At one point or another, we all struggle with writer’s block or we fixate on a problem without a solution. At times we can be obsessed with a disagreement with a friend or a comment we made that was taken the wrong way. We can also fill our brains with worry and anxiety about an upcoming event.
During these times, we naturally tend to focus more of our attention and energy on the issue or concern versus taking a step back. Recently, I have tried a different approach. Whenever I find myself fixated on an issue or stuck solving a problem, I take a shower. Yes, a shower. Sounds weird doesn’t it?
But, think about it for a second. When you’re taking a shower, you aren’t doing anything else with your mind. Cleaning your body is such a routine task that it frees your mind and allows it to wander and think openly and creatively.
I found research actually supports my findings. When you’re taking a shower, you are distracted thus allowing your subconscious mind to think creatively about the problem at hand and come up with some new ideas or solutions. Taking a shower is also relaxing which releases dopamine which in turn unleashes your creativity.
Those of us who are hyper-focused on getting things done might see taking a shower as a waste of time. I used to jump in and jump right out to get on with my day. I have since reframed my thinking to recognize that taking my time in shower actually increases my productivity by giving me the time to gather my thoughts and come up with new ideas or solutions. I now see this as a critical time for mentally planning and preparing for the rest of my day.
Of course, if you’re at the office, you can’t just jump in the shower but taking a short walk or taking a break to play a game can have similar effects. Whenever you are stuck on a problem or can’t seem to find the right words, find a different activity that is both distracting and relaxing.
TRY THIS OUT: Next time you find yourself obsessing over something, take a break. Stop and take a shower or take a walk. Let your mind wander and watch how the ideas and thoughts just start to flow.
After 25 years in the corporate world, working at Lotus Development, Ernst & Young, The Weather Channel and Play On! Sports, Monisha Longacre has founded her own company, Productivity101 and created priorigami: the art of productivity. Her mission is to provide simple, actionable and easy-to-use tools to help busy adults track, prioritize and complete tasks, to better manage their time and become more productive. Her goal is for priorigami to become the "FitBit" for productivity to help people lead more meaningful lives.
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