Downtime and relaxation aid insight

Book - Deep Work.. 3 Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted WorldBook - Deep Work.. 3 Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World


author: Cal Newport
title: Deep Work: rules for focused success in a distracted world

reports a study from Dijksterhuis, which makes a point that relaxing and taking breaks from work actually enhances the quality of our decisions.

Participants were given all information about a complex car purchase and split into two groups. One group was told to think through the information and then make a decision, the other group was given a distraction puzzle and made the decisions directly afterwards. The group that was given the puzzle actually made better decisions.

For concrete and focused problem sets (math), thinking consciously is obviously the better approach. But for complex decisions involving large amounts of information and multiple unknowns, our unconscious is well suited to tackle the issue. Getting rest and letting the unconscious work should therefore be a consideration for any knowledge worker.

(Compare this to the study where participants were told to like a specific company based on stocks)