Self Care May 12, 2020

Friendly reminder: if you're stuck on a problem, go for a two-mile walk.

Zak Erving @zakke

I've had a half-dozen career shifts in the past 15 years, and as a result have had to adjust to new things to think about while incorporating new ways to think about them.

One thing I've always come back to is this: if stuck on a problem—be it creative, analytical, or otherwise—go for a walk. Or a run. Or a cycle. It doesn't matter. Put literal miles between you and what's blocking you. Make your brain focus on moving your body.

Regardless of whether I had been running or walking, the two-mile marker was almost always where I thought of a solution. I was able to return to the problem fresh, work on the solution, and move past it.

Pulling your hair out? Pouring a sixth cup of coffee? Skipping meals? Put it down. Take a walk.

  1. 4

    +1. A quick walk can clear up some serious mental roadbloacks.

    Always a good reminder— it's easy to forget!

  2. 2

    And if that still doesn't work (almost always does), don't fret and sleep on it. The mind works in mysterious ways... 🙂

  3. 2

    Even if I'm not stuck, I take a two mile-minimum hike/walk everyday. In fact that's what I'm off to do now!

    Kudos on the post

  4. 2

    So true! Or sleep on it if it's night time. There's been so many times where I slept on a problem only to come up with a super simple solution the next morning.

  5. 2

    Love to hear your advice. Or a quick tidy up your workplace or you house would be okay, too. Thank you Zak. I’m going for a run now. Hope to see more of your posts.

  6. 1

    I too find it very useful! It is such a simple thing to do yet so helpful and great at getting a hold on your thoughts!

  7. 1

    My old boss used to take teammates on 3 hour walks in the woods to discuss life and business. I think he found it rejuvenating for the reasons you mentioned but also the combination of talking with a teammate in a nature setting really boosted creativity in terms of idea generation in a way that could not be matched somehow from office settings. This is a great post!

    1. 1

      I wish I had a forest to walk around in…that sounds really nice.

  8. 1

    agreed - best ideas can come when you don't expect them to, or dont force them.

    that's what happened to us at REJUVIA (rejuviamedical.com)

  9. 1

    There was a twitter thread recently where a dev needed this advise.
    And it works. always

  10. 1

    So much this.

    Big pitfall for me, I will often try way too long and then get frustrated/stressed that my brain just can’t get to the solution.

    Literally stepping away is the best approach.

  11. 1

    Great reminder @zakke. Always good to reassess while getting some fresh air.

  12. 1

    Great reminder. It works. Enough said. Thanks!