Are You Stuck? Better Wash those Dishes or Dirty Clothes!

    March 20, 2017

    Have you ever been stuck in a rut and that there seems to be no solution? I have been and because I often juggle a lot of things, I always get stuck.

    Luckily, I get out of these situations with epiphanies from doing the mundane, mostly just by hand washing clothes.

    Does it sound familiar? Haven't you wondered or asked why do we find answers or ideas while doing the most mundane things?

    The Incubation Period

    According to research, our brains often exhaust all possibilities when we fixate on a problem. We tend to touch all grounds without really focusing on it. 

    Therefore, when we do mundane tasks, we tend to step back from the problem and the work that it entails. The time we don't think about it is called incubation period. 

    Taking a physical break that is unrelated to your work or problem is one of the best things to do during the incubation period. Doing a linear activity is one of the greatest ways to achieve incubation. 

    During these moments, our brain, specifically, our brain is incubating ideas or the process itself in our unconscious. So, by the time we step back into the process, we tend to find new ideas or even solutions.

    Choose Your Task Wisely

    You have to choose the activity carefully. It has to be consistent, engaging, and the period must not be too long or too short.

    Engaging here doesn't mean it has to be enjoyable. It's a chore and nobody really looks forward to doing it, but it has to be linear and physical to relax our minds.

    Honestly, there's no right or wrong action really. However, it's important that our brain has the right time to process and create meaningful connections with the ideas that we already have.

    You can be pooping, washing the dishes, or cleaning your backyard. The important thing is to clear your mind from the problem or work for the connections to just happen.

    Don't Force It

    Don't force your brain to come up with great ideas or solution. According to John Kounois, a psychologist, “not having an explicit task is the main ingredient for random insights." 

    It's important to just let the moment flow. Seriously, this may sound ridiculous, but I don't think about it at all when I decide to do my laundry. 

    We don't have a washing machine here, so we hand wash our clothes. Days before doing this task, all I think of is how many pieces of clothes should I wash. When I get to the task, I just don't think about anything at all. I just rub, rinse, squeeze, and hang. 

    And in between these mundane actions, I get something; a phrase, a word, an idea, that just solves one of the riddles I have for weeks. That's it, but be careful. Sometimes, the ideas just come rushing and flowing, and at the end, you won't get a hold of even one.

    How can I Record My Ideas?

    Kuonois adds that just keep your recording tool, may it be pen and paper or your phone, at bay but never think about it. Well, f you've prepared these tools, you'll be obsessing on when you can use it.

    So, it's better not to have anything with you while doing your chores. And when the idea hits you, that's when you find the tool to record it. Let your mind wander as it'll surely arrive in that Eureka moment. 

    Have you ever have had a Eureka moment while doing mundane tasks? Did it really work? Share your thoughts!

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