I discovered, recently, that I do the same thing when I'm on the phone. The act of clicking on cards keeps me tethered, instead of pacing, and my thought processes can stick with the caller a lot better.
One morning, quite early, I realized I'd fallen into a pattern of checking email, then Facebook and then would play a round of Spider. While I played, my mind was reviewing a project that I needed to think through. And, everyone who knows me well, knows that I talk to myself. So it went. I was talking my way through a thorny issue that needed to be resolved in a fair, but firm way. The card game seemed to keep me focused.
My best ideas, as you regular readers know, come while I'm soaking in a bubble bath, but if I migrate to the bubbles after a session with computer solitaire, I've discovered the badly needed breakthrough comes to the surface a lot faster.
As a reading specialist, I employ a comprehension technique known as the Directed Reading-Thinking Activity. I think that for myself I've developed the Solitaire(y) Distraction-Thinking Activity, the ultimate problem solver. Figuring out how to snip thorns while engaging in a "solitairy" activity kind of eliminated the guilty pleasure of wasting time, but to suddenly discover that it has a genuine use is pretty darn convenient!
Give it a try. Let me know if you can empty your mind and let solutions come to you in that way.