I just could not make any progress on my project. Every attempt I tried was a dead end. I jokingly told my coworker, “That’s it — I’m going for a walk. Watch me have the answer when I get back!”
“Riiiiight,” my coworker replied sarcastically.
After the lessons learned from rewiring a transmission and my bleeding gums, I am starting to take more frustration breaks. At work, I enjoy taking walks around the building for small problems, or around the block for big ones.
This is what I call walking for solutions.
While I was out walking, I passed my boss’s boss in the parking lot. He asked what I was doing. I said, “I’m walking around so I can solve a problem.”
His response? “We should do that more often!”
There’s something powerful about taking frustration breaks — that is, stepping away from difficult problems. Just a little distance — mental or physical — clears away the fog. I like walking for solutions because it combines the two with an excuse to go outside.
And often the solution comes to you before you get back to work.
I can link my productive days at work with the number of breaks I took.
Hmmm. Powerful, isn’t it?
Your non-conscious brains have an incredible ability to solve problems with just a little bit of distance.
But you will only spin your wheels until your conscious brain takes a hike.
PS – Believe it or not, I did actually figure out the solution to my problem before I got back to my desk!
Are you more productive when you take breaks? Instead of walking for solutions, what do you do to solve frustrating problems?