How do you come up with so many new ideas?? The answer is easier than you might think!
Often when we’re in need of ideas and inspiration we turn to Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook and then we scroll and scroll until we realize we’ve wasted an hour and not come up with anything worthwhile.
And so I propose an alternative. An easier, non-research way to generate ideas, to get motivated, to innovate, and create.
Links + Resources
This week, I’ve been in systems and processes mode figuring out how to make everything I’m already doing easier, faster, and more effective. I spent much of my week creating Airtable bases and templates and lists of instructions so when I’m working with clients or contractors or creating stuff for my Essentials members there’s a process and place for everything.
Along with this, I’ve been reviewing what we’ve been working on the past 6 months and coming up with improvements and additions to work on through the rest of the year.
Often when we think about standing out in our niches it’s about the outward-facing stuff – content, ads, photos – so we listen to podcasts, read books and blog posts, hop into a Facebook group to ask questions. We take in more and more information trying to figure out how to do the same thing but better.
When really the best way to stand out is to do it differently. To do things differently you need to get away from all the noise.
What you need to spend time on is….thinking.
Figuring out what you need help with, what you need to change, what your goals are, and then letting your brain do the work. You already have so much knowledge and expertise that you don’t need to take in more info. You need to give your brain a chance to do its job.
Thinking about what’s working, what’s not, what needs to change in your industry, in your mindset, how you can reach those crazy goals, what your audience and students need. You need space and time to think through that stuff.
I want to share my go-to when I need to innovate or come up with a solution. Here’s what I recommend – take a boiling hot shower and then get one of those Korean scrubby cloths, hang out in the shower for like 45 minutes and scrub off a layer of skin. Not only is it entirely satisfying as hell, but brilliant ideas will just start flying out of your brain.
Sometimes just being in the bathroom and turning the shower on sets my brain off and if my phone is not in the bathroom I will inevitably have to run back out in the living room and grab it. I have absolutely gotten out of the shower soaking wet to go get my phone because I had an idea that I didn’t want to miss.
In one shower I came up with a challenge I’m going to run in The Essentials this month, the outline for a monthly email for Essentials members (if you’re a member, it’s the one I sent on Sunday), and this entire podcast episode.
Why does this work so well? Because while you’re focused on being amazed by how much skin you’re scrubbing off your brain will have the space and time to think without you or someone else interrupting it every two minutes.
Now, if you’re not into this whole scrubbing off your skin thing, you can also just take a long time washing your hair or shaving your legs or any other activity that doesn’t involve much thought. Now, I know where some of you are about to go with this…and I applaud you for the reminder that this is a solo activity, so no inviting friends along. Your brain needs a break and it can only get that when you are alone and unbothered.
Here’s the thing. If you put your foot down on this now and carve out time in your schedule once a week, you only need 30 – 45 minutes. You will start to come up with things that will move the needle and when the needle moves you can hire help, you can send your kids to dance class with a nanny, you can have someone else clean your house, or answer your emails.
Boundaries help focus on your priorities – that’s what’s important.
Now if parking it in the shower isn’t your jam, you can also do things like running or yoga (but not in a class where you’re following someone because you want to be able to stop and take notes). You want to be able to follow a train of inspiration without being interrupted.
You can go for a walk, you could knit a scarf, you could park in the Target parking lot if that is the only way for you to get an hour alone to let your brain work.
Also – surprise, surprise! – I wrote this podcast episode while I was in the shower. It came in such a lightning bolt that I almost thought about recording it in the shower for a split second, but I felt like my editor would want to slap me when he heard the water in the background. I did create a voice note so I didn’t miss anything as it was bubbling up in my brain.
I know that you have some big ideas in there but if you’re always focused and doing stuff you aren’t going to be still enough to capture them.
Like I said at the beginning, you aren’t going to be able to generate new ideas and innovate by taking in more information. You need a time-out. You need to focus on an easy task, and let your brain do its thing in the background until it spits out some brilliance.
Give a long shower or a walk around the block a permanent spot in your schedule.