much of yourself you give away in your blog posts and podcasts. I recently watched ‘a day in the life of Tim Ferriss’ which I found interesting and inspiring. What I enjoyed is it came across that the pace of your day is not rushed, but steady and enjoying each moment. Productive but not frantic. I have recently started doing the 5 minute journal to get my focus right at the start of each day. I have found it helpful already. It feels too easy to find happiness in gratitude, but it works! Enjoying what you have far outweighs the joy you think you’ll have for something ‘out there’.

    PS loving the podcasts, great content and interesting guests – Tony Robbins was my favourite so far. Would be great to hear you interview Jack Canfield and Richard Branson.

    Joel

  247. Fantastic post Tim! It is very refreshing and insightful when you peel back the curtain of your brilliant and mystical mind on a personal level.

    What is your specific breakdown/measurements of each tea? When you stated: “Nearly every morning, I sit down with a hot cocktail of turmeric, ginger, pu-erh tea, and green tea.” I’m new to teas and just ordered teas from Red Blossom Tea Company (by way of your suggestion & the 4H Chef) and could really use some guidance.

    Thanks a million for the work that you do, for helping show the way to thinking differently & better to achieve goals and live a more enriching/fulfilled life.

  248. Hi Tim, I’ve just come across your website and read a few posts. This one really inspired me. I have been a great proponent of “writing a morning list” for most of my working life. It helps me get my act together for the rest of the day. I had never thought to write down everything to just get it off my mind and therefore clear my mind – Excellent!

  249. Green tea, coconut oil, lemon, and a turmeric/ginger pill is my new morning drink. Gotta open the pill first, and put the contents in the cup before the hot water goes in. Amazing energy and absolutely kills my appetite all morning. Thanks Tim.

  250. Brother should not be showing (or reading) his morning pages! Bad juju!

    But spaces between paragraphs = really helpful to see. I have so much Morning Pages anxiety – like if I put spaces or don’t do it exactly exactly as a stream of consciousness, it won’t work (hence bad juju). Which is the antithesis of morning pages (having anxiety/trying to be perfect).

    ALSO: PLEASE ELABORATE ON YOUR THOUGHTS REGARDING THE ARTIST’S WAY! Are you doing it? Have you done it? I think that would be very helpful for the artist followers. I’ve often wondered about the compatibility between the two. I’m an artist and I follow 4HWW principles as much as possible, but I’m trained via artist’s way kind of thinking. Interessant

  251. Great post! What do you do with your writings after you’ve finished your notebook? I’ve journaled on and off and I know the process is more important than capturing the content, but I still get hung up on where I should be writing, and how/if I should be storing.

    Jens

  252. Amazing stuff Tim.

    I have been a fan of yours for some time but hearing that you have this practice is very inspiring for me.

    I’ve tried it a few times and found it extremely useful but have dipped in and out rather than keeping it regular.

    I think the journal will be a great inspiration to keep it up so I think I will make that investment!

    Thanks for sharing!

  253. It is one habit I still would like to start to have a quiet time every morning with my coffee and write all my thoughts,my goals for the day. I would also like to make a gratitude journal in which I can look back and read every year for all the things I am thankful for. Thanks for the read!!

  254. I was a fan of journal hand-writing but the problem is due to technology, now I’m lazy on writing my daily issues using my bare hands. Back when I was in High-school, I got no morning page or something but I got small diary I wrote some issues every night just to express or to be aware of thing because every time I wrote something my brain works, plenty of thoughts will appear even the nonsense thing. Well, Seeing your journal inspires me to use my pen and my small diary again.

  255. Tim – this is very inspirational for people like me. I always have this fascination about writing and reading for it calms my mind. I tend to over think most of the time and this hobbies makes me feel at peace and calm. Some people when they see me write at public places finds it weird and makes them think I’m nerd. Tea and writing for me works the best partners since I’ve never been a fan of coffee. Jotting down the things that has happened during my day is a relief for me, my journal serves as my best friend for it is in writing where I can express myself truly and without somebody judging me.

  256. Can’t believe I initially skipped this post. So good, and really in line with a lot of advice I’ve gotten from other trusted sources. Thanks Tim.

  257. Hey Tim, love the posts as always. Two questions:

    1) I recall you mentioning somewhere previously that you use “The 5-Minute Journal.” Did this give you better results than that? Do you use both?

    2) Does the format of this journal actually add something to the process? It looks like it’s pretty much a book of blank lines with some pull quotes sprinkled throughout. Not clear what it adds over a plain old blank journal / Moleskine.

  258. Tim – does this conflict with the goal of “complaint-free” living? that’s my biggest fear with venting (pages included above aren’t a rant btw). trying to reprogram my brain to think higher thoughts. concerned that will do the opposite

    Thanks!

    Nicole

  259. Loved the write-up, Tim! It’s a good reminder that those who are successful still go through the same challenges they did before they achieved success, and that you still put your pants on one leg at a time. Thanks for the transparency and honesty.

  260. It is becoming abundantly clear that (most) successful people have a morning ritual/routine of some sort. I really appreciate you sharing part of yours. I recently started reading your blog and listening to your podcasts, so maybe you have covered more on this topic already (if so, can you provide the links?) – but I am intrigued by the idea of sharpening my morning routine and would love more detail on anything related to the topic. Thanks so much!!!

  261. I love the concept of writing daily. I recently have made it a point to write every morning for fifteen minutes. Early wake daily write is what I like to call it.

    The biggest advantage I see in writing is that it increases my psychic bandwidth and I have less things to think about and more focus on things I want to think about.

    other then that, I feel like it helps me find my own voice.

  262. Yes, please continue sharing posts of this nature. To me, like your previous one on productivity hacks, this post feels endearing. It’s also relief for those of us that experiment with different ways to harness the monkey mind in the morning.

  263. Tim,

    So cool to learn you’re a fan of Morning Pages!

    I love them, but haven’t used them in a long time. They served me well years ago when I was just angry and frustrated, but maintaining a carefully-crafted nice guy facade. 30 minutes of dumping the darkness every morning provided an opening to experience gratitude for my truly blessed life, and to get present to my dreams and inspirations. Pretty powerful!

    I’ve often thought about starting up again and I’m going to use the inspiration from your post to take action on that thought. Should be interesting because the anger/frustration are long-gone; I’m happy and grateful and really just curious now about how to be the best man and make the biggest difference I can in the years I have remaining.

    Thank’s in advance, Tim, for the education and inspiration I know I will continue to enjoy from your generous offerings.

  264. Thank you. This is a great reminder to get back to my Morning Pages. I find whenever I do them I find this stange feeling coming over me and I think, hmmm I’m feeling so calm today. Then I remember…I did my pages this morning. It’s gold. Thanks for sharing such personal stuff. It’s inspiring.

  265. I truly enjoyed your blog….Also thinks happiness and peace come easily when life is flowing abundantly. But the law of impermanence promises that it can’t always flow this way, so nor should we expect it to.

  266. I find this type of self inquiry a necessary step in the evolution to a genuine lifestyle filled with more attuned choices and actions, and personal values, ones not borrowed from others.. doesn’t that sound higher mind cool? A more gritty response is yes please .. I am a 56yr old female, who has just been unplugged from the normal flotsam and jetsom of worklife (due to a graciously received freaking painful hip injury with no conclusive recovery time set) which is summarily leading me in a new direction. Instead of resisting (well I did for 3 months, egoic habits still fight on) I stamped my good foot down and “flipped it”, and practiced the ancient art of “accepting whatever life brings to your door next”, prepared to move headlong into whatever direction beckoned, minus all the conditioned “Should Be’s” that often judge and limit very harshly ones moments of decision. Being a long term meditator, self inquiry facilitator and life coach, this was my unique lesson for one… sitting in this gap, considering how one actively invites in one’s Muse, this illusive idea-phenomena that I have been reading and listening about from you for several years. Meanwhile, learning how to live paperless, travelling out west in Australia with my husband on rostered shifts for some cashflow, dunked firmly in a vacuum filled with juicy what ifs, and who knows, and why nots. Roll on…and keep the journal sharing going Tim. You are one of my chosen mentors online for this part of my journey. Appreciate the opportunity to share!

  267. I am a new blogger and after my first 10 posts, have been thinking of ways to be more productive/ consistent/ better idea generator. Although I keep all my notes etc on the mac, I’ve kinda always missed hand-writing stuff. I’ve been enjoying following the 10 ideas a day rule by James Altucher. Will surely add this to my morning routine! Thanks for sharing Tim! Big fan of your podcast too btw 🙂

  268. You never know what will “flip” the switch on in a person…you have an audience so keep sharing.

  269. Absolutely beautiful. I think it’s fascinating that today’s leaders are beloved more for their humanness, than an arrogant comparison to ‘God.’ I believe you when you say that you want to help people with your books and blog. Thank you, I am inspired and encouraged.

  270. Grear article Tim. I heard you talk about this and reading this article has inspired me to make journaling part of my morning routine. I really enjoy you “over sharing”. Has this been partially influenced by James Altucher?

  271. This article put into consciousness various thoughts that have become stagnant inside my head. One would be the random urge to write my thoughts (which I constantly ignore) that would eventually force their way out of my head at some point of the day causing major “spacing out” moments. A second one would be the calming effects, as you pointed out, of putting your thoughts into writing. Thank you for sharing this because I really needed this (even though I never though I would) as a person who just want to get these conflicting thoughts sorted out before they cause havoc inside my head later in the day.

    P.S:

    I love the line: “I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day.”

  272. I love it! I’m going to keep a journal also, if only to slow me down enough to smell the roses and coffee. Thank you for your insightful and humorous thoughts.

  273. I find this pretty inspiring because I thought having a journal of what you do everyday is sort of lame especially when technology is now everywhere. Now I feel the need to buy myself a new notebook and just keep writing. Wonderful topic.

  274. Your journal entry looks very similar to mine.

    I’ve been writing in One Note for years just to do exactly what you’re talking about, get those morning cob webs out and get my day started. Keep up the good work, looking forward to meeting you one day for lunch.

  275. Love the post- I’ve been sporadically journaling at night- when mornings now make so much more sense- I’m going to try it! …I use Penzu.com online since I travel more than not; you get one free journal.

    I have about 10 so I went pro for $20 a year.

  276. Brilliant idea. I’m getting the journal as guideline to expres myself on paper so I can get on with my day. Thanks Tim for this post.

    Annie F, London,UK

  277. Hey Tim,

    I’ve been writing these morning pages for quite some time now and find it to be quite relaxing. Curious to know how writing these morning pages has affected your creativity?

  278. Great essay Tim! Congrats for you amazing life you are designing!

    I am learning tons of you and your path! As Tony robbins says. You are making The invisible visible! You still Have that energy for discover and acomplish that all of us had when we were kids.

    Keep growing, keep dreaming!

    I send you a big human hug!!

    Take it easy Tim!!!

    Wish you The best!!

    Tony Cerrillo

    From Guanajuato México! Marveleous city in México! You shoulders come visit!

  279. Definitely helps, I have a cluttered mind and whether I write this at the start of the day or at the end, it puts my thoughts on hold and helps me focus.

  280. In 1999 I was reading Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write. She is amazing. I tend to carry an assortment of notebooks for a variety of reasons, and I couldn’t agree with you more. If there is some nagging thought bouncing around in your skull, put it down on paper and see where it leads. It might just go away.

    I love your writing, Mr. Ferriss. The mindset you espouse is liberating and inspiring. Thank you for opening many interesting doors and inviting the rest of us to tag along and maybe try new things too.

    Ray Rodriguez

    Hawaii

  281. Hey Tim!

    Read and was in an “Artists Way” workshop/group meetings…

    Like to go deep 😉 at times…

    The “Morning Pages” or “mind dump” I like to refer to is just that. Get it out! No proofreading, thinking too much, what have you… just get it all out and on paper. 1st week or so, don’t even read it again.

    Then, start to read, and see patterns that may hold you back from the true you and what’s working, what you WANT to CREATE in you life 🙂

    Re-word accordingly.

    Then as you do your morning pages, you can start to be more in tune and aware of what’s spilling out and what you are consciously creating… Thus rewriting along the way… This is a process, weeks… month… at least till you get to 80/20 like you refer to…

    Love it.

    J

  282. Awesome! Please continue! I get it!!!! And I was actually wondering if I was insane or going crazy or had dementia because of my crazy writing/thought process… Thank u!

  283. Tim,

    I find you inspiring, and I have just become reacquainted with you.(online of course 🙂 ! Your words resonate with me because you seem to live the life you teach. I have found myself in a big transition in my life looking for questions and answers. I will start journaling tomorrow and am very excited. Also thank you for the reminder it doesn’t have to be a sonnet. It just needs to be how we feel!

    Anna Lombard

  284. Congrats on the journaling! I wouldn’t bother with the original book by Cameron: it reads like an AA manifesto. Also, the version I bought off of Amazon was chockablock full of typos.

    Also, I’d like to see more posts like this, please.

  285. At the core of all understanding, is a glimpse of what’s underneath…the daily chaos and one’s seeking to come to terms with it. I love your writing, and want more, if only to know I am not alone in my feeling that how I feel is not so relevant because my life is so little in comparison!

  286. Hi Tim

    So great to see you practice writing morning pages I discovered the artist way about 2 years

    Ago I love It.don’t always practice but when I do it does really help! I truly appreciate your take on things I’ve purchased and read 4 hour workweek and 4 hour chef truly have enjoyed learning from you over the years. Thanks for the reminder today getting back to my morning pages!

  287. For me, the morning journal is a space of daily gratitude and a space to sharpen my vision. Thanks for the blog, it is instructive to hear specifics of your daily practice.

  288. I really enjoyed this post. I was reminded of how journaling DOES help clear my mind of all thoughts. I had forgotten how journaling made me feel like fucking superwoman just before I left for work. I also liken it to spring cleaning, throwing out the junk and preserving the good stuff on a daily basis in your mind. It’s about starting every morning fresh and free. Thank you Tim, I look forward to more posts.

  289. Absolutely I want more posts like this. I’ve recently made the venture into journaling and it’s great to see an example.

  290. First, nice handwriting! Away from the horrible unemotional most seen in Americans. Second, your obsession with spelling is not justified: you write correctly, even in a very informal book like your journal. Journals are not meant to be long but to collect the thoughts, feelings and mood of the day. Well done, my friend!

  291. I love this! I often forget to do what really matters in the morning.I’m good about getting in a workout after a couple cups of coffee, but not so good about meditation and journaling is an extension of meditation. I did both this morning (one before and one after my run) and today has been much better than most. My head is clearer. I’m better able to focus on my tasks.

  292. How about writing before going to sleep. I found out that I can sleep better after I put my thoughs on paper, because this helps me to enter in a meditative state, the thoughs are on the paper, not on my head anymore

  293. Awesome post Tim! This is the exact reason I am such a fan. You take the difficult to understand or daunting task that I would normally be to overwhelmed to know where to begin and you put it in layman terms so to speak. Thank you for the honesty and opening up to show how you truly spend your morning routine. Just like you I am always looking at successful people’s routines and especially the morning routine.

    Cheers!

  294. Yes more entry’s like this. They are awesome and stir up all sorts of great ideas. It is fun getting in your head. Lol. But you already know that

  295. This idea of writing down thoughts first thing in the morning, not to make a checklist necessarily but instead to just get some thoughts in order is a marvelous one. I have been taking your advice to do the same and since then it has drastically helped with the anxiety I feel towards starting any new day that I know will involve work. This along with many of the suggestions you have made via your books and podcasts have changed my life on so many levels. Thank you Tim Ferris, I strive to be the best human being I can due to your insight.

    Sincerely

    Tanner LaMarche

  296. I like the comments; journaling was how I survived my husband’s death, remaining (relatively!) sane despite losing the love of my life. For me, it was having a place — the journal — to “contain” my grief, allowing me to go on with a nearly normal life, eventually. I didn’t have to mourn constantly, because I had a place where I could, and did. It also provided a way to figure things out, on paper, with a bit of objectivity despite the overwhelming emotions. I’m intermittent, now, 20 years late; but I do go back to daily discipline, from time to time. Thanks for sharing!

  297. Tim,

    I really appreciate posts like this. Mainly because it helps people to understand that they’re not alone in the world. At least that’s what it has done for me. Anyone can promote all of the positives and successes they experience, but I think it’s the sharing of authentic struggles, feelings of doubt, and real-life challenges that enables people to relate. It’s inspiring. Thanks, Tim.

    -Wes

  298. I was looking for such post for many days. I started writing journal few weeks back but I was not sure what to write about.

    I normally write my experience of my day because I write in the evening. Often I write why I am doing what I am doing and some learning’s.

    Please write similar posts so that I can learn more.

  299. I have been writing nightly since I was 10. I have more than 40 full books of various sizes. Some times I wonder what the point of all that ink and paper is. What is it doing there? What is it doing for me?

    The answer in part is to change the question: What have all those pages done? While I wrote them I was taking advantage off all the things Tim points out in this post. Getting it out. Some times pages at a time are checked off to-do lists. Other times they are multi page explorations that have helped me make life changing discoveries.

    I do my writing mediation at the end of the day. Helps me fall asleep. Morning would be good too, but I’m already running out of places to store these things.

    Great post, thanks Tim.

  300. My morning journal writing began in the 70’s as a way to try and connect with something – anything – in a world I was not prepared for. It then morphed into a subversive if-anyone-read-this-I’d-be-arrested narrative; after that it was a way to vent privately. I wrote mostly about people I didn’t have the nerve to tell what I thought of them to their face – mostly ranting about co-workers until I “got” that they were reflections of myself. Somewhere after 20 years of this the narrative began to take shape as if I was talking to someone I hadn’t met yet. Now that I’m 60 I realize I cultivated a civil relationship with myself that found a voice in everyday living and I have a lovely little chat every morning over coffee with a self I have come to love and respect. Upon reflection, I’m not sure I would have even lived through a lot of my life without getting up and writing it out in the morning. I wrote myself into being.

  301. Thanks for sharing! Not only your “technique”, also the specific thoughts from the specific day chosen. It’s interesting as I sometimes asked myself the following question (I like to write, and – obviously – to write something that might even interest other people as well): If I had the chance / “a wish” and could be like Tim Ferriss, Maria Popova or another great and successful blog-writer, would I do it? The obvious answer is NO WAY YOU ARE ASKING THIS QUESTION – YEAH MAN, the not so obvious is the answer where you look into all those expectations from all of your fans, and thereby the loss of freedom and other things related to that.

    I have come to the conclusion that you are still my hero, Ferriss – but I wouldn’t wish to be you (another point is that you don’t have a Tim Ferriss in your life …. the rest of us does – thanks :-)).

    Nicolai

  302. This practice has the same benefit for me, but I mostly do it during the day when I am feeling confused. It is even more powerful when I am panicking.

    Now I realize that doing this exercise every day, and not only when I feel bad is probably going to help me having greater days.

    Thanks Tim.

  303. Tim,

    These posts are exactly the kind I seek out. They appeal on many levels; understanding personal success, character and it’s impact on that success, and what other ‘successful’ people have found to be solutions in the daily battle against their own DNA!

    I have kept a diary since I was 9 years old (now 35) and understand what you mean by the process being more important than the end product. Due to doing this, I do feel that I have a fairly sophisticated understanding of my strengths and weeknesses, not that this always helps in managing myself!

    In times of darkness I write more, and I do find answers through it. I don’t always write everyday, and often just when I need to, ranging twice daily to twice a month. Occasionally looking back at my scrawling, I can even tell my state of mind from my handwriting, not even needing to read the content!

    Thanks for the personal aspect to your posts, can’t imagine how hard it must be to press the publish button on some of them!

    Jules

    Julia

  304. Hi Tim! So funny, I was sitting writing my own “Morning Pages” at a wee hour of 5:30am on a Sunday. I couldn’t sleep because my heart is broken over someone who I had dated over the last few months decided to go back home to Europe. After struggling for sleep the whole night, listening to Mother Natures lightening and thunderstorm overhead, I knew the only thing that would make me feel better is if I got up and put pen to paper. I have been writing the Morning Pages ever since I was reunited with my Fourth Grade Sunday school teacher when I was in my mid thirties. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life and I said, “I want to write Romantic fiction.” “I have dated so many men, there has to be stories to tell.” And so, she introduced me to the Artists Way. I bought the book and immediately fell in love with Julia Cameron’s work. I have many of her books and in fact, two of them sit on my night stand and are looked at each evening before I go to bed as they comfort my soul.

    I started the Morning Pages practice as soon as I learned of it in the Artists Way. I believe it’s been well over ten years now that I have been writing them. And what’s funny is people at times know that is a practice of mine and have asked if I would share them. I graciously tell them that they are my very private and sacred writings and I do not share them. And I haven’t .

    My Morning Pages have served so many things over the years. They are first and foremost, a spiritual practice much like Julia Cameron says. They are a time for me to shed tears, to celebrate personal victories and a time to let ideas flow through me. The funny thing is that they have become such a part of my life that my day feels a bit off balance on the days that I don’t make the time for them.

    I write them in “ye old fashioned” composite notebooks like kids used to have in school, way back when. It kind of spoke to me to write in these as it reminded me of the early days of writing when I was a young girl.

    I have many of these books accumulated over the years, safely tucked in boxes for nobody’s eyes but mine. And the interesting thing is that I have not looked at back at them to read them through. I might have glanced at a few but not in depth and I don’t linger on the page. I just keep writing them, knowing the Universe/God hears my innermost thoughts, whether they are tears or screams of joy on a page.

    I admire your work and have read many of your books Tim. I hope to be as successful as you are in your writing and blogging as I do believe we all have our gifts to share with the world. You have shared yours and so many people have gained huge benefits because of it. For this I thank you.

    So in closing, today as I write my Morning Pages to be grateful for the wonderful blessings that this person has brought to my life, he has departed for Europe during the time I have written this. The storm of last night has past and the sun is beginning to show its face on the beautiful maple trees in front of the window in my office. I am reminded of that quote in Psalms that says:

    “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

  305. This is super useful, I’ve started doing this in an ad-hoc fashion but should make more of an effort each day. Do you keep your journals for a period of time? Or do you throw them away after maybe 1-2months ?

  306. Yes! Please post more like this. U may have just saved my sanity or perhaps even life 🙂

    I recently started painting when i cant contain myself and writing when i conot paint… It is my therapy. The rift between my mind and vast space where it likes to roam and the box where i reside, work and hate to stay is ever increasing… The morning writing may b one thing that may make me more clear and at peace. Thank you.

  307. Hi Tim

    Interestingly I have only recently discovered The Artists Way a couple of months ago and have found it to be a revelatory experience. I think part of the beauty of it is the simplicity of the technique, just getting the pages done in a stream of consciousness style. I’m loving it and happy to discover it is being so widely and effectively used.

    Regards, Sam.

  308. Tim, I’m very surprised you’re not keeping your journal on the computer. This lets you browse through it and retrieve key ideas you’d written in there; or, resume working on a sticking point you’ve got, without wasting time figuring out where you left off the last time you worked on it. Also, it makes it easier to reread older entries to get perspective on things.

    I’ve been keeping a journal since 2003. It let me get out of a depression and proved, indeed, much more effective than a therapy. Since then, it’s helped me make tough decisions (traveling around the world for 3 years) and build a viable business working remotely. It’s even helped me learn languages! (Hungarian, English)

    Today, I write a lot less in it than I used to but write a whole lot in a `WORK LOG` to keep track of my business and “think on paper.”

  309. Awesome post, thanks for the insights into your daily routine and the WHY behind it all. More and more I keep getting the same message: it’s not the result, it’s the process. Thanks for all work and sharing. It’s been making a huge difference in my year/life.

  310. Empty your head like your bowels.

    Not only is it necessary but mostly essential to a balance life. Thank Tim.

  311. Great post Tim! I’ve been writing the morning pages for 5 years now. Great brain drain 😊after just a few days I found myself more peaceful,relaxed and centered.

  312. Some of you gave cons and pros regarding paper vs eletronic but do you think it is age related? I’ll explain: I’m 41 and if I had my choice I would choose tha Pencil and paper and I would say it is becuase of the habit, the long habit of using paper and pen/pencil. I can’t get used to writing things on the pc. so do you think that someone who is now 10 to 15 would choose the same medium or choose the electronic one (given the time in say 5 to 10 years from now), since those ages were really born to pc’s and tablets and cell phones?

    what are you’re thoughts?

    Guy

  313. I am wondering how you fit morning pages into your morning with meditation? When I first embarked on the artist way, I was committed to the 3 pages, which I found to be a time sinkhole when in conjunction with my morning TM. Also, writing right after I woke up (before meditating) didn’t feel great.

    When do you find is the best time to do your page?

  314. Like! Keep it coming. Also have Artists Way. Your podcast guests are excellent!!! Since I never found a place to send this message…I am a strong follower of yours. The 4 hour body ‘diet’ does not address a menopausal woman and did not work. Did it “by the book”. Dexa scan, ice baths and all, for six months. I’m happy to be a guinea pig anytime.

  315. Hi Tim. I’ve just started a journal, i found myself inspired by Jim Rohn. I found this post awesome to read and it motivates me to keep going! Big thanks from the netherlands 🙂

  316. Yes the more specific on topics the better. I felt after reading what I’ve always suspected was true (but never followed the thought all the way through to articulate it) that keeping a journal has it’s own value and primary purpose beneath the surface (though it’s not overtly sought out/executed) e.g, side effect and true value is in #2.

  317. Thank you Tim!! I have been struggling with my morning pages because…well honestly I had let the critic’s voice in my head take over. My expectations about what I needed to write about every morning were getting crazy and this helped so much. Thanks again!

  318. Love this post! I’ve never kept a journal for a couple of reasons. Now, I will try it to see if it changes my life too. Do you keep your journals or do you discard them?

  319. This is perfect. I think a lot of us are still very intimidated to sit down and put something on a piece of paper for various reasons. Showing us that it doesn’t necessarily have to look nice or make sense to others is a wonderful relief. I’d love to see more. Thanks for sharing Timbo!

  320. No question Journaling is important. I need to get back to doing it. What I have been doing which is impactful is writing down these topics and answering them (from the 5 minute journal on iTunes/iPhone) daily:

    1). Three things I am grateful for

    2). 3 accomplishments that would make today great

    3). Daily affirmations

  321. I’m willing to give this a go – every morning I wake with clenched teeth, a headache and a mind stuffed full of junk. Sometimes I manage to fight my way, blindly, through this suffocating weight. Most of the time I don’t.

  322. Thank you for the reminder, Tim. The Morning Pages ritual rules. After years of journaling my life in real time rants, I found more relief and yes clarity at the start of my day after reading Cameron’s description of the purpose of writing these pages. The image of the foamy, slimy bubbles at the top of the pot after boiling potatoes always comes to mind…word slop easily slapped down in 5 minutes of writing making for a more peaceful mind for the rest of the day. In other news, I’m a few chapters in 4-hour work week and thank you. Shits about get real for me. Infinite blessings to you and thanks for being born.