Tolerance break

There's a lot to be said for disconnecting and being in a comfortable environment.

Tolerance break
Photo by Mike Tinnion / Unsplash

I'm one of those people that does my best thinking in the shower. If you're not one of those people: trust me, there are dozens of us.

There's a lot to be said for disconnecting and being in a comfortable environment. You start to draw connections between ideas, leading to thoughts that feel like breakthroughs; you also realize the ways that you can be proactive and not let things slip through the cracks. I have a whiteboard in my shower, and I inevitably end up with a couple of things that I'll immediately transfer from the whiteboard to my todo list.

The beauty of this mode of thinking is that it provides a stress-free environment to be proactive in every aspect of my life: my day-to-day work, my outside-of-work projects, my home life, and other dreams and aspirations. This type of planning is one part of the foundation that allows me to make sure I'm covering all my bases; that I have a strong grasp of what the future might hold.

A few months ago, I wanted to see if I could emulate this productive, creative zone without having to take more than one shower a day. This turned into what I call the tolerance break:

  • Get to a physical place where I know I won't be interrupted
  • Disconnect from notifications or other devices
  • Have some way to draw mind maps (pen and paper, or iPad with Apple Pencil)
  • Sit down with no goal; just think for ten minutes
  • After that, set aside five minutes to translate my scribbles into tasks

I try to set aside time for a tolerance break at least once a day. (Try being the operative word here — if I had to guess, I'd maybe succeed every other day.)

If you give this a try, I'd encourage you to be flexible; what works for me might not work for you. I hope it turns into another one of those tools that helps you succeed.