Deep Work and Deep Thinking While Running | Running from Christmas |

Angel tree decorations

Angel on Christmas Tree

It was time to put the Christmas decorations away

I know what we’re all thinking, wow, that went fast. You’re no sooner getting the ladder out to go to the loft or attic to find the Christmas decorations. Like most, I think, the hardest part about putting the Christmas decorations up is getting to beyond the stage of I’ll get the ladder out tomorrow and then I’ll go up to the loft or attic and bring them down. Of course once you’re suitably tooled up and kitted out with ladder and torch then the fun begins. You can then start looking for the Christmas decorations.

Holly Ivy Spin

Holly and the Ivy Spin

It should be easy

They should all be where you left them last January. All the Christmas decorations should be in nicely labelled boxes just calling out to be liberated and cheerfully festooned. Well, that is in some homes. In mine the Christmas decorations are never where they should be. I wouldn’t mind but it’s invariably me that puts the Christmas decorations away. I’m not going down the conspiracy route but on many a long run, and even more so in the period leading up to Christmas I do wonder about the Christmas decorations and there seemingly magical journeys. By November, when Christmas, is all but upon us I’m keyed up ready to tackle that loft and return triumphantly with the Christmas decorations.

Well this year was no different

I made it to the loft in early December, after much procrastinating, and spent a good while looking for the Christmas decorations. Eventually I remembered that someone was to label the boxes clearly to make location easier. Needless to say this year I am going to label the boxes in large luminous letters if possible.

After an early morning run this week

I realized that I couldn’t put off putting the decorations away. Still in running kit, lest I got sidetracked I got the ladder ready and waiting. No excuses for me about looking for ladders. No I was ready. Well and truly prepared. I would like to say that it was a task I was looking forward to but there’s something slightly sad about putting away Christmas decorations. It’s another year passed. Another year over. It’s like a marker. How many more Christmases will I have? Or mores to the point, how many more times will I have to climb up into a loft to find Christmas decorations that don’t wish to be found that will be returned all to begin again.

My Christmas playlist was playing on my headphones

I’d had quite a long run and I seemed to have dropped into another playlist while retrieving the ladder from where it had been dumped in pre-Christmas decorating euphoria. That was next on my job. Time to delete my Christmas running playlist. I usually create a playlist in early December, and listen to it a few times before familiarity settles in.  It often makes a return and final appearance on Christmas Eve morning  when I try to go running really early as to get ahead of the day and feel even more worthy than most. Who wouldn’t though? There’s a lot to be said to be running on a Christmas Eve morning while many are sleeping it off or dashing off to the shops.


I spend quite a lot of time running

And quite a lot more time thinking about running, and even more time thinking about why I’m not running more. Of that time while I’m running I’ve often tried to optimize that time. How many times can I listen to the same piece of music? Although there’s something to be said about a familiar inspiring piece of music in the early dark hours as your feet are plodding along trying to find a pace, as you wonder why you don’t just get on the treadmill and sleep more. I’ve tried listening to all types of music, various podcasts, plays, and even mixes from my video production work. Sometimes I just run with no music or distractions. I tend to do this particularly when I’m going on a trail, muddy footpath, or cross country. I listen out for all the country sounds and silence that early morning promises.

Holly Berry Knocker

Holly and Berries with brass knocker

I wouldn’t like to say how much time I spend running

But this year I’m going to try make the best of that time. I’m going to try to use it to work. Well to work on problems and workflows while I’m running.  I read Cal Newport’s Deep Work last year.  Cal Newport is an associate  professor at Georgetown University. He has written several books including “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”, and “How to Become a Straight A Student”.  Cal seems incredibly busy and yet seems to get a lot done. Deep Work promotes the idea of focusing and not be distracted. Perhaps, a breath of air in this world of multi tasking.

Plans, Ideas, Concepts,

Cal talks about using your mind while running or walking to work over ideas, plans, and concepts. But not in an ad hoc fashion. Cal Newport explores the idea of deep focus and not allowing your mind to trick you into easy answers so you can move on to the next problem or idea. The brain can throw you a quick solution just to shut you up. The trick is to keep going and not let your brain sideline you or , indeed, fool you into an easy solution.  Deep Work is well worth a read and is also available on audible books. , and for Kindle .Of course if your listening to Deep Works while your running how are you thinking through your problems or solutions? I tend to listen to audible books periodically when running and more so if I’m short of time.  And who is to say that you can’t listen to some music, some podcasts, some plays, some audible books, and have some time for your own problem solving?

knitted teddy tree

Small Teddy on Christmas Tree


of what you listen to or don’t listen to as long as you make it out there for a run you’re doing something right.

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