Thinking requires strategy and lots of practice to be truly effective, if you practice thinking daily you might be surprised at the results. Our brain is a complex neural network that is constantly firing up signals and learning, it produces thousands of solutions per hour and these solutions lead to thoughts, ideas, decisions (good and bad) that result in real world actions.
How to think effectively
Think outside the box
Identify the parts of the problem and rearrange them in different ways, even if at first they don’t make much sense, this could lead to interesting outcomes. During this process, do not judge your ideas, let your mind do the talking.
Close your eyes and make an effort to visualize the problem and ways to solve it, rearrange ideas in your mind and identify the main pieces of the puzzle. If this proves difficult, grab pen and paper, start sketching ideas or write some notes.
One part of the creative process is productivity, staying productive keeps your mind busy and active. Productivity leads to better problem solving which leads to a healthy brain. Just make sure you don’t get stuck performing the same routine daily, throw your brain a few curve-balls or it will get bored.
Combine ideas and thoughts.
By now you should have enough ideas, sketches or notes of your own to recombine them into new solutions. Also try combining old ideas with fresh ones, this doesn’t always work but it can produce interesting results.
Although this may sound counterproductive, making connections between ideas and items that have nothing to with each other (even if the results make no sense at first) trains your brain to go beyond the limits of logic and reason. One example of this is sleep, when we are asleep our brain comes up with illogical ideas that do not make sense once we wake up, the brain does this naturally, which explains why sometimes our dreams are all over the place and we don’t notice immediately, yet our brain never runs out of material.
Fail and try again
The idea of thinking seems effortless but not everyone knows how to do it effectively, thinking takes effort and some people even get headaches from thinking too much, in reality our brains works like a muscle, the more you use it, the better it gets at doing its job. When you fail, move on, focus on your thought process, take note of your progress and enjoy the results.
Distract your mind
Taking time off from the problem can lead to good solutions. When our mind distracted, our brain sometimes works on the background. Go for a drive, watch an episode of your favorite show or simply sit outside doing nothing. Anything that you find relaxing will recharge your batteries. So don’t forget to give your brain a break between sessions and get back at it.
This is a general structure of my creative process, you have to find what works for you, the best location, the best time of the day and ideal situation. Find your own method and fine-tune it.