As a developer, I am often faced with difficult problems. I sometimes find myself staring at the screen for hours trying to figure out a solution. Other times, I try tens of different approaches to solve the problem.
And then I hit a brick wall. I’m out of ideas. Nothing I try works. It seems like there simply is no way forward.
One thing works for me. Almost every single time. I take a break. I go and make myself a coffee. I take a shower. I get a good night’s sleep. I walk away from the problem for a while.
It feels counter-intuitive. All I want to do is keep bashing my head against it. But, logically, I know this just doesn’t work. I mean, I’ve already tried it for a while by that point. So I walk away. Reluctantly, mind you.
And then, something magical happens. My thoughts reorganise themselves. A picture becomes clear in my head. Suddenly, I get a new perspective. Suddenly there ARE more options. There IS a solution.
So, apparently, sometimes the solution is to give up. Not for good. Just for a short while. Interestingly, this doesn’t seem to only work for me. I’ve seen it work for colleagues and friends, too.
So the next time you’re in a rut, give this a try. Walk away. Clear your mind. After a break, come back to the problem. See if you gain any clarity. I believe in most cases you will.