My adorable partner and I swap laptops sometimes… for a variety of reasons that are too boring for this post. And even though we have separate browser profiles, it seems to me that our Youtube taste end up in a blend much like a gelati from Rita’s Water Ice.

So, that’s how I got down the rabbit hole of watching professional rock climbing videos, and perhaps how he ended up watching miniature dollhouse furniture videos.

To make a long story short, I watched this video on repeat because it was SO spot on! Rest isn’t just what you do BETWEEN challenges, it’s what you do DURING challenges to sustain your energy and identify new solutions.

WOW !!!

This message has been percolating for the last few days, and I’ve seen signs of it everywhere (confirmation bias, y’all). From a virtual coffee date with my pal, K, who is going on a sabbatical soon … to supporting a cohort of Tech Up students to take a break and come back to their Trailhead challenges with a fresh perspective … to witnessing my own energy ebb and flow as I recovered from tonsil surgery. My spiritual tradition is chock full of rules and regulation for when to rest, how, and for how long. My Pilates class is as much about slowing down as it is about elevating my heart rate. My friend M sent me the book, “How to Do Nothing” more than a year ago and I haven’t read it yet. Perhaps this is my cue!

It’s super duper hard to take a break when the tech challenge I am facing is the most acute. I just want to try that inevitable “one more time” … or rather … start over, since I must have made a mistake some ways back … and over time with this mentality, I find myself getting more frustrated and farther away from a solution.

I’ll admit it – I’m not the best at taking my own advice here. I am more likely to use the “phone a friend” or “talk it out” or “start over” method than to truly walk away. But if I let experience be my teacher, I know that taking space from the problem is probably the most effective tool in overcoming stuckness.

For example, this week I was building a Salesforce Screen Flow as a survey tool. My Flow was working properly, but I could not for the life-a-me get it to show up properly in the “tab” where it needed to live. No amount of copying and pasting from similar examples was getting me my desired result. So, I let it sit for a few days. In the meantime, I built a debrief slide deck for a recent cross-functional sprint, fixed a couple of Conga Composer solutions that had the wrong field map, and followed up on some coffee-date scheduling emails that I had let slip. When I came back to the problem with fresh eyes a few days later, I could see the issue right away. The URL format was funky, and subsequently, the page was not loading properly. Eureka!

I didn’t learn anything about URL formats between Day X and Day Z, but I did clear my mind and build my confidence on some tasks that I knew I could tackle. When I returned, I had a fresh attitude: “If I can’t do it, I can get help from someone who can!” And while that isn’t the world’s most optimistic attitude, it definitely beats outright despair. I know I’m not alone when I am stumped. The beautiful thing is – you aren’t either!

Whether you are building email segments, mail merges, RSVP sheets, fundraising campaigns, or a super gnarly spreadsheet formula, remember that it’s OK to take a break. Here’s where my woo energy comes out. I have this hunch that our minds are working in mysterious ways to make connections and solve problems when we aren’t even thinking about it! So that break is actually PART of problem solving, not merely a procrastination tactic. (Neuroscientists and fellow neurotics, back me up here)

Have you ever taken a break and returned to discover a novel solution to a tough problem? I’d love to hear your take on it! Send me an email or leave me a comment (I read every single one) to continue the dialogue!

2 thoughts on “rest for the weary

  1. Thank you for all your insightful posts! This one is particularly timely for me 🙂

  2. I love this!
    If I have a problem and I can’t seem to solve/see/reconcile it, I’ll walk away for a bit. Take a break. Invariably, when I come back to it, the solution jumps out at me like, ‘see? I was here all the time!’
    This problem solving technique works! I think it’s because when I’m working on a problem, I see it as ‘right’
    I’ve checked it, therefore it is ‘right’! When I walk away and come back to it later, it’s like I am looking at it
    with ‘fresh eyes’.

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