I had a conversation today that reminded me how many great ideas I have in the shower. I looked online to find out why and came across a lot of articles about the subject. It’s not because there’s magic in your soap bottle – and it certainly has nothing to do with shampoo, if you’ve ever seen my shiny head.
Most of the research seems to say that you’re more likely to have a creative thought when you’re doing something boring like washing the dishes, running on a treadmill, driving (ahh!), or showering. Why? These are all activities that don’t require much thought and we can easily turn on autopilot. This frees up our unconscious to work on something else and our mind goes wandering, leaving us to quietly play a game of free association. This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and clears the pathways that connect different regions of our brain….which allows us to make new, creative connections that our conscious mind would have dismissed.
I love that there’s research studies about how our brains are working all this out…but mostly, I just love that there are situations we can put ourselves in to be creative…to solve problems….to come up with a much-needed solution to the most persistent question of humankind: “What’s for dinner?”
I think I’ll stop complaining about doing dishes, digging up sod, vacuuming, and long commutes. Instead, I’ll start thinking of them as my creativity time. I don’t know that I’ll solve the world’s biggest problems, but I might come up with where I left my computer mouse, and I’ll definitely have another blog post planned. Hoping your routines and your boredom lead you to some great ideas.