I have to say that Peter hit the nail on the head when he decided to take a vacation from the news and everything else that was being pushed at him. (See Information Overload) One of my dearest friends is a very prolific inventor. He is Dr. Berok Khoshnevis at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. He has come up with more solutions to more problems than you can imagine. and he's done it by spending time alone with his thoughts For example, his most recent invention is Contour Crafting, a robot that can build a house in 24 hours. Imagine being able to rebuild a community destroyed by earthquake or put up low-cost housing when a hurricane strikes, or even build places to live on the moon! Berok believes that to open your mind to new ideas, you have stop bombarding yourself with trivial information. Turn off that cell phone; take those iPod ear buds out, and just sit quietly, letting your mind free associate. Berok keeps a notepad with him all the time, even by his bedside, but often his best ideas happen in his dreams and he wants to make sure he captures them before he forgets.
Other famous inventors like Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japan's most prolific inventor (the fax machine, magnetic paper, the synthesizer, among hundreds of other inventions), also find ways to be alone with their thoughts. Nakamatsu, for example, swims under water for extraordinary lengths of time until he comes up with an idea. He also has both a calm room and a dynamic room to stimulate creativity. It really doesn't matter where or how you spend time alone with your thoughts. The important thing is that you do it. If you're always being interrupted by people and information being pushed at you, chances are you'll never reach your creative peak. Try spending five minutes alone with yourself. I'm betting you'll enjoy it so much that you'll find ways to increase your time. Today is my birthday, so I'm going to go spend some quality time with my thoughts and see what I can come up with!