Creative problem solving is an important skill to have.
And there are ways to improve your skills in this area.
Consider this hypothetical scenario. Your boss asks you to find a creative solution to two different problems. You have three ways to go about this:
Most commonly, people would opt for the last option because it allows for maximum autonomy and flexibility.
However a study at Columbia Business School (by professors Jackson Lu, Modupe Akinola and Malia Mason) suggests using the first approach and setting specific time intervals when working on problems.
So, why does regularly working on and off a problem work?
That’s because when we do an activity that requires creativity, we often hit a block even if we don’t realize it. We often find ourselves coming up with the same ideas and can’t seem to move on. Switching between tasks can help reboot your thought process and enable going at the task in a new way.
To reach their conclusion the researchers conducted a few experiments
Other research also defends that creativity is higher when people take scheduled breaks. Stepping away from your task helps you find a new perspective, instead of circling around the same ideas.