Long walks, runs, and bike rides are a perfect place to think deeply on a vexing problem. You'll need to focus on the problem at hand, because the mind has a tendency to wander when working out, but if you can keep bringing yourself back to the issue at hand, you can gain clarity on difficult issues during these times.
- What are the variables that make up the components of the issue at hand?
- Sometimes when I have many components, I'll use the "1 bun 2 shoe" memory trick to put them into memory before I go out.
- What is the Next Step question that you need to answer?
- When your productive thinking session comes to a conclusion and you've satisfactorily answered the Next Step question, stop whatever you're doing - running, biking - and write/dictate it down. Then you can move to thinking even deeper, or to a different question.
Tips for success
Be sure to notice when the brain is distracted/wandering and put it back on track, when you start looping over the same content again-and-again and move forward.