Its often been claimed that the best ideas come to us in the shower, on vacation, or on the golf course. In an article by Susan Reynolds, she lays out concrete reasons why freeing your mind from the myriad of day-to-day tasks can unleash your creativity. It seems that our brains are programmed to work on one task at a time and to do it well. When we add more tasks, i.e., multi-task, we split our mind’s attention into too many directions and end up performing each task poorly. She gives the example of driving and talking on a cellphone:
So, when you’re talking on the phone while driving, you may think you’re paying attention to both, but you’re not. Your brain may be attending to the driving, but then when the person you’re talking to says something that needs an answer, your brain switches its attention back to the conversation and ignores the driving completely. Additionally, there’s a lag time as the brain switches between each task.
The same case can be made for other business situations such as meetings and brainstorming, where multi-tasking (tell me you don’t read your email at meetings) swings your mind from its creative state to its get-it-done-quickly state.
So, stay in the shower a little longer and engage your creativity.