Subconscious Information Processing


He explained that I should start working on a project as soon as it was assigned. An hour or so would do fine, he told me. He told me to come back to the project every day for at least a little bit and make progress on it slowly over time. (…)

He explained that once your brain starts working on a problem, it doesn’t stop. If you get your mind wrapped around a problem with a fair bit of time left to solve it, the brain will solve the problem subconsciously over time and one day you’ll sit down to do some more work on it and the answer will be right in front of you.


The above quote is from Fred Wilson‘s father’s day post about a lesson his dad taught him.

3 Comments leave a comment below

  1. I usually call this background processing, borrowing a term from computing. I found this approach really helpful to stay productive. It’s also important to get a feel for what type of things your brain can tackle while you are not paying attention, vs what tasks need active focus. Certain things just need time to flourish.

  2. That is fantastic! I just read the original post and it makes such sense. Now to instill that into our children…..!

  3. Realizing this is why I stopped taking rush assignments. The mind can come up with all sorts of over-caffeinated 4am brilliance but it’s never going to be as well thought out and articulated as that same thought after weeks of deeper “passive” consideration.
    Put another way, you can overcome adversity through force of will but is that really what you want to give to someone who’s paying you for your best work?
    Joey Reiman of Bright House has written extensively on this process.