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Where do you go to think and work?

What are the places (other than your home or office) where you go to get things done? 

Michael K
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I walk along the coast. I do my best thinking when I'm walking.  My lunch during the week is a 45min walk and on the weekends I walk at least one of the days. Without this, I would be useless....well...diminished at the least ;-)

Dan Sickles
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

When I really want to get things done, especially designing or thinking through persistent problems, I go to the nearby sauna. It's the perfect place to think without interruption, while relaxing at the same time. And best of all: my client understands the importance of getting into 'the zone' and allows me to write these hours as work hours !!!

Eric Hop
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Swimming pool for me, nothing like lane swimming to put one's mind in neutral.. ommmm.

Before I quit teaching judo due to injuries and that, the judo mat also used to be a great place to have the answers to problems pop into my head. Again: ommmm!

Or theres this great little "country" pub a few hundred yards walk from here... just don't drink too much.

Robert Moir
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Out to the garden. An hour of weeding makes a fine background for thinking about architectural issues.

Mike Gunderloy
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Never underestimate the power of the Bathroom Epiphany(TM).

Malachi Brown
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I used to have the most incredible ideas while mowing the lawn. New inventions, new software ideas, new business ideas, story ideas (I have a degree in playwriting also).

There's something about walking back and forth over and over again in your own yard with the steady rumble of the lawn mower engine that takes your mind to other places. It's very odd.

Benji Smith
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I solve all problems on the toilet, no shit.

Ben
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

An anecdote:

One of the developers at our office carts off one of the company's technical books every time he makes a trip to the john. I'm sure he does some incredible thinking in there, but the rest of us shudder to touch any of the books.

Get in. Get out. Think somewhere else for pete's sake.

Benji Smith
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

lying in bed when i'm trying to go to sleep.  it's where i've made most important decisions too.

Christian G. Warden
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I used to work with a guy, a very devout christian, who claimed he prayed to Jesus for the Answer, and "by golly" it would come to him, and he was a pretty good developer so it must have worked.
(This means you if you are reading this Steve)

Daniel Shchyokin
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Lace on the running shoes and head out through the park under the dappled shade, or along the clifftop path above the crashing waves. That's what I do.

Hugh Wells
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

It's interesting how many of these 'places to think' are actually places to 'emty the mind.' Perhaps it's more important in life to not think than to think.

;) <-- note humourous winky face.

Mark W
Wednesday, April 17, 2002

I think in the bath. Very long baths with lavender flavoured bubble stuff in it.

I think it's the utter lack of anything to distract me.

Anywhere else, there's something going on to distract me or sidetrack me. The actual work I seem to get done in bed on a laptop, which is probably why I don't sleep very well, but if I work anywhere else, I get distracted again.

Katie Lucas
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Despite the winky face, I think Mark has a serious point there. I do my actual thinking at my desk, at home as well as at work (consider this boring if you like :-) ). But when I am really stuck with a problem, I sometimes find it is best not to actively "think" about it at all, but just relax and focus on something different and let the subconcious parts of my brain take over.

Solutions come to me in sleep (I actually dream them sometimes, other times I just wake up and know what I did wrong the day before) or when talking to others (not about the problem, just chitchatting away). The bathroom works well, too. Or just boiling new tea in the kitchen.

When I started to work as a professional programmer, I learned so much in such a short time that I actually got the impression that I could feel my neural cells connecting in new ways and open new thinking patterns constantly. I guess this is what happens still when I just relax and a solution appears in my mind. (this sounds rather crazy and maybe I should not post it, but on the other hand, if you think I am completely nuts, who cares? :-) )

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Personally I prefer being distracted in bed, rather than at the office, each to their own.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, April 18, 2002

simon - i was going to post to ask whether being "sidetracked or distracted" at work included reading posts about women in bubblebaths but thought better of it.

nope
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Oh, for heaven's sake!

[See, this is why people should prefer hiring girls as developers. We don't have to stop working every thirty seconds to think about sex...]

Katie Lucas
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Yes, too rig...mmmm girls...ht, Kate.

Robert Moir
Thursday, April 18, 2002

sorry, KatIE. *sigh*

Robert Moir
Thursday, April 18, 2002

I go swimming but I do'nt think while I do it, usually I swim until I am physically tired and mentally relaxed. After that my mind can sometimes work out stuff on autopilot.

Tony
Thursday, April 18, 2002

"this is why people should prefer hiring girls as developers. We don't have to stop working every thirty seconds to think about sex...] "

that's true.  women are better at multitasking than we men :-D

nope
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Ben - "I solve all problems on the toilet, no shit"

...which rather begs the obvious question - where do you shit then?

DB
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Knitting is another good mind-emptying activity.  Simple stuff that you don't need to look at a pattern, done with good wool that feels great running through your fingers.  And socks, hats, or kid's stuff can fit in a backpack outer pocket for a knitting break in the cube.  Plus you end up with nice stuff to give people (or yourself).

P.S. I have a lavender scented bath oil I like.  I've never checked to see if it is lavender flavored as well.

Mary K.
Thursday, April 18, 2002

DB: 'Ben - "I solve all problems on the toilet, no shit"

...which rather begs the obvious question - where do you shit then?'

It doesn't beg the question so much as it scuttles about desperately trying to avoid it.... :^)

JP
Thursday, April 18, 2002

I think that we're saying any familiar, comfortable activity that doesn't actively engage the mind in thought (except to control bodily functions like pumping the arms for swimming, or breathing if you're sitting in the bath).

I have to agree with this. I remember once, as a child, there was a tremendous snowstorm and I was stuck in the house for 3 days. I enjoyed it tremendously because I knew that there was no other place for me to be.

There are times when a world of no options is much more enjoyable than a world filled with options - you're working towards a single goal (get to the finish line) and not making a lot of decisions.

Mark W
Thursday, April 18, 2002

I think in the shower. It's something about the rhythm of water pounding on my head.

Sleeping on a problem also does wonders.

tangram
Thursday, April 18, 2002

Walking or bicycling between home and work.

Christopher Wells
Thursday, April 18, 2002

tangram: "Sleeping on a problem also does wonders"

...unless you're an airline pilot and the landing gear won't go down!

DB
Friday, April 19, 2002

I do some of my best problem solving in my sleep. The problem with this method is there is no "cut and paste" available. :-(

Marshall Harrison
Friday, April 19, 2002

I'd say running, or just going outside and walking around, gives me some good peace of mind to figure things out. And if for some reason I can't get out to work to do that, I've found juggling to be a great way to clear my mind, and let the rest of my brain get to work on the problem. 

It seems I can't be too productive at home, in general. Too many distractions going on, so I get too preoccupied to let my mind just blank out.

Joel Mosher
Friday, April 19, 2002

Hmmm. Alone. No distractions. Comfortable. Engaged in physical activity (or not). Quite a trend emerging. Perhaps they should offer a course in 'brain clearing' in college. Cycling, Swimming, Juggling. Let your mind concern it self with baser activities it usually takes for granted. Some sort of reversal - when your conscious mind is working on things that are normally subconscious, then you subconscious mind can work on things that your conscious mind works on.

I also see a strong trend in "not home and not work" as in not places that you have strong memory associations with, unless those associations are with relaxing or "mindless" exercise. It reminds me of the advice for insomniacs - don't do anything in bed but sleep there, you'll start to associate it with not sleeping.

This thread would be almost the same on a musician's bulletin board or artist's bulletin board. Clive Barker writes from 9-5 every day. He paints because he wants to immerse himself in a "world without words."

Maybe if programmers took up painting they could be 100% effective - working on code problems at the easel, working on art problems at the computer, or would we need a third activity to get away from both of them!

Is it just me or is his freak weather making the pollen count in NY skyrocket. ACHOO!

Mark W
Friday, April 19, 2002

"Perhaps they should offer a course in 'brain clearing' in college."

reading scott adams' "joy of work" the other day, in which he said:

"creativity is a matter of pushing bad ideas out of your mind so new ones can flow in. [...] unless you're a monk with ten years of meditation training your mind isn't capable of being empty"

so you're not the first to think of it, and it certainly seems to hold water. next time my boss finds me lying on my back in my office staring at the ceiling i will tell her so :) though perhaps thesnoring will give me away ;-)

nope
Friday, April 19, 2002

I never claimed to be original...

MarkTAW
Friday, April 19, 2002

> next time my boss finds me lying on my back in my office staring at the ceiling

PHB :- "What are you doing?"
nope :- "I'm thinking."
PHB :- "Can't you do that at home, instead of here?"

Christopher Wells
Friday, April 19, 2002

Into my imagination

www.meditainment.com

A Traveller
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

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