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Here at Single-Sourcing Solutions, we often find ourselves on the leading edge of working with new features or on the back side of working with old features to wrangle them into doing what our customers need them to do today.

Over the years, we've developed a policy. If you're working on something and haven't made any progress after 15 minutes, ask a question or stop and go do something else.  In other words, "Let it Lie." Letting something lie is a good practice that yields superior results.

Stepping away from your work, even for a little while, can give your brain some distance, some clarity. When you return to it, you won't see the "jumble of words". Rather, when you read it again after you've had a break from it, you'll see exactly what to do. It's remarkable.

It's something I have to encourage in my husband, Paul, a computer programmer. He'll cycle and struggle with a problem—without always realizing that's what's happening.  You know how it is. You're up late, been working for hours and you can't quite get whatever it is you're working on into the shape you want. The irony of the situation is that if you had time to think about it, you'd realize that you needed a break.

So take a tip from me and set yourself a time limit when you find yourself spinning your wheels. Accept that you never get it right the first time, that everything can be improved, and give yourself permission to take a break for a while.

You'll be glad you did.

Key Concepts:

best practices, soft-skills

Filed under:

Blog, Liz Asks