Over the years, I’ve learned that one of the most effective ways to quickly change the tone of a conversation is to utter the phrase, “So I was thinking about you in the shower this morning…”
Especially if you say it during a business meeting.
Of course, very shortly after saying that - especially during a business meeting - I find myself needing to also say “no, not like that” before going on to share my latest and greatest brilliant idea.
I’ve gotten some of my best ideas in the shower. I’ve written entire books while shaving my legs and completely redesigned a marketing strategy while conditioning my hair. I also get great ideas when I’m driving. A 20 minute commute is often far more productive than a conference call brainstorming session.
I know a lot of people who do their best problem solving outside of the office. I had a business partner once who got so many brilliant ideas at 2am that we used to joke that she had to hold off sharing them until after coffee to make sure they were still brilliant in the light of day. My husband has come out of the bathroom on more than one occasion with a new solution to a nagging work issue. It makes sense, to me, that we’re able to come up with new ideas when our brains have a little more room to wander freely.
Of course, one of the problems with getting brilliant ideas in the shower or on the Interstate is that you can easily forget the details before you have a chance to share or implement them. I suspect countless best-selling novels have disappeared down bathroom drains all over the world, simply because most laptops aren’t waterproof.
I’ve started making a concerted effort to save more of these mental gems. I use the notepad app on my iPhone at stop lights and keep a sticky pad near my front door. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a voice recorder that can be used in the shower, but keeping a notepad in the bathroom so I can quickly scribble down my thoughts works almost as well.
Now I just need to remember exactly what “Middle East - listen first - like that weight loss story” means.
Where do you get your best ideas? And are you making an effort to capture them?
Photo by Faith Goble on Flickr.