Stare out the window
I used to be against this sort of thing.
I'm a bit of an all or nothing person, so being focused on the task at hand used to mean taking in information, reading stuff, drawing, absorbing more information, and then producing/creating the task at hand. But I didn't always allow enough staring time.
Maybe school ingrained it in me that staring out the window was a bad thing to do. It showed you weren't concentrating, so should be punished for it.
I used to get very frustrated with my creative partner Mark (actually I still do, but that's another blog - sorry Mark!). All because whenever we'd be given an advertising brief and the background information, then had a chat about a possible approach, I'd be getting straight on with the work, and he'd be staring out the window.
But the more creatives I've met - from all fields and sectors - the more I've heard them say that sitting with a problem while staring out the window is actually invaluable.
There's something about windows that invites the wider world in. We get to look at the bigger picture. The whole world outside. The sky and the universe beyond. The buildings and their foundations that go deep underground. The people inside with their own thoughts and concerns. Others passing by on their way somewhere, or coming back. The landscape, trees, plants, or a beach (if only! But hey, maybe that's your reality).
Whatever you're looking at, it all has its own seen and unseen life - its own cycle or pattern that's carrying on all the while you stare at it. Deep.
Me (impatient): What you doing?
Mark: I'm thinking.
No-one should be told off for thinking. Or more accurately, daydreaming.
Because that's what's going on - you're taking your mind off the matter at hand, allowing the unconscious to process it all. Maybe you're taking direct inspiration from what you're seeing out the window, maybe not.
Whatever. This is the time when the brain takes a rest from being filled with information and is starting to make sense of it all. Beneath the surface, it's making connections. So while you're looking at that woman at the bus stop trying to sort out her weekly shop, or wondering why that cloud is shaped like something rude, you're allowing your brain to make new and unexpected associations with the information you've just been feeding it.
Though I still suspect Mark's thinking about what to feed himself at lunchtime.