Schedule Your Thinking
Tom Kelley and David Kelley in Harvard Business Review:
“Schedule daily 'white space' in your calendar, where your only task is to think or take a walk and daydream. When you try to generate ideas, shoot for 100 instead of 10. Defer your own judgment and you’ll be surprised at how many ideas you have—and like—by the end of the week.”
It sounds silly to schedule time for daydreaming, thinking or taking a walk, but if you don't schedule it, it won't happen.
I know that if I schedule a few hours in a meeting room at the library, I can usually write a few posts and even plan a project or two. If I don't schedule it, none of that happens. I will respond to email, clean, get groceries - literally anything but create something worthwhile.
There's always something or someone pulling at my time, with perfectly good reasons. But, if I want to accomplish anything, I need to put an obstacle (and some distance) between myself and that obligation.
As for the second part, generating ideas, it works. James Altucher popularized the notion of coming up with 10 ideas a day - 20 if your struggling with 10 (just come up with lots of bad ideas and stop being a perfectionist about it). It's now a part of my morning ritual, which is also scheduled.