step away from the problem

by Joanna on June 25, 2014

Sometimes you don’t need to work to figure it out.

The amazing thing about the human brain is that it doesn’t need to be consciously thinking about things to be working on solutions.

I was a math major in college. We frequently had take home exams — some proofs couldn’t be completed in a 1 hour time window. I worked on this one proof for hours and just wasn’t getting anywhere. No kidding, I woke up at 4am knowing the answer. I scribbled down the proof and went back to sleep. When I got the test back, it was right!

I’ll sit in front of a blank screen at work trying to write a letter. The second I get to the bus stop at the end of the day, the words come pouring out. Luckily I carry a notebook with me everywhere and jot down a full letter while it’s fresh in my mind. And usually it’s pretty much good to go after that.

Moral of the story — stop worrying and focusing so much on the problem at hand. I’m sure you’ve churned this over in your brain enough already. Have faith that your brain is working on it and go do something else. The answer will come soon enough.

Has this ever happened to you?

Where could you benefit from a mental break and letting it work itself out?

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