Relax, a little. You'll feel smarter. And do better.

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Don't you notice your best ideas come when you're doing absolutely nothing? Most of my favorite ideas have come from relaxing in the showers, running at the park, or doing the many other assorted things unrelated to work. There's a reason for this. We all have cognitive limits -- even those smart ones, as pointed out by Edward Hallowell in "Overloaded Circuits: Why Smart People Underperform." When we hit our limits, our brain struggles. We become "increasingly hurried, curt, peremptory, and unfocused, while pretending that everything is fine." If you feel you're hitting your limits, cool off a little. Take a vacation. Take a brisk walk. Take the month off. Your brain will thank you with new ideas you couldn't have imagined.

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Posted on February 23

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