The alternative to thinking all the time

David Cain shares an experience: One evening last week, I was sitting on my front stoop waiting for a friend to come over. I brought a book out with me, but instead of reading I just sat there and let my senses take in the scene. I didn’t look or listen for anything in particular, I just let the details of this particular moment in the neighborhood come to me: the quality of the air—heavy and warm, the incoming summer storm kind; birds; two couples having a conversation down the sidewalk; the clinking of dishes coming from inside…

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Why I schedule 3 hours Of “NOTT” — no outcome thinking time — every week

Mitchell Harper reminds us that it’s important to schedule time to just think. Not to do, but simply to take time to ponder what we’re doing on this journey. During my thinking time I focus on not “doing” anything. I don’t try to make progress on anything tangible. I don’t mark off goals on a ToDo list. I just sit in silence and think about things that are important or top of mind.I’m confident that the reason we all get our best ideas in the shower is because we’re not taking time to…

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The life changing magic of taking long walks

Like Craig Mod, Ryan Holiday appreciates the value of walking. He loves nothing better than talking a long stroll in the countryside surrounding his farm (pictured above … here’s hoping he usually hangs on to the stroller). Brought on by an injury, he learned that the act of walking does something for our minds that is peaceful, freeing, and productive. But it should be said that walking thoughts are usually a different kind of thought. They are not the racing thoughts of the worried mind. Or the distracted thoughts of the workplace mind. They are, as many walkers attest, more…

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The 2 hour rule

I enjoyed this article quite a bit. The author liked the habits of thinkers of old and tries to do the same thing, but rather than a daily routine (in the morning), he does it once per week. He takes 2 hours to do nothing but think. I like that idea. A lot. In the evening, I remove all possible distractions, especially electronics like my phone and my laptop, and I basically lock myself in a room to question my work and my lifestyle with a pen and a notebook. 2 hours is a long time, and some of it…

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Why walking helps us think

Walking is a subject dear to my heart. Ferris Jabr makes the case for walking above all other activities for doing our best work. He starts: What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain.And where as some physical activities require our focus, walking does not: Because we don’t have to devote much conscious effort…

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Writing to think

Susan Robertson makes the case for writing as a way to improve your thoughts. When you have an opinion, attempting to share that opinion with others in written form causes you to go through an important process. As she describes it: When I went to write up a rough post for the company blog about how I created the style guide we were using, it pushed me to think about how I define these tools. That rough post never ended up on the company blog, but it did get published as an A List Apart article. As I worked with…

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