I think better during my runs. Often I’ll save difficult decisions or problem solving specifically for my morning runs. Once I get about 10 minutes in I will work back around to the problem or situation and let the ideas flow.
Sometimes it’s figuring out how to approach a sticky situation such as dealing with a difficult person at work or working out some teenage daughter stuff. The key for this kind of troubleshooting is to have a one-sided, imaginary conversation where I’m saying very witty and maybe not so nice things to this or these persons. (if you see me running and I’m making strange faces and muttering to myself, I’m probably “arguing” with someone in my head). Then I grow up and figure out a way to work with the situation in a calm and rational manner. By the end of the run I’m not as angry or frustrated or annoyed and I can move on.
The work stuff has been on my mind a bit so again, I hit the road and let my mind wander. Then I can more easily figure out a better way to build our widget or to market said widget. Often I’ll get back from my run and jot my notes down in an email to my “work” self titled “while I was running”. That smarty-pants thinking will hold on for a while so if I’m in a meeting, and have run earlier that day, I’m much more likely to comment or provide some ideas.
Then sometimes I just need to get my day in order. Like you, I have a lot of balls in the air at the same time and need to figure out how fit it all in. Those early morning runs helps me prioritize from A-Z. The things that don’t make it on the list (like laundry or cleaning) can be done another day.
Of course, not everything can be solved or figured out during a run. Some really tough things require wine, chocolate and a night out with good friends. But for the most part, it’s the running.
Now go run!