I think most people have one top idea in their mind at any given time. That's the idea their thoughts will drift toward when they're allowed to drift freely. And this idea will thus tend to get all the benefit of that type of thinking, while others are starved of it. Which means it's a disaster to let the wrong idea become the top one in your mind.
I suspect a lot of people aren't sure what's the top idea in their mind at any given time. I'm often mistaken about it. I tend to think it's the idea I'd want to be the top one, rather than the one that is. But it's easy to figure this out: just take a shower. What topic do your thoughts keep returning to? If it's not what you want to be thinking about, you may want to change something.
The shower is when I come up with the most elegant solution to a problem that I've been struggling with. In the shower I figure out the best algorithms, the simplest way to store data, the best way to write an email I've been avoiding, the best tactic to negotiate something.
Does this mean that u need to get dirty more often, to found an excuse to wash yourself more often?
Whatever is your job, once in a while (quite more often of what you could think) STOP! Take a deep breath, jump outside the box, change your point of view and let your mind flying... you'll miss the big picture otherwise.
1. Leave your desk
2. Do nothing
3. Crucial insights arise when we least expect them