No, this isn’t one of those gimmicks you see sprinkled around the web with screamy headlines like “LOSE TEN POUNDS IN A DAY WITH THIS ONE WEIRD RULE!” or “THE TRICK DENTISTS HATE!” This is actually something worth trying out, and you can thank Swiss-British philosopher Alain de Botton for it.
So what’s the trick? As de Botton told Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, on Ferriss’ podcast, it’s all about putting pen to paper. “I’ve realized that what I love doing at the end of the day … is to just download the thoughts that are buzzing around — slightly shapeless, slightly directionless, and they need a little help.”
Which means that, before bed each night, he grabs a pen and paper and writes down whatever is floating around in his head. The act of making those intangible thoughts tangible — actual ink on the page—helps him process them. “It’s a kind of housekeeping — intellectual housekeeping.”