"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny....'"
I usually step away from it for the rest of the day, head to the gym or run, and then set my mind clearly and focused on the problem before I go to sleep that night. I usually wake up with a solution, and if not, at least with a clearer understanding and a path to head down.
Many times it just takes talking about it with someone else and forcing other parts of my brain into the mix, taking the pressure off of the cognitive problem solving portion for just a moment. The act of articulation solved a gnarly bug for me yesterday, after I had already practiced the steps mentioned above. I was still stumped when I got to work. I started talking about it to someone else, had an idea, wrote a line of code, saw something I didn't expect ("Now that's funny") which lead me to the true problem and to the solution.
The brain works in mysterious ways.
Flex the Geek
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