I’m willing to bet that 80% of my greatest ideas came to me while I was either showering or on a bathroom break. And while my shower could be a magical fountain of wisdom, I’m inclined to think that it enables me to enter a creative state of mind outside of the busyness of life.
Have you ever sat down with the intent of writing a blog post or planning a video and nothing comes to you? So often, we let our perfectionistic editor in the door before we’ve even had time to think. Your editor is great at shaping content once you have it, but the truth is that you’ll never think of that brilliant life-changing idea with a critic staring you in the face.
Let brainstorming be a messy storm, THEN organize and edit afterwards.
Today I want to talk about 3 techniques I use to streamline my brainstorming process.
1Eye of the Storm
My first brainstorming technique is called Eye of the Storm, and this one is all about your environment. Quieting yourself down and removing distractions will naturally increase the chances of you coming up with a great idea.
When I am wanting to come up with good ideas, I put my phone in airplane mode, sprawl out on the floor, and jot down anything that comes to mind. This goes back to the power of a shower—when you are alone in a distraction-free zone, your brain finally has the space to mull over ideas unhindered.
Interestingly enough, your brain associates different spaces in your house with different activities. So if you devote a specific chair or office space solely to brainstorming, your brain automatically enters that mode when you enter that space. I like to call my floor the Imagination Station.
If you get in the habit of stilling yourself, I promise ideas will start to come to you.
Technique #2 is all about eureka moments, and I’m calling this one Thunderstrike. Now, just like you can’t force lightning to strike in a certain area, you can’t force a eureka moment. But you CAN increase the chance of a thunderstrike and implement a system to capture an idea when it comes.
To increase the chance of a thunderstrike, practice moments of stillness like in the first technique, and avoid distractions during your breaks. So often, I find myself scrolling through Twitter during my bathroom breaks. But I can’t tell you how many project ideas I have gotten in the bathroom when I am intentional to open a note-taking app instead.
You will also want to implement a system to capture these ideas when they come. This system should be frictionless and with you everywhere you go. I use a Notion page to store random ideas that come to me throughout the day. I then organize these ideas into actionable tasks or other pages when I have the time to take a deeper look at them.
Having a system to capture random ideas will allow you to offload them from your brain without forgetting them or distracting you from other important tasks.
My final brainstorming technique is called Flash Flood. This technique is perhaps the most important for getting a bunch of content on the page and ignoring your perfectionist editor.
What you’re going to want to do is pull out a sheet of paper or your favorite note-taking app, and set a timer for 5 minutes. During this time, I want you to write as many thoughts and ideas about your topic as you possibly can. You are not allowed to edit or delete your work until after the timer goes off.
The reason this technique is so powerful is because it allows your brain to think clearly without the urge to refine the first thought that appears. It also helps you to overcome the hurtle of writer’s block. Rather than focusing on the challenge of writing a whole book, you will be able to hone in on the page in front of you and just get started with the next step.
Once your thoughts are flowing, continuing from there will be much easier.
Embrace the sketchpad
I really encourage you to implement these three techniques in your life: Find a distraction-free creative space, establish a frictionless recording method, and dedicate 5 minutes to generating ideas. You will be left with a collection of raw ideas that you can then shape and take in any direction.
I like to compare this entire process to a sketchpad. If you are focused on creating a masterpiece, you will quickly shut down anything short of perfection. Instead, go ahead and embrace the sketchpad. You never know when the sketch of thoughts in front of you will become a blueprint for brilliance.