I live by the 80/20 rule.

Spend 80 percent of your time doing and 20 percent of your time thinking.

This rule has been critical in helping me reach my goals; but as life has gotten busier, the 20 percent has become 10 percent has become 5 percent. I've got so much "doing" to do that I'm having a harder time achieving the "thinking" part.

Which is why I love showers.

Does that sound weird?

Maybe not to the millions of others who also "take the waters" to rejuvenate their brains. According to a study by cognitive psychologist Scott Kaufman, 72 percent of people experience their eureka moments in the shower. Just ask Warren Buffett, who dreamt up his $5 billion investment in Bank of America while he was taking a bath. Kaufman found that, around the world, people literally hop in the shower to generate new ideas. (Less surprisingly, he also found that women take longer showers than men, by about 6 minutes.)

The reason is pretty straightforward: standing in an isolated, safe, and relaxing place allows your mind to wander, which encourages more creative thinking, and--voila!--new ideas. For those who'd rather not waste water, going for a stroll at dusk or a drive around the countryside accomplishes the same thing. I can't tell you how many ideas I've had washing the dishes (although I don't recommend that as the best way to relax).

We recently asked other accomplished CEOs how they get their best ideas, and none of them said "at their desk." The desk is for "doing"; the outside world is for thinking. Watch and see what Jack Welch, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mellody Hobson and others do to create that "eureka" moment. And after, please tell us in the comments below how you get your best ideas.

Published on: Dec 6, 2016
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.