I regularly schedule blocks of time in my workflow to think.
And certainly there is value with making this time.
But honestly, “think time” in my office is certainly productive, but generally not game-changing.
But just today, I went on a 5K run. And during the run, I hooked slightly onto a kernel of an new idea. It was an interesting idea, but it needed to be fleshed out some more.
When I got back home, I took a quick shower to clean up. And boom, it was in the shower when the little kernel of an idea became a killer new idea!
It’s possible my wife, who was in her office on the other side of the house, heard my girly shriek from the shower.
Point is, you can’t do all of your ideating in your regular, standard, boring, professional workspace. Sure, better there than in front of the television….
But, you’ve got to change your environment to allow your brain to reset, refresh, and process.
I am certainly not the first person to proclaim this. And I won’t be the last.
And here’s another critical point on this: You can’t simply move to a different location, and say to yourself, “Ok, time to think about new ideas.”
It doesn’t work that way.
No, the whole point is to change scenery and NOT think. Just be. Just exist. Just stand there. Almost be mindless.
I sometimes catch my dog Lily standing, facing the wall, staring at said wall, and not moving. When I observe this, I wonder if she’s gone loopy.
Do just that. Stand and stare at a wall if you have to. That’s where you have to go. Because only then, do ideas suddenly populate your consciousness.
And when it happens, you are surprised. “Where did THAT come from,” you’ll say to yourself. That’s why, as I mentioned earlier, you’ll shriek like a girl in the shower.
Your mind is an amazing thing. But you have to let it process, let it do its thing. This is what meditation is all about.
No, at the end of the day, turn things off, just be, and (not) focus on anything, and that’s when surprising ideas will pop.
If you want to come up with game-changing ideas, get the hell OUT of your usual workspace.
He is a former marketing strategist, national political operative, and lobbyist.
Todd has published five books, writes a business + lifestyle column, is a distance runner, and lives in Chicago with his wife Stephanie + family.