One of the most interesting chains of phenomena of my workday is encountering a mental block while sitting at my desk, getting up and walking out of my office, and almost immediately thinking of a way past that block. Sitting at the computer screen induces "screenertia," I've decided. The foyer to Laird Hall is the best known antidote. On three different occasions last Friday, the twenty steps to that foyer resulted in eurekas that I put to use back at my desk a few minutes later. Granted, these a-ha moments concern the best color scheme for an Excel table, a better structure for a letter of inquiry, or a definitive judgment of whether my pants match my shirt, not curing cancer.

Still, I like having these little burst of cognitive energy, and I especially like the regularity with which they can be induced simply by walking down the hall. But the trick, after having the initial brainstorm, is to take just long enough doing X, Y, or Z that the nascent idea can mature usefully, but not so long that it grows old and withers away before I can get back to my keyboard.

email: christopher at tassava dot com