Hackernoon logoSolve a problem by not working on it. by@mikefettis

Solve a problem by not working on it.

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@mikefettismike fettis

It’s 3:30 am standing holding my daughter, my t-shirt has puke on it from the 7pm feeding.

Daughter finally falls asleep I hand her off to my wife. And go to sleep. But can’t sleep. That thing that happened earlier the day before and all those other things the week before. They crept into my head and I’m wide awake 4:00, 4:30, 5:00, all roll by and I’m wallowing in it.

Crap I can’t sleep this is horrible that was horrible all of this is horrible.

It’s sooo easy to keep piling on the horrible instead of just not.

Just looking at it differently. Change your perspective. Be flexible. Shake things up and look at it upside down.

Sure I’m not sleeping now, but I got some sleep, and the baby is asleep.

Instead of wallowing in bed mourning the inability to accomplish something. Get out of bed go work out. Start actually doing something that betters the situation. I’m not sleeping but I am solving a different problem, and I am bettering myself in the process.

It may not be the thing that was bothering me or the root of situation. But move on to another problem. Now I have all this time before work to myself to work out to think and to write. The glass is now half full, it is a simple flip but at least I can go through the day tired and already worked out, than just tired.

Cool, I’ve got a few hours to get stuff done instead of ruminate on all the bullshit from before. Maybe I can solve one of those problems from before instead of just stewing on it. This may not always work and may not work for every problem but instead of piling onto the problems or wallowing in the inability to solve one, drop it, move on to something else and get back to that other problem some other time. Changing the scenery and letting the brain background process might actually result in a solution to that other problem. Or it can mean getting something else done in the process. Either way it is pretty win win.

While inevitably you will need to sleep sometime, This type of problem solving I have found to be incredibly beneficial elsewhere. If I am stuck on a problem for too long my mind focuses too hard on everything that I have done before, I get into a “blinders” situation where I can’t see any other solutions and the problem become insurmountable. Let it rest let it steep and come back to it with a fresh set of eyes. The solution may present itself, if it doesn’t well at least something else was accomplished in the process.


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