Here are a few ideas for how to re-energize and get fresh ideas for how to solve Sudoku puzzles:
Take a Break
Many studies have shown that people are more productive when they take frequent breaks. Perhaps this sounds counter-intuitive, but the truth is, forcing yourself to stay put and keep thinking only about a problem can often lead you to further delay the finding of a solution.
Mental concentration works similarly to our body’s muscles – it needs a rest after being exerted. The longer you concentrate on Sudoku puzzles – especially if it’s a difficult puzzle and you haven’t made much progress – the more your mind will tend to wander. Some people have superhuman abilities to concentrate and focus for hours at a time – but most of us, even the cleverest Sudoku experts – need to take a break from working on a single highly focused mental task. Taking a break will often help you tackle your Sudoku challenges with greater energy and efficiency.
Go for a Walk
Have you ever played Sudoku for so long at one sitting that your muscles start to ache, like your body is protesting from being kept in one spot for too long? Or is your mind starting to drift away from the puzzle grid? Are you finding yourself gazing outside through the windows and losing focus on solving Sudoku puzzles? If so, these are all good signs that you might need to get up and move around.
Getting some exercise, or even just talking a walk around the neighborhood, can help you boost your energy to come up with new ideas. According to this article in Forbes, exercise helps improve mental focus for up to 2 or 3 hours afterwards, and can also improve memory and productivity. All of these skills are useful for solving Sudoku puzzles – so next time you’re feeling stuck, do some jumping jacks or go for a brisk walk around the block!
Do Something Different
One of the reasons that Sudoku is popular is that it’s simple – just a 9 x 9 grid with 9 numbers to fill in the blanks. But sometimes after awhile, the empty spaces all start to run together and your mind might start to protest against the confines of the Sudoku grid. If you’re feeling spaced-out and mentally tired from playing Sudoku, maybe it’s time to try something completely different.
Go do some work with your hands instead of your mind – fold some laundry or wash dishes or make dinner. Or read a book, to immerse your mind in words instead of numbers. Or try playing brain games other than Sudoku – give your brain a new and different challenge that exercises different mental muscles than Sudoku. All of these activities can help you change up your mental makeup so you can later come back to playing Sudoku and approach the puzzle with fresh eyes.