A cork board pinned with a yellow note with a light bulb drawn on it

A sudden moment of clarity, inspiration or discover! 

That's the Eureka effect, also known as the Aha! moment 

They often feel like flashes of insight as they generally happen when your mind is no longer focused on the problem. When we set a problem aside, we may no longer be physically working on it, but the problem may still be incubating in our minds. This incubation period has been known to promote creativity and problem solving.

So how do we encourage an incubation period to occur? 

Well, my best ideas often come to me during a hot shower, or when I’m gardening - but these options aren’t always available. 

Firstly, you need to get frustrated 

In order to incubate an idea, you must fully explore the problem. Work on it until you’ve reached a standstill, and are probably feeling frustrated. This is now the perfect time to move on to something else - allow your brain to subconsciously ruminate on the puzzle.

Allow for incubation periods 

When planning out your day, schedule some mundane activities for this incubation period in between important work. When you’re working on a task or problem continuously, you may become fixated on previous solutions - the same ideas keep coming up!

When you feel yourself at a lost, or stuck, take a break from that task and complete one of your mundane or easier tasks. Ensure this task is not related at all. 

When I plan my day with Llama Life (see below) I often add mundane tasks in between key goals I have for the day. Moving on to something else entirely different may provide the incubation time for clarity. It also ensures I remember to bring in the washing... 😅

Llama Life task manager showing a digital timer and a to do list against a sunset background

Eliminate potential distractions

Removing all possible distractions (or ways I may procrastinate) such as colleagues, the TV, your mobile phone etc, may help to provide your mind space to think without constraints.

Find new muses for inspiration 

Another method to encourage an incubation period, and potentially a eureka moment, is to seek for inspiration. This could be different for everyone. But whatever it is, it will leave you feeling good. Maybe it’s calling your Mom, chatting to your toddler, visiting a museum, going for a swim, or baking a cake.

Maybe it's just around the corner 

At times when you’ve worked on something until the nth degree, it can be difficult to accept that you haven’t figured it out! Don’t let this frustration get to you - take it as a sign to let it go, do something else, and who knows...?

Maybe a eureka moment is just a shower (coffee date / drive / dance / phone call / or art gallery) away!

Neon sign against a dark brick background saying This Is The Sign You've Been Looking For

A tool that may help is Llama Life - give it a go for calm, focused productivity! 

A llama wearing sunglasses with text Llama Life is the most fun you'll have with your to-do list