I can’t recall the last time a really good idea came to me when I was sitting in my office trying to think one up. I don’t think it’s ever happened. Maybe I’m not in the right frame of mind for it to occur. Or there are too many interruptions. Or I’m focused on hitting a deadline. Whatever the case it just hasn’t happened for me.
Where I get almost all of my best ideas is while I’m driving, taking a shower, going for a walk, traveling or while reading a book. It’s probably because my mind is blank and I’m not thinking about anything in particular. I’m not trying to solve any problems or deal with any issues that need my immediate attention. Consequently my mind is roaming all over the place and occasionally a really good idea will just pop into my head unprompted.
What is consistent is that I’m relaxed and under no time pressure to do anything quickly.
Consequently my mind is unencumbered by distracting thoughts and this creates a fertile
environment for that spark of inspiration that hopefully turns into a new (and good) idea.
It’s best to not try and limit the flow of new ideas or the quantity of them. You can always filter them later. Instead encourage them by finding some creative time to sit and reflect. Even seemingly off-beat, uncommercial or just plain silly ideas can sometimes be useful as a small part of them may be manipulated, beaten up and turned into something valuable.
Your best ideas will probably come to you when you least expect it. In my experience that is when my mind is open and liberated from every day thoughts and time pressures. Oddly for me that has occurred many times while I’m belting out a loud (and off-key) rendition of a Guns and Roses song in the shower…
So when do your best ideas come to you?