Generating Ideas to Design a Logo
I normally dedicate an amount of time to gather information and looks that I've already had in my mind since reading the project scope or listening to the client's problems for me to solve. I also look at competitors if any to see how the bar is set for artwork and logo design. This honestly should take about 20-30 mins because since you read the scope or listened to your client you've been thinking about the project and working things out in your subconscious.
Say a client emails you at 9:00 AM Monday morning needing a logo with specifications and he also included a few attachments for reference and inspiration. You exchange emails throughout Monday and decide on a price, you mostly won't get to work on the project right as you receive deposit (which you always should) do not whatsoever agree on a price and not get a 50% deposit up front. This I can write about later on...so here comes Friday or Saturday and you finally decide to work on the logo you agreed on Monday...
You've had an entire week of thinking of this project when you're driving, when you're in the shower, when you go to the store and look at packaging and other related items, when you see a certain color scheme that spikes interest, when you do pretty much anything (even taking a crap) you're aware that you have this responsibly to design an awesome piece therefore your subconscious will gather information and at the end put the pieces together once you get to Illustrator...it's awesome.