If I really want solutions, decisions, or insights I will sleep on the challenge, dream on it in the morning while half awake and half asleep, shower on it, bike to the woods with it in mind, and then hike through the trees and sit on a tree stump to visualize the challenge. I do this all with my idea journal at my side to capture the insights I get. Many people say they get their best ideas when they have thought about the challenge a lot but then stop thinking about it. They sleep, shower, or workout and then great ideas come to them. They disengage from a high level of mental engagement on their problem and let their subconscious mind work on the challenge for them while they do something else…like sleep, shower, or workout! Try some of these techniques for generating ideas. Many times I find that the ideas you get are more highly developed…they are a concept that is more helpful for a solution or decision related to your challenge.
1. Sleep on it. Have your idea journal and a pen next to your bed. Think about your challenge in your mind. Jot down ideas you get in the morning or if waking in the middle of the night.
2. Wake on it. Don’t have to be up early? Linger in bed in a half sleep-half awake state and play with your challenge in your mind. Jot down your ideas in your journal. This is related to lucid dreaming where you have a little bit of influence in your dreams.
3. Bathe on it. Many people say they get their best ideas in the shower. Archimedes had his “eureka” moment in the bathtub. Place your challenge in your mind and then focus on relaxing and bathing. Jot down your ideas when you towel off.
4. Exercise on it. Go for a walk, jog, bike ride, or hit the cardio machine at the gym with your challenge in mind. Have your idea journal handy to jot down ideas.
5. Visualize on it. Get into an awake but relaxed meditative state with your challenge and see where your mind takes you. Jot down ideas.
The key with all of these techniques that are more subconscious/disengaging in nature is that you have your idea sheet ready to capture your ideas at hand because you may not remember them long. What techniques do you use to get your best ideas? How can you let your subconscious mind work on the challenge for you?