Thinking is hard work. If you’ve ever been stuck on a big problem or had to work through taxing meeting after meeting where you had to be at the top of your game, you know what I’m talking about. Heck, just think back on how exhausted you were after final exams at school. Thinking is hard work.
While there’s a lot you can accomplish with effort when it comes to thinking, sometimes taking a break and getting some rest is your best bet. This is particularly true when you’re feeling stuck. Our mind is an interesting creation. It works on two different levels, the conscious and the subconscious.
Much of our day to day thinking is on the conscious level. You decide what you want for breakfast, and you think about watching a movie before going to bed. You think at work, at home, and everywhere in between. These are the thoughts you’re aware of.
Then there are subconscious thoughts. Think of them as background processes that go on while you’re thinking and working on other stuff. You’re not aware of them, and frankly, the only time they make it into your conscious is when ideas pop up.
I’m sure this has happened to you before. You’re busy cooking dinner and the perfect way to phrase an offer to a new client pops into your head. Or how about this? You’re about to drift off to sleep, and the perfect solution for your living room organization problem pops into your head. These are subconscious thoughts making it to the surface.
This is why giving your mind some rest by going out for a walk, getting some extra sleep, or putting around the house or yard can be some time well spent. When you’re feeling stuck, stop thinking about the perfect answer or solution. Go do something else, ideally something that doesn’t involve a lot of hard thinking. This frees up space for your subconscious to go to work. And it will surprise you with the creative and out-of-the-box ideas it can come up with. All you have to do is give it space to work, and then listen when the solution presents itself.
Ready to give it a try? Slow down your thinking and start moving. Get some air and stop trying to force the solution. Walk away and let your subconscious get to work. Go play with your kids, hang out with your spouse, meet your friends at the bar and just give your mind a rest. It’s one of the best things to do when you’re stuck. You may not be actively working on it, but trust me, your subconscious is working all the harder for it.