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People usually think that they are working some exact number of time.

But that is not how our brain works.

Once the brain has a task, it will keep allocating part of its computing time to find the solution until it will complete the job.

Though it is also not the end of the story: after the brain will find the solution, it will spend some time to memorize the results.

Now, let's take a look at this simple timeline:

9 am - new task, complexity - inhuman! 10 am - meetup 11 am - read emails, etc. Noon - hey it's lunchtime! 1 pm - concentrating on a task 2 pm - help request from your colleagues 3 pm - your boss wants to see you 4 pm - concentrating on a task 5 pm - coffee time! 6 pm - oops! time to go home! 7 pm - traffic jams 8 pm - dinner 9 pm - family time 10 pm - time to sleep 11 pm - the solution!

Note that the above timeline is very simplified to catch the idea.

So, why the brain finds the solution even if you are busy with some different tasks?

The answer is simple - the brain was solving the problem all this time. But your higher level of consciousness was not aware of this work.

How is this possible?

Let's think about the brain as of the superset of neural networks. Every part of this superset is also a set of neural networks.

Can you imagine the complexity of this structure? Also, it is a genuine miracle that this superstructure is placed inside our skull!

Moreover, this super network always works. When you eat, walk, entertain, sleep, even if you are unconsciousness.

Another noticeable thing that all these networks are working independently. And that allows our brain to be a true multitasker!

Having all of the above in mind, can you imagine the overall computing power of our brain?

The general simplified scheme of working of our built-in neural network looks like this:

  • get the task
  • divide the task into the chunks
  • assign each chunk to some part of the network
  • memorize the result after all of the assigned networks report back
  • after the result is memorized start notifying higher-level network
  • wait for a time-slot to report that the task is finished

Thanks to this approach, all of us have those "a-ha" moments. So, it is wrong to think that you are only working when you are in the workplace.

Depending on your overall experience and the complexity of a task, your brain will allocate as much time as it needs to find the solution.

So, the right answer is that your brain is always working, and so do you.

This post is also available on DEV.