Everyone needs creative ideas all the time to solve tough problems in life, both personal and professional. One of my ex-colleagues, a voluntarily retired Indian Army General, said quite often, that he got his best ideas when he was at three B’s. I never asked him about what those were, but by looking at him, I had believed one of them must be “Bar”.

However, I could relate it to one B for myself, and that is Bath! I got numerous creative ideas while having a bath. I must have implemented several of them and got rewarded. It’s not a novel idea at all. Humanity would be thankful for that great bath when floatation was formulated by Archimedes. It does not require great skills either. You should have a bunch of gnawing problems in your head and the ritualistic act of bathing sets your mind free to wander and you start getting creative ideas.

When I was doing my MBA a few years back, I was badly looking for a small organization to do an academic data science project on their data. I was breaking my head to find someone who would trust me with their data. A mini-eureka moment came in when it occurred to me that my brother has had his own radiology diagnostic center running for several years. He had not done any special effort to collect the data, but the computerized radiological machines had recorded loads of data anyway. Problem solved! We ended up making a wonderful project for his center!

I am sure every one of us has such stories to tell. One hitch though I am sure we all would face is we might not be able to recollect all the small or big ideas we had come up with, once we return to the daily grind. It feels terrible when you had a great idea and later you did not recollect what it was.  A deliberate effort might help and I am sure it’s worth it!

  • Most of us carry smartphones inside the bathroom. We should rush to the phone and enter the ideas before even stepping out of the bathroom.
  • Let’s say you do not want to get the phone in the bathroom, you should keep it as near to the door as possible. As soon as you step out, you should enter all the new ideas.
  • If you are good at generating mnemonics, possibly you could make one as you keep getting ideas to remember them till you capture them into your device.
  • It’s necessary to have a single known place to collect all such fleeting thoughts. There is a dime a dozen mobile apps for this purpose, but we need a lightweight App that does not take you on a tour, just to add an item to your list. Google Keep is one such app that fits the bill, for its simplicity and power.

Feel free to do the Archimedes “on-street” act also, if you really get some earth-shattering idea, but for all others, be content by entering them into your listing App, for eventual implementation.

Once you are aware of the power of this habit, you could even cheat your mind by deliberately pushing it into a topic of your interest, before a bath! How about bathing with that frog before eating it!

Of course, you don’t have to stop at just one B. Extend this habit to your own other B’s.

(Originally published in The Times of India on April 9, 2022)

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