Recently I’ve found myself regularly embarking on a brisk afternoon walk around campus. Those of you who know me know I’m a bit of a ponderer. When my wife needs a decision from me, often my response is: “Let me think about it; I’ll get back to you.” I’m the same with research—I often get completely lost in deep thought while I’m sorting something out. For a typical programming problem, I may think about it for an hour, and finally write the code in five minutes. For me to work well, I need time to think.
These short walks have been an awesome productivity booster for me. I can enjoy some fresh air, get alone with my thoughts, and engage some mental cycles on the problems I’m working through. It may look like wasted time, but it’s just the opposite. When I get back to my desk, I feel more awake and focused, with a clearer perspective into what I’m working on. Often I find myself antsy to get back and try some idea I’ve had.
And there is an added bonus this time of year: some beautiful cold weather in Atlanta.