My Secret to Research Success

As I mentioned before, I was on sabbatical in the spring.  I was more productive than I expected to be, which was a pleasant surprise.  I found that almost all of my breakthroughs came when I was doing the exact same thing:  putting my children to sleep.  I would spend roughly 30 to 60 minutes each night in the dark with one of my kids, either lying down with them or walking with them.  Since I had to be quiet, all I could do was think.  It was during these times when I figured the most out.


I am about to read Cal Newport’s new book, in which he advocates the power of thinking while walking (among other things).  This seems related to my experience of putting my kids to sleep, particularly when I was walking in circles trying to get my daughter to sleep.

2 Responses to “My Secret to Research Success”

  1. David Clark Says:

    I basically can’t think (in a research sense) *without* walking. It’s an incredibly strong link. My wife likes to make fun of me for it, because sometimes I just can’t sit down!

    • bretbenesh Says:

      You should have told me this earlier! Actually, I remember talking about walking and thinking with a friend in graduate school, but then I kind of dismissed it. I am going to start trying to make it a regular habit (although I might hide it from my wife so she doesn’t make fun of me).

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