This week, my partner handed me a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I was a big fan of the book in my early twenties, and in 2013 filled four Moleskines with daily morning pages per the book's recommendations.
As I've been revisiting the book this week, something stuck out to me. The author suggests that, in the process of writing morning pages each morning, we clean the cobwebs out of our mind's attic and are more able to think and create as a result. To me, this idea is strikingly similar to the recommendations of David Allen in his landmark productivity book Getting Things Done.
The central argument of Allen's book is that we're walking around with all these ideas and tasks rattling around in our brains, and that our brains aren't suited to this task. It's better to get all those thoughts and ideas and tasks out into a tool you trust you'll come back to regularly.
Gee, doesn't that sound a lot like morning pages, only with a business productivity bent? What if instead of my todos being a repository only of the things I have to do, they also included all the things I've ever wanted to do as well? Wouldn't it be fun to have a running list of all the things, whether realistic or outlandish, that you've ever thought of doing?
So I made a task list in OmniFocus called "Someday". I started small: Start a personal wiki. Then I got a bit more lavish: Take a trip to San Francisco. Eventually, I dreamed bigger: Renovate an old church to live in. Take a rustic cruise to Alaska. Get a doctorate in computer science.
Wow! I'm not sure I've dreamed that big since I was in college. It's so easy to get caught up in the duties and responsibilities of our day to day life and miss out on the romance of our imagination in the process. By giving myself permission to dream big and let go of my preconceptions of what is "realistic" or "responsible", I'm expanding my horizons and regaining my sense of imagination and creativity.
My hope is that eventually, I'll feel confident enough to promote these imaginings out of my "Someday" list and into my "Current" list. Time will tell.