How My Brain Works in the Shower

Like most people, I get a lot of great ideas in the shower. (This happens because we are not focusing on trying to come up with ideas…and that’s why you tend not to get many great ideas at your work desk.)

Unfortunately, ideas in the shower often turn into slippery little fishes. Don’t you just hate that…when you have a groundbreaking idea one second, and then as soon as you’re toweling off, you forget it?

So I developed a couple of strategies, neither of which included putting a whiteboard in my shower.

First, I limit myself to 3 ideas in the shower. And I assign each to one of my fingers (yes, I know, I have 5 fingers, but I don’t give one to my thumb or pinky).

And as soon as I’ve filled up all of my fingers, I keep on repeating the ideas while pointing the finger I’ve assigned it to. Seriously.

That way, I don’t forget the idea.

Sure, sometimes I end up getting dressed with soap still in my hair, but I can always go back and wash it off. A lost idea however, is often lost for good.

The second way to capture those ideas might be a bit more practical. Just put a pen and paper on the sink and step out and scribble them down as quickly as possible.

Crude form of mind-mapping.

Speaking of which, I use mind-mapping quite a bit. To be honest, I’ve never used the computer software. That’s not my style.

Instead, I buy giant white bristol board (aka cork board), and I use markers and do it the old-fashioned way.

In fact, the impetus for this series of blog posts came from a mindmapping session
that my business partner Matt and I did while visiting Florida last week. I even made him drive to Staples to get a giant flipchart and markers.

He probably thinks I’m crazy for the way I operate, but we had a great brainstorming and organizational session, so I’m sure he’ll put up with my creativity quirks so long as they work.

Finally, the last thing I want to mention today is the one thing that you need to do before you go to bed each night. Not only does this help your creativity, but it also allows you to have a good night sleep.

If you don’t do this, your brain will likely be running at 100mph and you’ll toss and turn. So you simply need to have a brain-dump about 30 minutes before you go to bed.

Get a piece of paper and write down everything that is in your mind...all of the projects that you are working, all of the “to do’s” that you are planning for the next day, and any other random thoughts that come to mind.

Get it all out on paper.

Now you should have a clean slate and clear mind so that you can go through your pre-bed rituals and have a great night’s sleep without any stress.

Alright, that’s it for today. I have at least enough content for a 3rd part…but I’ll save that for another day.

Tomorrow

We’ll either talk about getting traffic or my trip to the cigar bar with the owner of a billion-dollar business.

Depends on my mood,

Craig Ballantyne

“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” – Emerson

  • So my 18 month old daugher actually got these washable bath crayons and they are AWESOME!

    Now whenever I come up with an idea in the shower I just write it on the tiles so I don’t forget. It may be crazy, but the “pointing at the fingers and repeating” thing is a little crazy too so maybe my idea will work for you.

  • Mike

    Cigar bar story please.

  • “If you don’t do this, your brain will likely be running at 100mph and you’ll toss and turn.”

    That last section was very timely for me since thinking about business plans and “to dos” has literally been keeping me up a night which isn’t very sustainable. I tried the “brain dump” last night and it seemed to help plus I have a plan for the next 24hrs.

    Thanks Craig!