Many people say: “those who think they are doing good by ‘multi-tasking’ are really only doing many jobs or projects at one time – but not necessarily to the best of their ability.”

stove burner

I used to multi-task and to some extent still do more than one thing at a time like glance over something I want to read while also watching a TV show. But when I want to truly occupy my mind, while doing a project around the house, I will allow a different project I am thinking about to mull around in the “back burner” of my mind. The back burner of our minds operates like the stove in our kitchen once the meal is prepared but not quite ready to serve. We move the pot to the back burner to simmer allowing all the ingredients to mix, blend, and simmer creating this wonderful tasty meal for others to enjoy.

Back burners operate like a slow cooker – you toss in various ingredients, mix them up, and then walk away from them for several hours. The less times you open the pot to check on how they are doing – the better the meal will taste once done.

Many times, when I have problems that need solving and aren’t so earth-shattering that they need to be attended to immediately, I toss the idea around in the back of my head – usually subconsciously – allowing the problem to simmer such as the meal in the crockpot. We may not know it, but our back burner is always there ready to help us in situations like this.  While we are scurrying around doing our daily tasks, this back burner – while quieter and softer than our everyday mind – is intelligently thinking of ways to solve the problem(s) we have no immediate answer for.

Taking things to task this way enables our brain to be utilized both while working on current projects and silently thinking about the problems we want to tackle a day, week, or month down the road. It is not meant to be used to procrastinate though. When we toss the problem onto our back burner – it is to obtain – at a later date – a solution to the problem. Not only can this method assist in solving many problems, it should also reduce the stress in  one’s life.

10 thoughts on “What is a Back Burner?

  1. I have not heard back burner in a while. That’s similar to “letting it go”. I had a back burner as a teenager. Lived in MI, went to vacation in FL, loved the sun! Need I say more?

  2. I do that, Irwin! Sometimes on purpose and sometimes unconsciously. My mind will work on a problem or essay while I’m doing other things. One of the best things I can do while things are simmering on the back burner is take a walk. It is amazing what bubbles to the surface when I take this break.

  3. Oh, I agree that some things just need to simmer before we take action! I try that with writing projects and seem to soak and simmer for days before writing. And for me when I jog (slowly) I find that ideas or solutions float to the top. As you wrote it made reduce some stress!

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