Day to day I often have to figure one thing out or another. If you ever see one of my desks, you'll notice strange objects all over them. I have a logarithmic potentiometer (dual channel of course) here at home. A piece of tek flex sits here as well. At work I have a rubber band and a momentary switch button.
All of these things keep my hands busy. I never really thought about it that much before, but I have a lot of trouble thinking if I don't have something in my hands. When I'm typing, I feel really productive, as if I'm getting a lot done. But when I'm planning or thinking, I'm not so productive in terms of work output. I think subconsciously my brain starts to get upset and lose track if I'm not feeling productive. So while I'm thinking, I have to be messing with something in my hands to keep my brain happy.
Walking away is an amazing way to regenerate. I can't tell you how many times that just walking away fixed the problem. And not just walking around the hallway, but doing something else, non programming related. I'm sure there is some psychological thing going on here where you're able to think more clearly because those thoughts are the back of your mind. Like when your sleeping - you can solve many more problems. I think my best ideas, and most complicated problems are solved while sleeping. This is why you should always have something to write with and write on near your bed. Something that isn't a 9.7 inch LCD screen. I prefer a whiteboard. I have one above my bed.
Currently on my whiteboard are some scribbles of how to translate a 2d square in 3D space using css3 transformations. I plan to incorporate that into openJS Grid sometime. So... Look for that lol.