Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Four Items I Need for My Morning Practice (third post in a series of five)

I’ve found the following four items indispensable for my morning practice as it has evolved over the years.

  1. A flat, clean surface.   I’ve used countless tables and other surfaces in my home and elsewhere when I’ve been on vacation or traveling for business.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a pretty surface, nor of a certain size, nor one that necessarily is located in a quiet area.  The latter realization has become increasingly apparent as I’ve become better at turning inward during my morning practice to the point where I can ignore noises and other distractions.
  2. An assortment of different colored pens.  I like to use different colored pens in my morning practice to differentiate points in my writing. In addition, when I review entries later, I typically have gained additional insight which I can note in a color different from the one I originally used.
  3. A notebook. My notebooks are central to my morning practice, given the importance I place on writing.  I’ve used a variety of types of notebooks over the years, from basic composition books to actual journals sold by stationery and specialty stores.  Some have lines on the pages, some don’t, and they vary in size.  While I generally use 8 ½” X 11” notebooks, I occasionally opt for odd sizes for the sake of variety.  Given the amount of writing I do, I fill notebooks rather quickly so I’m always on the lookout for low-cost options I can stockpile for future use.  It seems there’s always a sale or clearance special on some kind of notebook, so it’s merely a matter of me being on the lookout during my travels to add to my collection. I also spend considerable time and energy decorating my notebooks with images and words I collect from a variety of sources.  I began this practice after buying inexpensive journals with covers I found unattractive.  Now I automatically look for ways to spruce up my notebooks, as a means of expressing my long-dormant creativity and making the notebooks seem special while in use and later when referring to them. 
  4. My iPhone. My calendar (iCal) and to do list (Todoist) on my iPhone remain open during my morning practice. I want to ensure that as ideas come up I seamlessly incorporate them into my schedule. In other words, I want to minimize the loss of ideas and musings which might otherwise be pushed to the background. I strive to make my ideas actionable. In this way I've structured my morning practice to make sure I live up to this commitment. I'll constantly add items to Todoist and events to my calendar. At the same time I may choose to eliminate or postpone an activity. In short, my morning practice allows me to take better charge of my time and get more done throughout the day. 

Now that I’ve covered the primary tools I use in my morning practice, I’ll turn to the primary technique in my next post — specifically, the evolution of my writing practice.

To view all five posts in the series, click on the following links: Introducing My Morning Practice, Part 1;  Why I Do a Morning Practice, Part 2; Four Items I Need in My Morning Practice, Part 3; Writing: The Cornerstone of My Morning Practice, Part 4; and Reading During My Morning Practice, Part 5.  

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