"It just came to me while I was doing the dishes one day", is not such an uncommon kind of statement to hear when it comes to creative ideas and problem solving. Although it can be somewhat perplexing (and frustrating) that hours upon hours of thinking often brings us to no conclusion, there is an explanation to why ideas tend to fall from the sky instead.
Ideas plucked from 'thin air', are usually found in the breeze of a walk, the bubbles of your kitchen sink, the folds in your washing, and other such monotonous tasks. So what do all these actions have in common? They are monotonous or repetitive. Now these might not be words that you have previously considered synonymous with creativity, but be assured that they can play a pivotal role.
Repetitive action sends the brain into what is known as the 'alpha' state - associated with light relaxation. This brain state induces problem solving and lateral thinking as the brain is free to explore the subconscious. New connections can be made in the brain, because it is not being forced into seeing a problem from one angle any longer. Your subconscious, huh? ... that hard little worker who sits in the back room, storing and sorting all the files, and hardly ever gets any recognition. Meanwhile, he's got all the answers you need to solve your problems if you give him space to have a voice!
So, at risk of sounding like I'm handing out excuses to procrastinate, I want to encourage you to try a new approach next time you get stuck on a problem: productive procrastination.
Instead of sitting and furrowing your brow for hours on end, and digging yourself so far down into the "I'm stuck" hole, take a break and try something repetitive or monotonous. While you might not have a pile of washing or dirty dishes to clean at work, you could go for a walk or sort out that desk drawer. You might even be able to (finally) justify playing Candy Crush for 20 minutes.... I said MIGHT.
Let your subconscious wander, and you'll be surprised when and where that guy in the back storeroom delivers ideas to you. I hope he turns up soon, but if problem solving is still causing you a headache, we love to crush candy ... errrmmm, I mean, creatively problem solve.
Feel free to contact us if it's online marketing that's giving you a headache. We've got a few solutions that our own little storeroom workers thought up: 09 413 7999.