Are you still sitting behind your desk or at home to do your brainstorming?
If we want to be innovative and generate ideas that will benefit our lives we have to think. We need to brainstorm. And we need to relax so our minds can formulate.
People don’t spend enough time doing focused brainstorming and deep thinking. With the endless gadgets, toys and browsing of the Information Age we find ourselves constantly distracted, getting all of our answers from Internet Searches. The problem is you can’t browse yourself to locate a breakthrough idea.
So the simple answer is to get away. Leave your office. Leave your house. I am not talking about going out of town or to Club Med, a local coffee shop will do.
Here are the top 7 reasons we should go out to do our best brainstorming and deep thinking:
- New combinations – We get most breakthrough ideas by combining two or more unrelated items. A good example is the peanut butter cup. Nobody normally associated chocolate and peanut butter until some brilliant soul combined them. Did I say it was a brilliant mind? Getting out lets you combine different environments, items and scenery.
- Fewer interruptions – One major hindrance to our ability to think are the countless interruptions we have all day. Getting away to a nice coffee shop, or sitting on a nice park bench allows us to leave distractions behind. Be sure and ditch your cell phone, pager and other gadgets or you aren’t getting away.
- New events and circumstances – If you do most of your thinking in bed or at your office chair, the scenery seldom changes. Get out and the scenery will change immediately. You’ll see new people. You’ll see new products. You’ll hear new conversations and sounds that will give you ideas.
- No apprehension about interruptions – Personally, I can’t focus well at home because at any second my 6 year old will burst into the room requesting a snack or for me to play a game with her. So even if I am not interrupted at the time, I fear the interruption! This isn’t good for a relaxed mind and free flowing ideas. Getting away is the solution.
- Solitude – Similar to the other points, but deeper. Getting away from your normal environment is spending YOU time. It’s time focused only on you. Solitude is spending time doing what makes you happy. A happy mind generates good ideas. Solitude and the self-love that is a by-product of solitude is good for your overall personality and wellbeing.
- Reward for thought – You can also use the get away time as a reward. In other words “I am going to reward myself for thinking by going to the coffee shop, enjoying my favorite drink as I focus on this idea for 30 minutes.”
- Ideas Come Later – After focusing solidly for a long time, your mind will want to relax. During the ride home or later in the day when you least expect it, some new ideas will arise. Focus is like a rubber band, you pull it and pull it, and only when you let go do the good ideas come.
Brad Isaac is a lead software developer and blogger. You can read his daily goal setting and motivational tips at the Achieve-IT! blog.