There is a lot of evidence to show that the best way to solve a problem is to give it a little space and go and do something mundane instead. I have always instinctively done this, well before I knew about the research. As a Buyer, I was known for disappearing in to the sample room to unpack boxes or rearrange the shelves when I had hit that creative wall.
In the last year or so I have discovered how the combination of a bit of space and a sketch book in my bag at all times is a great one. As a student, the words please present your sketch book with your final design would fill me with dread as my rough sketches are quite scruffy and I hated people seeing them. It probably inhibited my ideas a little as I would work slowly, trying to keep it all neat and tidy and probably loosing a few ideas along the way. My sketch book is very scruffy now and that is the way I like it, ideas are like helium filled balloons, you have to grab them quickly before they float off, no point trying to make one idea look perfect if it means you have let go of a couple of others.
I have noticed recently that Wednesdays have become quite prolific in producing new designs and I put this down to the space theory. Every Tuesday after school I take our son for swimming lessons, I have an hour of mundane tasks (cooking tea, washing up etc) before I have to take him on the 20 minute drive to the pool. Once there, there is nothing to do for half an hour whilst he is swimming so I started taking my sketch book with me. Whilst the other parents are chatting I sit quietly on the floor sketching out ideas or making notes - concentrating on the things I have been avoiding - its amazing what can come out of just half an hour doodling as you can see below - my scruffy sketches and then the finished products they became.