My Corner of the Web

Shower Thoughts: The Power of Daydreaming and the Science Behind It


Do you ever feel lost in thought during a warm, soothing shower, only to realize you've spent too long there? Well, you're not alone. I've had my fair share of marathon showers and even resorted to setting timers to keep myself in check. But let me tell you – these shower thoughts are more than a guilty pleasure. They've become a crucial part of my creative process and can be valuable for you too.

Why Shower Thoughts?

You might be familiar with hammock time. Those moments of relaxation and idleness give you space to recharge and zone out. For me, that's "shower time." Something about the soothing flow of water stimulates my brain. It connects parts that might not otherwise interact. This enhanced connectivity feels lovely. Abstract thinking feels much more accessible. I can think through new software architectures, product strategies, communication approaches, and more. All while in the shower!

My Routine

Here's how my typical day goes: I wake up, hit the gym, and get my kids to school. Next, I open LogSeq and Fantastical to see what's on the agenda. This glance plants the seeds for my shower thoughts. After a (not-so-short) refreshing shower, I grab my phone and jot down the emerging ideas. Then, back at my desk, I check these notes. Sometimes, they're gibberish, but other times, they offer insightful or exciting perspectives. I have phoned a friend more than once while dripping web to babble on about some "eureka" I've had.

The Science Behind Shower Thoughts

So, am I crazy? Yes, but not because of shower thoughts. The science behind these thoughts lies in the brain's default mode network. A 2008 paper by Randy L. Buckner, Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, and Daniel L. Schacter goes into detail.
I learned that when you shower, your brain tends to enter this default mode. Showering is an automatic, routine task that needs little conscious effort. The lack of action allows the DMN to activate as your mind wanders. You introspect, daydream, or reminisce about past and future events. My wife sometimes says I'm robotic about my routines. I'm sure that explains why I slip into this state often. I'm stubborn about my everyday commitments.

Embracing Daydreams

These shower thoughts might seem trivial, but they can stimulate creativity and innovation. So please don't dismiss it the next time you daydream in the shower. Instead, embrace the moment. You may discover a groundbreaking idea or solution to a problem nagging you. Remember to have a way to jot down those thoughts before they slip away.

Oh, and try not to use up all the hot water!

A New Perspective on Daydreams

It's time to give your daydreams the attention they deserve. Shower thoughts could be the key to unlocking your next great idea. So indulge in the shower, and let your mind wander. Remember to share the bathroom with your family or housemates!
P.S. I'm using all my shower time lately on FForward, a GPT-powered decision log. You should sign up for the waitlist!