Leave, take a break, just go. Go see a movie, go for a walk, take a shower, grab some food. This is the step where you let your unconscious mind take over. When you engage in motor-centric activities, your cerebral cortex is stimulated in ways that trigger other parts of your brain to fire and communicate. This indirect stimulation of your brain helps “suggest” other possibilities and connections that a more direct approach couldn’t have achieved.
What you do when you go is not nearly as important as whether do it. You’ve probably heard the legend of Sir Issac Newton resting in the garden when an apple fell on his head and then boom, the theory of gravity. However, when he was asked how he discovered his theory, he said, “By constantly thinking about it.” The apple story is a perfect illustration of what the mind needs when we are doing the work of “constantly thinking about it” – a break. A change in scenery and perspective.
Most of us don’t need a list of things that we can use as distractions from our work. But there are a few rules we should follow when it comes to WHEN we use them.
1) Don’t quit too soon.
Stick with it. Make sure you push through to your mind’s “second wind” before you hit the reset button.
2) The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.
Don’t let your distractions and entertainments interrupt you when it’s not their turn for your brain’s attention. If you give them your attention at the wrong time, they won’t be as effective at the right time.
3) Physical not mental.
Make sure your distractions are quotidian – motor activities somewhat mundane and second nature. Mowing, running, showering.