Start Your Day With Math
Every morning before I start work I tackle a math problem. I schedule 30 minutes to solve this problem, and if I don’t succeed I stick with it the next morning and subsequent mornings until I have solved it and I am ready to move on to the next.
Why do I do this? Well, because I enjoy it, but also because it offers me these very important benefits:
- Solving math problems trains your brain to be organized, logical and systematic, which is incredibly important in order to be successful in the most chaotic situations in work and life
- Solving math problems exercises a muscle in your brain where you can relate seemingly separate concepts and see important connections between them. This is also another critically important transferable problem-solving skill.
- You can learn math more effectively through solving problems. Your learning is more likely to stay in your brain because you found it useful in a specific situation.
- Successfully solving a problem generates an endorphin hit and provides you with a confidence to start your day. The impact of this on your daily performance should not be underestimated. Think about it as a sparring session before the real deal.
I get these problems from various sources, but mostly from math exams written for high school students. As a trained mathematician, I take on some of the most challenging problems, but the benefits are available to everyone as long as they choose a level of difficulty that suits their current level of experience and knowledge.
Where to source interesting math problems
Your source will depend on your current level of knowledge and interest in math. Examination questions at various stages of high school will provide a challenge for a wide range of abilities — it’s just a matter of working out a level where you are comfortable to start. Here are a few things to consider:
- Avoid multi-choice math problems in favor of problems where you need to fully write your solutions. Multi-choice problems are really just a cost-efficient way of testing skills, and can often be solved by process of…