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How Morning Freewriting Boosts Your Daily Productivity.

By Jonathan Carnino

We've all heard that you should never check your email when you first arrive at the office if you want to be productive throughout the day. You might get lost in a black hole of links, articles, and email chains that don't deserve your attention if you're not careful.

But, if this is the case, how should you begin your most important working hours?

One of my favorite productivity analogies involves a jar, some rocks, and sand. If you start by filling your jar with the sand, you will have no room for the marbles. However, if you start by filling your jar with your marbles, the sand will have no problem fitting into the jar.

In other words, begin your day with the most time-consuming and demanding activity. You should already know what that item is if you've prioritized your to-do list the day prior.

When you return in the morning, however, there's a good chance your thoughts are racing because of all the things you need to accomplish or that you're groggy from not having had enough coffee. Neither of these states is a good place to be when you want to tackle those bigger tasks first thing in the morning.

This is a great entryway into our conversation about freewriting. At the start of every day, and this can be either at home or first thing when you arrive to the office, spend just 10 minutes freewriting. This can be done with a notebook, a word document, or better yet - with WriteMore.

Before you believe that freewriting is only for a middle school English class, consider this: According to a Harvard Business School study, regular workplace journaling is one of the most effective ways to boost job performance.

This exercise is commonly used by writers to break free from writer's block. However, freewriting will provide you with a new viewpoint on your job and help you focus your day. Even if your work does not entail any writing, this small morning practice will assist you get past the mindset of prioritizing and into the hard work of your day.

You may be wondering, does my writing need to be focused around what I need to accomplish that day? Of course not. It would defeat the point of this being freewriting if you were to stress about what words to put on the page. Even if it takes some practice, learn not to worry about which terms to use. It might be as simple as reviewing your morning breakfast or venting about the long commute.

By writing about what you know on any given morning, you will be able to clarify your thoughts and clear out anything that is clouding your best thinking.

If you’re having trouble, use these prompts:

  • My work is motivated by …

  • This week, I’m thankful for …

  • Today, I should avoid …

  • I feel fulfilled at work when ...

  • From my team, I’m proud of …

  • I work best when ...

Remember, with freewriting there is no wrong answer. It doesn't have to be pretty, or even legible for that matter. Embrace the stream of consciousness purge to clear your mind. Besides, what better way to boost your morning morale than to start with an automatic win?

Within just weeks of freewriting, I promise you your mornings will become your favorite part of the day. This time should be a coveted moment to destress and prime your brain for the day.