What does your head do when it’s in neutral?

In a random follow up to my ramblings on typing with your eyes closed a while back I’m seeking the answers to further important questions.

A good friend of mine Janet made an interesting observation to me awhile back about what our minds get up to when not otherwise engaged. As it’s not possible to actually think of nothing (the act of thinking about nothing is still a thought isnt it? *headache incoming*) our minds must have some kind of neutral state that keeps the engine ticking over whilst your head isn’t in gear. (My friend also refers to this as your head being on “standby”.)

Personally my head’s standby is similar to listening to the radio, when I’m not thinking about anything in particular my head is constantly playing music, like my own personal premium Spotify account in my head. Apparently what’s even worse for my work colleagues is that I can often end up humming or singing this music out loud without realising it. I once managed to annoy a few people when I inadvertently spread The Muppet Show theme like a rash through the building. (Ditto the music from the Viewers Gallery on Hartbeat.)

What does your head do when it’s in neutral? Do you have dancing babies ala Ally McBeal? Does your head sing like mine? Or perhaps there is a jingle that is always in your head ready to pop out when you let your guard down.

FYI I am not crazy, you all do this, you just don’t know that you do. So fess up and tell us what goes on in your head when its on standby.

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3 Responses to “What does your head do when it’s in neutral?”


  1. 1 Tom McCallum August 11, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Interesting thoughts.

    For many years, my head rarely went “on standby”, whenever it was “in neutral” I’d find myself thinking of ways to, as Chris Brogan puts it, achieve Escape Velocity.. to be my own boss, run my own business etc

    Was never unhappy with my job, far from it, but it was never MY business, with MY decisions.

    Now that I have achieved escape velocity, my mind does go on neutral a little more… but it is still a rare thing for me. The difference now is that what jumps in is stuff that, increasingly is what I enjoy seeing jostle for space “front of mind”. Whether that be blog ideas, new thoughts to help clients, new concepts, ways to make a difference in my various volunteer guises ? I have no problem with that stuff crowding out “neutral”.

    • 2 Kelly Forbes August 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing Tom, interesting that you say it’s a rare occurrence for you. Do you never feel like switching your mind off for a bit?

      (So I guess I’m the only one who hears the music to “Murder She Wrote” when working on a new blog post then?)

  2. 3 rhinoglamour September 3, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    I do tend to hum (sadly tunelessly) when I am relaxed and concentrating. I also have a capacity to sing two lines from almost any song, but no more as I can’t remember lyrics very well.

    There are songs that appear to me for specific activities: I like driving in my car, when driving, for instance. Normally quite bad songs though.

    I don’t particularly have a down state mentally, unless I meditate A LOT.


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