You know how you can sit in front of your computer, struggling to figure out how to get your main character from point A to point B, and then it hits you when you’re in the middle of brushing your teeth that night? A new study confirms you’re not alone.
Apparently, study participants were given a challenging task. Some participants were allowed to have a break, and others weren’t. The ones who had a break performed better at the task afterward than the ones who had to work straight through the allotted time. This suggests that breaks are actually helpful in getting your mind working in new ways.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can skip the work, just take breaks, and expect results:
“The implication is that mind-wandering was only helpful for problems that were already being mentally chewed on. It didn’t seem to lead to a general increase in creative problem-solving ability,” says [research team leader Benjamin] Baird.
So get to work, but also feel free to give yourself a little time away from the desk if you’re stuck on a particular issue.