If this all sounds like scientific justification for afternoon naps, long showers, and Russian literature, you’re right. “We always assume that you get more done when you’re consciously paying attention to a problem,” Schooler told me. “That’s what it means, after all, to be ‘working on something.’ But this is often a mistake. If you’re trying to solve a complex problem, then you need to give yourself a real break, to let the mind incubate the problem all by itself. We shouldn’t be so afraid to actually take some time off.
Because: Can or is multitasking lumped in here? (Case in point: this post.) I thought this was common knowledge by now, like the “shower moment” referenced in 30 Rock, but a reminder, especially from The New Yorker, can’t hurt. I always think of how once, a thesis paper I was struggling with wrote itself right out in my head when I was on a long run.