The thinkin' chair

January 11, 2011

This question is mostly for the PIs in the audience. Now, I know about your trips to the coffee shop to hide out from your lab member’s quotidian interruptions that can blow your day if you aren’t careful. Not talking about that. When you are in your office do you ever sit elsewhere than in front of your computer workstation?

I need to do that more. Sit across the room with a document, manuscript, paper..or even nothing. Just sit and think quietly.

I don’t do enough of that.

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No Responses Yet to “The thinkin' chair”

  1. WhizBANG! Says:

    Until my recent surgery I frequently placed myself supine on the floor with my feet up on my chair to drain my painful, swollen legs. Hard to read in that position, and random thoughts often become naps. Also, you have to remember to close your office door, or someone may think you need resuscitation…

    Yesterday Mashable had a post on treadmill desks (can’t find link). Might be worth $2500…

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  2. New Asst. Prof. Says:

    No, but I think I should. When I was home after the birth of my daughter (who’s now 4.5 months old), I found myself thinking more creatively in some of the oddest places (never in front of the computer).

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  3. Rob Knop Says:

    At Vanderbilt, there was a couch in my office that I’d nap on… does that count?

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  4. pinus Says:

    I stand and stare out my window.

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  5. Bashir Says:

    There’s a white board behind my desk. Sometimes I will pace in font of it, jot down a few things on the board, pretend I’m Good Will Hunting. That works surprisingly well.

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  6. BikeMonkey Says:

    re: Bashir’s comment….

    Sometimes when I’m planning a new grant I take the kid’s big old roll of butcher paper and lay out a piece ~half to 3/4 the length of my dining room table. Then I start writing thoughts all over the place. I have been known to do this plotting out a paper too. My wife thinks I’m nuts.

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  7. Bike Monkey,
    I usually do the same to plan out a large experiment or lay out my thoughts for future experiments. I will also pace around in the oddest places like the dark room (in the dark, not the safest) or in break room to clear my head and think.

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  8. TeaHag Says:

    Shower, relatively safe if chilly if I fail to notice the water run out.

    Traffic, something very stimulating about letting your mind wander while you just sit there.

    I have a flaming brain picture that is pinned on the office door if I’m trying achieve a very high level of focus…. they know not to come in, otherwise my office is Starbucks Central (the tea kettle lives here).

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  9. DrugMonkey Says:

    Anyone know any good whiteboard apps for iPad? Where you can type *and* draw/ doodle?

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  10. DM, check out Whiteboard HD. You can even run it over a projector too from the iPad.
    http://ipadappcafe.com/whiteboard-hd-turns-your-ipad-into-a-powerful-presentation-tool/

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  11. juniorprof Says:

    I close the door and don’t answer knocks or phone. I also lay on the floor, like Whizbang, but for different reasons. Relaxes my back and lets me think (or fall asleep). I have a stash of those airline pillows in my office, one for under the head and another for small of the back.

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  12. I look out the window a lot. Or close the door and lie on the floor. Dept Chair invariably comes in when I’ve got my feet up on the desk and the music cranked up.

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  13. I focus best while multitasking. I do my best writing and thinking a sentence or idea at a time for just a few minutes, interspersed with e-mailing, administrative tasks, quick chats with people, blog reading, FWDAOTI, etc.

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  14. My office doesn’t lend itself to sitting anywhere else really other than at my desk. I do however turn around and look at all the pictures I have on the wall opposite my desktop that I’ve taken on various vacations and have framed. Remembering those relaxing trips to far-off places tends to help me clear my mind and focus back on the task at hand.

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  15. anon Says:

    I get the best fucken ideas and solutions to problems just as I’m waking up in the morning. They just pop into my head. I wish there was an easier (or shorter term way than a night’s sleep) to reach those moments of clarity.

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  16. Cashmoney Says:

    I thought you meant the ol’ throne….

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  17. Kaija Says:

    I’m not a PI but I do a lot of grant writing and project planning. I have always been partial to sitting cross-legged on the floor with papers and references spread out in a big horseshoe around me. I often find the floor more comfortable than an office chair (as long as it’s not COLD, like cement) and having all my papers in view (being out of reach of the computer limits interruptions and time suck as well). I like the whiteboard for getting lots of ideas and connections out in view, but BikeMonkey, I *really* like the big sheet of butcher paper approach and am going to try that one out at home very soon!

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  18. Namnezia Says:

    I have a table in my office, I’ll often switch to one of those chairs with a pad of paper and pencils and plot out papers and grants. What I really need is an easy chair, I even have room for it…

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