Productivity and procrastination are often direct opposites, but they can sometimes go hand-in-hand. This isn’t to say you should be slow on purpose, but sometimes letting your mind wander can help you unpack big problems.
That’s true for me on this blog. Some posts are written immediately after I have the idea, and then are published a few days later. Other times, I have an idea but I can’t quite work it all out, so I let it sit for weeks (or sometimes months) as I try to sort out my thoughts on it.
There’s a humorous example of this from “The Big Bang Theory” a few years ago. Sheldon is stumped on a major problem, so he gets a “mind numbing, pedestrian job” (his words) to let his mind wander and subconsciously work on the problem. Here’s a clip of that:
It can be hard to intentionally let your mind wander, and getting a job as a busboy at the Cheesecake Factory just for that purpose seems a bit much, but there are some ways you can do it.
First, just let it linger. In the case of some of these blog posts I simply add them to my list and revisit them every few days, and at some point they tend to click.
Second, force some blank space in your life. I take clarity breaks when I’m able, but going for a walk without any music/podcast in your ears will force your brain to wander a bit. It won’t be productive every time, but you’ll likely gain great insights on some of those walks.
Do you do anything to try to force some down time for your brain?