I recently acquired a copy of Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans, and snuggling into fuzzy socks on the living room couch with a cup of matcha tea, I voraciously attacked the gigantic 670-something paged Titan.

And by attack, I mean “read-30-pages, went-for-a-run, read-30-pages, went-to-class” sort of slow digestion. Think slow attack.

It’s a brilliant work of art. A collaboration of great, great minds all organized by an equally impressive mind. The book capitalizes on the strategies, habits, and routines of change-makers: of the billionaires, the icons, the world-class performers.

It gets real and personal, as if you yourself were the interviewer: what book do you find yourself most giving away, Arnold Schwarzenegger? How do you practice meditation, Rainn Wilson? What is your writing routine, Paulo Coehlo?

It’s excellent stuff.

Around page 143, Ferriss begins disclosing his morning rituals. One in particular stood out to me, and has been in effect since discovery:

#5 — Morning Pages or 5-Minute Journal (5 to 10 minutes)

Each morning after a run and during breakfast, I personally like to settle myself down at either a blank google doc or my Moleskine notebook. I like to take this holy time and set intentions, declare goals, repeat affirmations.

I like doing the same at the end of the day as I wind down my mind for brief hibernation.

But–as many of you surely can relate–lately I have been spending the days rushing around; rushing to classes, rushing to work, rushing to teach and intern and speed-write these blog posts and speed-read these books and speed-eat and speed-listen to music.

The consequence of this rushing is that when I take the time to approach the blank page, I’m too used to the speedy pace to cultivate anything productive. It’s daunting to slow down when life has been passing by so quickly.

This brings me back to Ferriss’ Morning Pages.

He approaches the canvas each morning and night organized and efficient. Which I, in my obsession with efficient productivity, appreciate greatly. His approach is a way to purposefully transition from an inevitable quickness of life to the quiet recesses of the mind.

He begins his morning journaling with three specific prompts:

  1. I am grateful for…. 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______
  2. What would make today great? … 1 .______ 2. ______ 3. ______
  3. Daily affirmations. I am… 1. _____ 2. _____ 3. _____

At night, he muses over:

  1. Three amazing things that happened today…. 1. _____ 2. _____ 3. _____
  2. How could I have made today better? 1. _______ 2. _______ 3. _______

This is a less daunting approach to the mind canvas than just commanding thyself to write, damn you!

Perhaps you don’t have some kind of journal-writing-meditation practice. Which is fine. But I’m telling you, nay, begging you!

If you want to add smidgeons of intention to your day, echoes of purposefulness, hints of meaning…try it out. A simple 5-minute writing to tap into something with sense of self.

We have the ability to change our life. The responsibility of refinement lies with us. There is nothing exterior about it.  

We are the change-makers. We are the gifted. We are the icons and the world-class perfomers and the role-models and the leaders.

But we have to be conscious, first.

Peace and Blessings,


3 Comments on “A 5-Minute Investment into a Morning Writing Routine

  1. Oy! I can’t recall the last time I launched into a book of 670 (something) pages. On the other hand, I do have a 1915 Webster’s in my study which I’ve been consulting for about 27 years now. It has 2,620 pages, not counting the appendix, the annex, or the ibex. But mostly, your post reminds me of Time and the Rhinoceros (by any other name). So, as a kind of amulet for the warding off of wayward rhinos, I offer this passage from the writings of Clara Mayer: “Rightly used, words are the single form of expression that we have in common to convey the intricacies of meaning; they are the channel to ourselves, and our universe, and each other. Time is needed to use them rightly, and also tranquility. And when we have no tranquility, neither do we have time in any sense that counts.”


    • Ahh, the good reliable paper dictionary. I love the idea of hole-ing myself off in a cave somewhere with a Moleskine notebook, a wooden pencil, a thesaurus and a dictionary and seeing what happens. Your quote reminds me of one from Kafka: “A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.” or another one by him, for that matter: “The meaning of life is that it stops”.


  2. Pingback: Time Traveling – the Hydrogen Jukebox

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