Do you get brilliant ideas in the shower, or is that just me?

Feb 15, 2023

Last week I was in the shower and I was struck with a brilliant idea to collaborate with a friend's company on an upcoming retreat. A few days after that, I had a vivid dream that led me directly to the solution for a problem I couldn't solve earlier. And just today, I was out for an unplugged walk and I had the best idea for a project I’m currently working on! Does this ever happen to you?

This has been happening to me more and more; I'll have these creative ideas most frequently when I don't have my phone, my AirPods, or any other distractions. When I've carved out time for a tech-free break, I'm doing something active or playful, or even when bored. This time last year, I was really struggling with my relationship with my phone and my ability to focus. I found myself filling every moment of spare time with checking my phone. And I felt extremely frustrated with my work. 

As I reflect on this recent boost in creativity and focus, I think I can attribute it to two different things that I've spent a lot of time working on over the past few years. First is the work I've done on creating clarity around my values and my purpose, and then aligning my daily actions with that vision. And second, is my commitment to unplugging more often and prioritizing rest & play.

There have been a lot of times when I’ve struggled with feeling unfocused, unmotivated, stressed, overwhelmed, unfulfilled, and confused about what I should be doing. I believe being dialed in on these two things, actions aligned with my values/vision and unplugged rest/play, has revived my ability to focus and drop into a flow state. And I feel a huge boost in my zest for life, my creativity, and the joy and fulfillment I experience on a daily basis.


The best thing I did for myself was to get extremely clear on something I call my SOUL CODE. Which is a combination of my core values, my purpose (passions, skills, and contribution), and my vision. I spent time simply getting to know myself and understanding exactly who I want to be and how I want to feel as I move through the world. I got clear on what the best version of me looks like, and what my unrestrained dreams and desires are for the future. This clarity and connection to my Soul Code acts like a compass or navigation system to lead me toward where I want to go. You might know your Soul Code as your intuition, your inner knowing, that gut feeling you may have, or even a little voice inside your head. When I’m presented with a difficult decision, an opportunity, or an uncertainty, I intuitively know what the right decision for myself is. 

Discovering your Soul Code isn't just a one-and-done activity, I need to revisit it almost every day. It’s a compass that I check each morning to keep me oriented toward my vision. Every year in January I spent a few hours journaling on this topic (I host workshops on this too!) and I refresh my core values, my purpose statement, and my vision board. Then I keep these hanging somewhere I can see them every day! This daily reminder allows my daily choices to be aligned with my Soul Code, act with integrity, and walk the talk. When my actions align with my values and vision, I always feel more ease, energy, joy, and fulfillment. For example, I worked on a project last year which involved a lot of time behind a screen, emailing, recording content, planning, and marketing and I dreaded every minute of working on this project. There was so much resistance, I never felt motivated, and it was really hard for me to focus. This project did not align with the greater vision I have for my life. It was a goal I thought I should chase because I saw other people doing it. On the flip side, now I am putting all of my energy towards projects that deeply align with my Soul Code, and I feel on fire. My day-to-day actions are nearly identical, I spend all day behind a screen, but I am fueled by a much deeper sense of purpose. And I actually find it really difficult to put my work away, because I love what I am doing so much. It's not effortless, but there is an ease and a flow that I've never felt in my work before.


Digital minimalism has allowed me to rebuild my fragmented attention span. I feel like I can finally FOCUS! I've shared a lot about the journey of breaking up with my phone, check out this post for more. While all the traditional tips, tricks, and hacks we’re necessary guardrails, the things that really moved the needle for me were to replace phone time with more fun time, reclaim boredom and moments of solitude throughout my day, and prioritize unplugged rest. 

The first thing I did was understand why I couldn’t get off my phone. Yes, there is a multi-billion dollar industry trying to steal your attention through strategically designed tactics to create uncontrollable, addictive use. But there's also a deeper level of discomfort I’m avoiding or comfort I am seeking by uncontrollably checking my phone. I examined what aspects of my phone were keeping me hooked, and then I figured out how to tap into that in a more analog way. If I enjoy Instagram because it makes me feel connected to others and creative and I can laugh at funny videos, then maybe instead I can chat with a friend in real-time or be silly with my dog. If I check my phone because I'm bored and I want something to keep my mind occupied, then maybe instead I do a sudoku puzzle or practice playing the ukulele. If I check my phone because I am avoiding or procrastinating a difficult task, then maybe I can break up the task into something smaller and more manageable or revisit my vision board or positive testimonials that I've received to give me that push and motivation I need to do the hard thing.

Then the most impactful thing I did to reduce my screen time was to actually spend more time having unplugged fun. True Fun involves elements of connection, playfulness, and flow. But fun is very subjective, and I needed to rediscover what I found to be fun. For me, the common themes are sunshine, beaches, mountains, music, movement, adventure/risk, and extroverted energy. So intentionally scheduling my days and weeks to have more unplugged connection, playfulness, and flow naturally shifted me out of the craving for scrolling.

The next step was then rediscovering boredom. And being bored kind of sucks, it's like being hungry before dinner. It's not a very pleasant sensation, but it's also not life-threatening. No one has ever died from being bored. Constantly checking our phones has robbed us of our boredom. But when we are bored and allow ourselves to experience solitude without stimulus, our brain engages in the default mode network (DMN), also known as the imagination network or constructive mind-wandering; this is when we connect disparate ideas, solve our most challenging problems, clarify our identities, self-reflect, create personal goals, and outline the path necessary to achieve these goals. Boredom and solitude have the power to give clarity, creativity, emotional balance, and the moral courage to follow that clarity. 

Reclaiming these little pockets of solitude throughout the day is a powerful tool to optimize rest and recovery and boost productivity. Research shows that our upper threshold for peak performance in any given burst is about 90 minutes, after which our performance begins to deteriorate. The only way to return to peak performance is to shift gears and take a true rest break for 15-20 minutes. This can range from taking a nap, practicing Yoga Nidra (NSDR), going for a walk, staring out the window, eating a meal, washing the dishes… NOT reading the news, checking email, or scrolling social media!!! The key is to take a break before you get distracted or burnout. I promise you will return to your work with renewed energy and attention.

I now embrace boredom, solitude, and true rest breaks throughout the day in really simple ways! I keep my devices out of reach when in motion (walking, commuting, riding an elevator, going to the restroom) and while waiting (in line, in traffic, for a friend, or for a meeting to start). And I intentionally spend time unplugged while doing routine activities (cooking and eating meals, doing dishes, cleaning, walking, working out).

Over the last 8-10 months, I’ve rediscovered true fun, befriended boredom, reclaimed solitude, and reintegrated true rest. Every day I carve out time for myself to live unplugged and do things without my phone. I started with just taking walks without my phone which evolved to taking 20-minute breaks after 90 minutes of work which often aligned with taking walks, eating lunch, or doing some housework. Now I practice a digital sunset and sunrise, where I put my phone away an hour before bed, and I don't check my phone again in the morning until I've had an hour to myself to be creative instead of reactive. This was challenging at first, but with practice and consistency I was able to rebuild my tolerance for boredom and solitude and that has rewarded me with greater focus, energy, and creativity!


Investing time in clarifying my Soul Code (values, vision, purpose), taking aligned action, breaking up with my phone, and consistently unplugging for rest and play has improved my life across all layers. I have never felt so dialed in with my focus, energy, creativity, joy, and fulfillment. It's possible to feel an ease and flow and excitement towards your work!

It just so happens my next two retreats are focused exactly on this!

Alma Ser | May 21-27 | Lagos, Portugal

The Alma Ser experience, or Soul Being in Portuguese, is specifically designed for women in healthcare who are constantly pouring themselves into others instead pour into themselves. This immersive, transformational experience will help you destress, develop consistent wellness practices, and integrate mindfulness into daily activities. All while enjoying adventures in nature, nourishing meals, immersion in the local Portuguese culture, and creating deep friendships with like-minded women. Slow down, rest, relax, and enjoy!

Unplug & Play | March 24-26 | Onna, Okinawa 

Do you feel easily distracted by your digital devices? Unplug & Play is your opportunity to disconnect from technology and retreat to a stunning beachfront villa to reconnect with soulful movement, healthy food, playful connection, and nourishing rest. Spend an entire weekend with no one else to take care of, totally focused on YOU. Leave feeling replenished, detoxed from your phone, and more deeply connected to your true self.

Photo by Seth Doyle on Unsplash

Let's keep in touch

Sign up for my newsletter to receive new blog posts monthly!

Read more on the blog

Rest, Retreat, and Recharge: The Seven Types of Rest and the Import...

Do you get brilliant ideas in the shower, or is that just me?

Vietnam Travel Guide

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal N...