The Tumbling-Around Space in My Head

June 21st, 2008

Anyone who has talked to me for any length of time knows that I am nuts about bikes and cycling.  Getting out regularly is incredibly important for my mental as well as my physical health and well-being.

It helps in my work too.  I realized today that I have puzzled through a remarkable number of work problems out on my bike.  Being in the office involves so many distractions that it can be hard to find time to think straight through one topic for very long.  Once I get out on my bike I usually end up rolling around one idea for a while in my head, thinking it through from a lot of angles.

I’m not an especially fast thinker on the bike.  Traffic, stop lights and navigation all take pieces of my attention.  Somehow that helps too, perhaps because those distractions are transient compared to the demands of multiple long-attention-span projects I face while sitting at my desk.  I let an idea bounce around a bit, set it down to focus on getting over a certain hill, then pick it back up.

Sometimes I get lucky and it seems like the idea has kept tumbling on its own and some new angle appears that I hadn’t considered before.

I find this all fascinating.  Some problems can’t be muscled through.  They just need time and quiet space in my head, and then the path to a solution start to lay itself out.  Cycling is how I make that space.  It sure beats lying awake at night stressing out about them.

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  • sounds like those are billable hours, chief.

  • sounds like those are billable hours, chief.