Showering with Siri

A screen capture of a request to Siri on an iPhone
Oh, Siri: is there nothing you can't find?

Why do the best ideas always pop into our heads when we’re in the shower with a face full of soap? Why do the lightning bolts always strike when we’re unable to write them down? Because that’s precisely when we’re not trying to come up with good ideas.

When we try to solve a problem, our mental field of vision narrows. We focus on finding a solution, applying all our critical faculties to the task. This is useful for answering straightforward questions such as “How am I going to get all this work done?” or “How am I going to get to my in-laws’ house in time for dinner?” But because your cognitive vision is so narrow, you’re at your lowest level of openness and creativity.

In the shower, our mind flies on autopilot as we go through the motions of soaping up and rinsing off. That gives our brain – specifically the subconscious part that exists only in “automatic” mode – the ability to wander, to remember all kinds of things we forgot about, and to open up to random, creative thoughts and ideas.

That’s why I now shower with Siri.

I used to keep a miniature whiteboard dangling from the shower hook, with a dry erase marker to capture these ideas as they occurred. Now I just put my phone on the counter and shout out “Hey, Siri: make a note to write a blog post about getting ideas in the shower.”

What do you do to capture your brainstorms?

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