Ever wondered why sometimes you focused too much time to solve a problem without any answers. And after just walking around and resting, you suddenly had that eureka moment? You found an answer while walking your dog. Is this just by chance?
According to Barbara Oakley, the author of Learning How to Learn, you can harness this power by switching your thinking between focused and diffused thinking. And here’s how to utilize both for peak productivity in your remote working career.
Before delving into the topic, let’s touch what the difference between both. Focused thinking comes from the word itself. It’s when you deeply focus on a problem with total concentration. It’s like practising deep work.
You analyze and try to solve a problem without any distractions. Alone, it can create tons of productivity. After all, undivided attention to the tasks at hand will surely bring you to productive heights.
But sometimes, our willpower to find the answer is not enough. And we face an inevitable wall.
On the other hand, diffused thinking is letting your subconscious do all the work. It’s when you relax your mind. You stop concentrating on the task at hand. Let it wander.
Surprisingly, this unstructured thinking processes facts with your subconscious to connect different concepts and data in the background.
Your brain will continue to think about the concepts and combine unfamiliar solutions. And these unfamiliar solutions mostly produce innovative ideas.
Combining Both in Your Routine
So which should you use for your work? Is there a better mode for more productivity? We suggest combining both in your routine. Start with focused thinking. Work on a project with all your focus.
And when you can’t seem to find an answer, take a break. Let your diffused thinking do all the work. You will be surprised at what you can accomplish. And here are some practices you can use to take advantage of both.
One effective tool is the Pomodoro technique. It’s as simple as dividing your work into 25 min chunks of time. And then, taking a 5-minute break afterwards. And for the 4th Pomodoro session, you take a 15-minute break. And then repeat the cycle afterwards.
This technique takes advantage of undivided attention with a rest break after. You utilize your focused thinking on the 25 minutes. And the 5-minute break allows a breather for your diffused thinking to come in.
How many ideas are formed over showering? Countless! While showering, our minds are relaxed. It’s the perfect break to allow your subconscious to do all the work.
And it makes you feel fresh for work as a bonus.
Sleep on the Problem
Many remote workers think sleeping is a detriment to their productivity. But for really difficult problems, have you tried sleeping and then knowing the answer when you wake up?
While we sleep, our subconscious still works on the things we are focused on.
Walks on Nature
Isn’t it relaxing to just walk over a forest or a park? There’s something about nature that’s alluring that we get our mind off things. And this is the perfect moment to capture ideas with your diffused thinking.
It may not be a full-on trek. It can just be as simple as your neighbourhood garden or park. Surprise yourself with the solutions you can get while walking.
Ready to be productive this year? By combing both focused and diffused thinking, you are sure to utilize the best of your headspace for your productivity. Good luck with your remote working career!