If you’ve ever had some of your best ideas in the shower, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a survey from NFI Research, many people say they do their best business-related thinking while they’re at home.
More than half (58.3 percent) of senior executives and managers say they are most effective in personal thinking about business while in their home, according to the nationwide poll of 223 senior executives and managers. The next most effective places for business thinking are commuting (49.8 percent), the office (44.8 percent) and during brainstorming sessions (37.8 percent).
The reason business people do their best thinking from home or while in the car can stem from a number of issues. For starters, while at home or in the car, many people complete routine tasks that require little thinking. So, while you’re taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and sitting in rush-hour traffic, your brain has a chance to wander — and possibly land on your next big idea. In addition, when businesspeople are in these locations, they’re not very likely to face much criticism, other than their own. As a result, ideas that might get shot down immediately by a co-worker have a chance to develop when people are alone with their thoughts.
According to the survey, the times that most businesspeople find their thinking to be most effective are between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. (59.6 percent), followed by times before 7 a.m. (30.5 percent), and between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (28.3 percent). The next three most-selected times for effective personal thinking are between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (26.9 percent), after 8 p.m. (26.0 percent) and during the weekend (25.1 percent).
In fact, the time that executives are at work proves to be the worst for effective thinking. According to the survey, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. is the least effective time for thinking for the majority of senior executives and managers. This is also the time that’s the least productive for executives and managers, based on an earlier survey by NFI Research.
“With increased workloads and long workdays, businesspeople are forced to focus on the physical work while at the office and save the thinking for other times and places,” said Chuck Martin, CEO of NFI Research.
Knowing that some of the best thinking comes during non-work hours, learning professionals might consider developing e-learning programs employees can complete at any time from any computer. That way, employees will have the option of completing the latest course offerings at whatever time works best for them. That could mean doing an e-learning course at midnight for night owls or at the crack of dawn for early birds.