Deep Thought and Extreme Value Creation

Hi all,

Since the start of COVID, I've tried to make a habit of going for a daily walk. I've experimented with it in all sorts of ways, i.e. taking a long walk home after dropping the kids at school, walking in the evening, after dinner, or just before bed. I find that the most useful walking time, for me at least, is mid-morning, after I've had a chance to review my schedule for the day, take care of small tasks, and start the wheels turning on what's ahead.

The walking time is often incredibly productive in terms of thinking through problems, composing documents or articles in my head before I sit down to write them, or finding that ideas just sort of bubble up and come to me. I remember seeing Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon, talk about the importance of keeping time on his calendar specifically for thinking. Not writing, or planning... just thinking, and there's definitely something to that.

An aside, a lot of tasks that might "look" like working, are more about capturing thought. For example, mechanical CAD is really slow for design work. Pencil and paper, (or even better, cardboard and duct tape!) is much better for that. The CAD model is just for capturing those ideas in a formal, rigorous way.

So I have the daily walk blocked off on my work calendar, every day. Someone asked me about it once, and I felt a little funny defending it, so I decided to rebrand it. It no longer says "walk," it now says "Deep Thought and Extreme Value Creation."

I think that better reflects what's going on.

best regards!
Sam Feller

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