Where do you do your best thinking?

Where do you do your best thinking?

And a bonus question: Will you back me up (or alternatively tell me I’m talking from my behind) when I say that the place you work seems to be the absolute worst place to do any thinking above the basic automatic-pilot mode of thinking?

I do good work-related thinking on the way, to work, on the way from work, and when off work. But never at work.

I do my best clever-stuff-to-do-with-computers thinking when miles away from any computer.

Why do our heads seem to be built this way? (Or is it just mine?)

It doesn’t matter where, so long as I’m walking. I can’t really think sitting down.

Same as Alessan - usually a brisk walk but as long as I’m on my feet I can do better than sitting.

Both my husband and son are people who announce that they have to think for a moment. And then they sit down and do just that. And they arrive at a conclusion. My daughter and I both think by the seat of our collective pantses. I believe that’s where the expressiion “ass-hat” comes from.

When I have a problem which needs to be thought out I discuss it with others, maybe read a few things about it, ponder it off and on during the day and then, usually after I’ve slept on it for a day or two, I wake up in the morning with my solution.

I’ve never been much of a linear thinker. Sometimes it seems like it’s more of an unconscious process. Works for me.

Unfortunately, I do a lot of my best brainstorming thinking in the middle of the night and then have trouble getting back to sleep.

Other than that, I just sit and decide to think things out and that works pretty well.

Leaned back in a chair with my feet up, while either chewing on the end of a pen or with my fingers steepled while staring off into the distance. Makes my co-workers nervous, it does.

This is Al Bundy here so of course it would be the Ferguson.
Not just a toilet… a FERGUSON. The King of bowls! …

The shower, definitely. I’d say I run down my hot water heater completely on about 60% of my showers.

While riding my bike.

It’s not a “where”, really. It’s a “how”.

When I’m working on a really difficult problem, I do it best if I can move. Going for a walk, or being at home so I can have my music on speakers and move in and out of the chair and set the washer and go to the supermarket (which doubles as a walk) and go back to the computer and use it while standing up and sort of jumping in place and…

For me, the biggest advantage to working from home is not having to “behave”!

ETA: my idea of “music to help me focus” includes stuff ranging from Great Balls of Fire to Reise, Reise. I understand most people don’t think that’s music conductive to working.

In my sleep. I can make up some explanation for it, but really if I leave my conscious mind out of it I can usually noodle a pretty good solution to some pretty technical problems. I have no idea why this is.

From time to time I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and the answer will just be there like it was left by Santa Claus.

In bed late at night.

While pulling weeds. Sometimes I’ll go out into the garden/yard with the express purpose of needing to mull things over a bit, so I grab the pruners and either start cutting things back or pull weeds. By the time I’ve been out there about 15 minutes, I’m so far deep into my Zen place that you could walk right up to me and say hello and I wouldn’t hear or notice you. And I’d startle the second you said something.

Generally, it’s mindless physical activity. I can’t get in good thinking at my dance classes because I’m laser-focused on remembering the steps or the order of the sequence or trying to hit the timing just right with the song or trying to master a new move.

Pacing around in the middle of the night in the bathroom.

Any one or two of these elements — walking, nighttime, and being in the bathroom — are conducive to quality thinking both creative and logical, but my best ideas and conclusions have always come from prolonged sessions involving all three. One night of insomnia in a Dallas hotel, spent in the can so I wouldn’t wake up my roommate, led to the genesis of the idea to which I intend to devote my life’s work. Not sure what it is about these specific conditions (particularly the bathroom part), but there you have it.

Best work-related thinking: in the car on my commute to work.

Best non-work-related thinking: during my evening walk after the kids are in bed. I could walk on the treadmill, but I like my neighborhood better. I feel less constrained, both mentally and physically.

When I’m driving wherever, except while in rush hour traffic.

Seriously, the bathroom. If I cant focus, I got sit on the toilet. Honest to god.

In food courts and coffee shops. I’ve done quite a bit of my best work in the least amount of time sitting in an Au Bon Pain or the Prudential food court sitting right next to grumpy children or drunk college sophmores talking about the Sox.

I absolutely cannot study in a library. It’s just too damn quiet for me, and my mind makes its own soundtrack. I need background noise to concentrate.

While driving. I do a 200 mile round trip nearly every weekend and I pretty much solve all the world’s problems while on the road.

Similar to me… but mine is even odder. I’m a writer and whenever I’ve got writer’s block or are typing out a quick essay or poem on a deadline, I sit on the bathroom floor and turn on the fan or run the shower. Usually the fan, but if it’s the midst of winter and super dry, 15 or 20 minutes of steamy air will help clear my mind. It’s something about the womb-like white noise of running water that really calms and focuses me. The bathroom vent fan will suffice because I don’t want to waste water. But if I’m really, really stuck, I might just have to run the shower for 15 minutes.