My apologies

I apologize for not posting more. I have a ton of posts in drafts but not the time make them into readable posts. Having read through most of the drafts, I have come to a decision that I have to split off some of the posts to another blog with a slightly different focus.
Watch this space for more info or subscribe to have updates sent to you.
Again my apologies.

Solving Problems Means Taking a Break

Often a complex problem can get you down. If you are solving this as a team, it'll probably get most of you down. So what can you do when you realize you are in a room with people who realize they are looking at doom in the face? Absolutely nothing. This is probably the best time to take a break. How long depends on the time you have left. You are tired, stressed and running out of ideas. It is time to step back and take a break. Either go out, take a walk or get something to eat. Talk about something else other than the problem or work.
Contrary to what people think, if we care about something enough, the brain will continue to think about it even though we do something else. It has been proven that mundane tasks or repetitive actions can ease the pressure on oneself to solve a problem. Basically, you are focusing on something less stressful. Less stress frees up the brain to actually solving the problem. That is why some people pace the room. The act of repetitive walking up and down moves the immediate focus of the brain away from the problem directly and on the physical act itself.
So, do something physical or menial or repetitive but calming. A very smart group leader I knew a long time ago, would stop and take a few minutes to sweep the room or clean up when he was stuck on solving a problem. He would suddenly get up and start sweeping the room, regardless of what else was happening or what time it was. It was not uncommon to see him doing menial work or cleaning up way into the early hours in the day.  He would come back into meetings with new ideas. Often he found new ways to motivate his team to find a solution.
Another way the brain continues working on the problem while you do these other tasks is processing new information. Depending on who you are, the brain will take different amounts of time to process the information it has. Now you add newly acquired information that you got while when you were thinking of ways to solve the problem. The amount of information now has increased.
But the brain is always processing information. The way it processes information is by building pathways within itself. Think of information it has acquired or the things your remember or something you learned, as points. The brain is always building links between these points. It may look like solid gray matter from the pictures but what it looks like under a microscope is closer to a web. That is why Step2 is very important. By describing the problem, you are effectively training the brain on how to process the information regarding the problem. You are giving it hints on how to build those links. The brain will create new connections based on this structured information. That could be why some people can't even finish Step2 before a solution dawns to them.
The best way to do that is to describe it to someone. Even if that other person is yourself.