How I Do All That I Do, Part Two

In Part One I wrote about exactly how I juggle so many things. Part two is about my thought process, because that’s where everything begins.

When I say I am always thinking, I mean it. Unfortunately, the circumstances under which I do my best idea-generating aren’t always ideal for remembering said ideas, and the places you would think I could come up with some great stuff aren’t so thought-friendly.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to be thinking all the time like I do. In fact, I often find myself green with envy over those efficient thinkers out there, the people who can come up with an idea and then, when they have to move on to something else (like sleeping, for example), they can just let it go until later. Thinkers come in many different varieties. Unfortunately, the makeup of my genes indicates that what seems to work best for me is to think non-stop and become borderline obsessive about everything. Wait, I take that back. I ALWAYS cross the border into obsession. (Sorry, Jim.)

To give you an idea of how my mind works, here is a list of my favorite places to brainstorm with myself, and why they may or may not be ideal.

In bed
Thought flow: excellent
Advantages: I’m laying down; Can focus 100%
Disadvantages: Keeps me awake; Difficult to remember ideas in the morning even after jotting down key words on bedside pad of paper in the dark

In the shower
Thought flow: excellent
Advantages: Warm water is very helpful when you’re trying to let your mind drift, can focus 100%
Disadvantages: Too cheap to buy one of those notepads made especially for the shower; Too lazy to get out and write things down on a traditional notepad and then climb back in; Water eventually gets cold

While mowing the grass
Thought flow: excellent
Advantages: The noise of the lawn mower and the music I’m blasting in my ears provides enough noise to make me believe that all of my ideas are genius-quality; I get a workout
Disadvantages: No notepad available, which means that by the time I finish the lawn, what I can remember of my once-brilliant ideas becomes half-baked

While ironing
Thought flow: very good
Advantages: Can keep pad of paper nearby for recording of brilliance; Jim doesn’t have to wear wrinkled clothes to work; I can watch tv while I iron-think
Disadvantages: I can watch tv while I iron-think

While driving
Thought flow: very good
Advantages: Open sunroofs on sunny days have been proven to enhance brain power (sounds good, anyway)
Disadvantages: Cannot write ideas down while driving; usually tempted to call someone to discuss idea

While making dinner
Thought flow: good
Advantages: Notepad is readily available; Access to unlimited snacks
Disadvantages: Easily distracted by pots that are boiling over and family members passing through

While working at my computer
Thought flow: satisfactory
Advantages: Can type up ideas as they come to me; Internet availability means I can research idea viability instantly
Disadvantages: Easily distracted by shiny Facebook posts; Cannot focus 100% because I am more than likely doing four other things at once

What’s interesting to me is during the time I’m at my computer–which is where I execute most of what I do–I have the worst time concentrating. It would be great to have some kind of machine that could silently take dictation on my thoughts while I’m snuggled under the covers in bed.

Wait, that’s a great idea. I’m going to work on that.


  • Liz

    Guess what I got for Mother’s Day? A digital voice recorder thing-a-muh-gig-y (no kidding) for just an occasion if I ever DO get a real good idea 😉

  • Karen (@mom-mom-mom)

    Love this — I always have stories rolling around my head at the most inopportune times. Mostly driving and sleeping. Was seriously thinking of getting a recorder thingie. And then a secretary to type it all up so I am not distracted on the computer!

  • Ally Bean

    I think that all creative people have ideas rolling around inside their brains. The trick is to capture the thoughts and save them in a safe place until you’re ready to use them. I lean toward, but am not obsessed with, David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It’s a bit of a cult classic now, but his basic ideas for keeping track of thoughts are great. Just a thought.

  • Patty

    I agree with the in bed and shower ones. I cannot concentrate on the computer either. Today’s exercise in just being me is reading only my favorite blogs…not from the reader but just from googling the titles. I’m actually enjoying a morning where I have not logged in to Twitter, Facebook or the Goofle Reader.