Saturday, March 07, 2009

De-concentration

Why is there a compulsion to write? Why the need to put down thoughts in some retrievable form? Why the difficulty to recollect some thoughts which made sense only a few days ago?

These are the questions I ask myself when I re-opened my blog editor today. Thinking out loud, literally, I believe this stems from the fact, that I have been letting myself or my mind to free-roam. I might be doing a perfectly normal or mundane task, but on a different tangent of thought with no relation to the task at hand.

Problem with concentration? Well, maybe.

But I have got so used to this method of operation, that when I actually sit down to apply my mind on some task, I find it exruciatingly difficult.

For example, I was given a task of solving a technical problem a few weeks ago. And I sat down to get it out of the way. But no matter how long I tried and how hard I looked for the answer, I couldn't pinpoint the fault. After a long day of trying out all possibilities, I had almost given up. I left the problem unsolved and headed for home. I was driving home, and after sometime I got lost in my thoughts, which were mostly concentrated on the problem obviously, and within a few minutes, it hit me! I was approaching the problem the wrong way. Which was why no matter how I looked at it, I couldn't find the fault.

Unfortunately, I was already far away from the office, or I would have turned back to give the issue one more shot.

I was wondering why this answer did not occur to me in the office. I had spent a whole day trying to solve it, when not doing anything else. But it took me only a few minutes, when I was driving home.

If this was a one-off case, I would have just labeled it as unprofessionalism on my part. But this thing happened a few times, actually a lot of times that calling it coincidence started becoming ridiculous.

And it always happened mostly while driving to or from home, and of course some other times, when I was at a shopping mall generally browsing. If I started to think about other issues, at any of these times, I would find myself having a better point of view on those issues.

Now this started getting irritating, when I actually got down to solve the issues. Because, I couldn't remember what it was that I was thinking of, when I thought I had solved the problem!:)

So how do I get around this? Well, I don't know for sure yet. But I think it involved me writing down or talking to someone what solution I came up with. Then I would have a better chance of recollecting the answer.


Now all this is impractical, when you are driving home alone. At that time, you cant (or are not allowed to) do these things. :)

No, this is not going to work. I believe that the most viable solution would be to approach a problem with a better frame of mind. If you can't make head or tail of the situation, step back. Walk about the place, not necessarily thinking about the problem. Call someone, check your email, something to get yourself out of the groove. Go and have some beverage, to reset yourself physically. Then, once you've had your break, get back to the situation, and if you're lucky, you might just find yourself looking at the answer.

I'm not saying this is a sure-shot solution, but atleast it gives you a better chance.

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