I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes to sit down with a coffee and a notebook and just think. To let your mind wander, albeit with some deliberate direction, is a joy. And I’d say a necessity. In this world of ours right now where everything we could possibly want to find out about is available at the click of a mouse button it’s reassuring to know that our own minds are still able to do our own thinking.

Those who have worked with me over the years will no doubt know that my mid-morning thinking break with coffee is quite a strong habit. It’s not one I intend ditching anytime soon either. Whereas years ago I might have just taken a notebook with me now it’s my smartphone and iPad too. The variety of inputs we can get from the web and social media can be overwhelming but at the same time if we filter and manage what we keep an eye on it provides a myriad of stimuli for our thoughts. Well that’s my view anyway.

What I’ve never given up on though is taking a notebook with me. For me it’s a plain paper notebook as that, I think, helps with doodling, mind-maps and anything else. It doesn’t prevent me from writing lots of text if I want to but I find that if I use a notebook with lined paper that freedom of thought seems to be constrained somehow. Maybe it’s just me but I find that the lined paper is almost asking to be used for writing lots of text and not for the more creative mind-maps I use all the time.

There’s another aspect of sitting down with a coffee and notebook that I’ve found interesting and that’s the feeling of flow that develops, for me at least, after about 45 minutes. In this moment, often on my second coffee, the ideas just tumble out. Capturing them in a notebook is straightforward but it’s difficult to keep up. Using a laptop or even an iPad would be so impractical (maybe the new Apple stylus would help, I just don’t know).

We all have our own ways to take a break and think things though. Whether it’s in a noisy coffee shop (I prefer quiet ones), at home or anywhere else, the ability to capture in the roughest of ways my thoughts and ideas is just a natural way of being for me. I was going to write ‘way of working’ there but for me it’s more than work, it’s simply part of me, and always will be.