Back from a vacation?
In today's reading "Back from a vacation?", David Rock, founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute and CDO of Results Coaching Systems, reports on research indicating that we are more likely to solve really difficult problems when we have a fresh or quiet mind. Specifically the research points out that when faced with a new problem we apply strategies that worked in prior experiences. This works well if the new problem is similar to an old one, but is far less likely to work if there is little relationship between the two problems. What happens is that the older solutions get in the way, stopping any thoughts toward better solutions for the new problem. And, thus, the need for a quiet mind when we face difficult issues.
Now, when we return from vacation, our minds are usually quiet as the brain circuits for solving the problems we encounter at work have become less dominant. This means that new answers to tough problems are more likely to emerge into our minds when we haven't thought about a problem for a while.
Too often we waste this precious resource by jumping headfirst into the piles of materials that have accumulated while we've been away. So, when you return from your next vacation, take those first days back to work on the most difficult problem you have pending instead of trying to play catch-up.
Rock says: "Value this resource [your fresh mind] highly. It may be your only chance to see the mountain you are on, to decide that you are taking the right path up, or even if it's the right mountain to be climbing at all."
. . . . jim
EXTRA: Gina Trapani, author of Upgrade your Life and founding editor of Lifehacker.com, takes this one step further in her Fast Company article Do Your Worst Task First (Or, Eat a Live Frog Every Morning). Recognizing that a good night's sleep will take you back toward that clear, fresh mind, she argues that you should tackle your your highest priority task first. Trapani describes this task a bit differently (but we mean the same thing): "Do your worst task first. By 'worst' I mean 'most important,' and by 'most important' I mean the task you're most likely to procrastinate on." Told you, it was the same thing!