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Best Time for a “Eureka!” Moment

Your best time for creative insights is not when you think. When psychologists Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks asked night owls to solve problems that require intuition and non-linear thinking, they were more successful in the morning (8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.)—not the later hours when they felt sharpest. Early birds' performance soared in the late afternoon (4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.). In non-peak hours, problem-solvers arrived at solutions with little conscious effort or awareness. In prime time most of us are better at filtering out distractions and thinking analytically. In fuzzier hours your focus is more diffuse—that's when serendipity strikes.