How to reduce stress and capture those creative thoughts

A couple of weeks ago I woke up from a dream where I had found out the ultimate design for the next generation of Projectplace. It was so amazingly simple and awesome. At least I felt so. I told my self that I should sketch it down the very next day at office and laid my head back down, snuggled closer to my wife – and slowly returned back to deep sleep. The morning came and… Well. I did remember that I had some great ideas. But, I couldn’t remember the ideas. And that wasn’t the first time.

For some strange reasons my brain always have a fight with me when it’s time to go to bed. I say to my self that I really need to sleep, but it won’t let me. Instead it always continues in an even higher speed – solving problems, remembering those small meetings I have to attend tomorrow but forgot to write down and promises I’ve made during the day and then forgotten.

The morning after I know that I had to do something and that I had a thought on how to solve a problem. But it’s all gone. And now enters the dreaded stress. Was it something important? It must have been. What was it?!!!

I’m sure most of you have experienced the same feeling. I’ve read a study that there actually is a lot to the old saying, “Let me sleep on it”. According to the study REM Sleep enhances creative problem solving, and also helps achieve such solutions by stimulating associative networks, allowing the brain to make new and useful associations between unrelated ideas.

So how do we capture those ideas and plans for the coming day – and also reduce the stress by using those great ideas and solutions we made during the night?

Placing a notepad or bunch of post-its next to the bed might be the best you've ever done!The answer is a really old analog solution – known to many creatives and freelancing writers – a notepad and pen at the bedside table.

When you wake up with that brilliant idea, just grab the paper and pen and jot or sketch it down. Then you may rest your head on the pillow again. You will be amazed on how often it’s a really good idea on that sheet of paper the next morning. Sure, it may not be the perfect solution, but a new perspective or a way of solving your problem that you normally wouldn’t consider. Your brain is more creative when you’re sleeping.

Why not an iPad or iPhone? Well, sometimes a sheet of good old paper is just more easy to use, and it really is all about quickly jotting your ideas down while you remember them. Struggling with setting the screen brightness or opening your preferred app and then start a sync to your cloud service takes… some of that instant thought-capture away.

So, try it! Capture your nightly ideas and reduce your stress over lost ideas and forgotten things to do!

 

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