Two types of thinking – equally important, but in combination stressful

A young man with glasses and a hand resting on his chin is looking through a window and his reflection is visible.

A 3-step recipe for brain training and control over two-dimensional thinking

It has happened to everyone – while thinking about a dream trip to Peru or how to carry out a big project in the field of fashion, another voice in their head whispers: “Oh, I need to contact Maria urgently for the conference, to book theater tickets , to buy milk … ”

Mastering both types of thinking at the same time – what draws the “big picture” and the other, focused on the details of everyday life, inevitably leads to severe stress. This is because the two types originate in different areas of the brain, and this actually makes us think differently.

What is divergent and what is convergent thinking

Divergent thinking generates ideas, and convergent thinking transforms these ideas into concrete steps.

When we think divergently, it’s like looking at dishes in a restaurant – we like them all, but we still have to choose only one or two of them. We think convergently while gathering information, dealing with organizational processes, editing and compiling lists. Both types of thinking are equally important, but the problem arises when we try to think both ways – the brain switches back and forth, the “switch” heats up and there is no effective progress in the near or long term. And because we face a variety of challenges every day, it’s important to stay focused.

Whether the challenges include more creative work, operational activities or something else, the conscious separation of the two ways of thinking increases brain power and stimulates productivity and creativity. But how can we practically separate convergent from divergent thinking? It’s easier said than done, but here are some ways to train your brain:

Steadfast towards the goal

When the time comes to dedicate yourself to a specific task, make it your ultimate goal, so to speak. Use all sorts of methods that point you to it: a note stuck in the fridge or reminders on the phone – it sounds silly, but they will keep you from deviating and distracting, because to start with something, you must first finish the commitments so far.

This technique is especially valuable when you need to prioritize and wonder what to do next.

20 minutes of "separate" thinking

Regularly review your schedule for the day of the week. If most of your time is devoted to completing tasks, this is a good sign that you need to devote a small part of it to divergent thinking. Plan when to shut down your computer to take a break from direct work and think about your next project, when to go out for a walk, or read a book to learn something new.

This gives your brain space to explore different possibilities and minimizes distractions. 20 minutes a day is enough to refresh your thinking. Write down everything you can think of – you don’t know when you might need it. In general, idea notes are a very good working formula.

Environmental control

Regularly review your schedule for the day of the week. If most of your time is devoted to completing tasks, this is a good sign that you need to devote a small part of it to divergent thinking. Plan when to shut down your computer to take a break from direct work and think about your next project, when to go out for a walk, or read a book to learn something new.

This gives your brain space to explore different possibilities and minimizes distractions. 20 minutes a day is enough to refresh your thinking. Write down everything you can think of – you don’t know when you might need it. In general, idea notes are a very good working formula.

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