You’ve got a deadline staring you in the face, and the ideas you need to finish a proposal or project have vacated your conscious mind. The more desperately you need to finish something, the more your ability to brainstorm can seem to dry up.
And then you hop in the shower, onto the treadmill, or into some routine chore, and presto! Ideas! Or you decide to stop working till the next morning, and when you wake up, kapow! Ideas!
The beauty of taking a shower or working your way through a familiar exercise routine lies in the activity’s ability to distract the mental censor that stomps on your brainstorms and disrupts free-form thinking. Likewise, sleeping on a stubborn problem can give your less-than-conscious mind a chance to gnaw on your dilemma, releasing fresh thoughts when you go back to work.
Taking a break, otherwise known as interpolated inactivity, really can pay off in increased creativity and the flow of new ideas.