Take a Break to Solve the Problem

Today is beautiful in North Carolina. Clear blue sky, no clouds, but cold with the current temperature of 42F. Tomorrow’s forecast is rain, and although I had a few tasks to get done, I knew I better get a mountain bike ride in today.

With these goals set I knew I had two options. The first was to knock out all my todo’s at home, then go ride. With the temperature being crisp and chilly I knew by the time I would finish I’d end up deciding against riding. I’d come up with an excuse and sit on the couch and be lazy.

So instead I decided to pack up my laptop and head out to the trails and do my tasks while sitting in the truck and using my phone as a hotspot.

I was expecting all the tasks to take me an hour and a ​half, but I blazed through them in about 20 minutes and then got stuck on a logic problem with a new feature I was building. I decided it should wait because I wasn’t making any progress, so I unloaded my bike and took off.

My goal with the ride was just to put in some miles and as my mind wondered and daydreamed​​ came up with a solution to the problem. As soon I finished the ride I loaded my bike, jumped in the truck and banged out the code to complete my last task. It was a good day.

Much has been written on this phenomenon, and I know it usually works, but if it was a workday and I was “on the clock” I’d feel guilty leaving everything and going out for a walk or ride, even though I’d get the solution faster. On the surface, it feels like I’d be cheating my employer, but in reality, I’d be saving them money.

USNWC, Charlotte NC.