I can only work on a specific problem for so long before getting mentally fatigued.  I get mental blocks that become hard to push through.  Here are some ways that I have gotten over the mental block challenge, maybe they will help you:

  1. Take a walk or exercise.  This can be a very refreshing way to replenish the energy store and give a clearer perspective on the problem.
  2. Talk with a colleague through the problem.  This sounding board method usually has me answering my own questions.  I have found that many times I couldn’t tell the person exactly what my block was.
  3. Solve a different problem.  Head on over to Project Euler (if you are a developer) and knock out a problem or two, solve a crossword or Sudoku puzzle.
  4. Sleep on it.  Don’t be surprised, if at 2am the answer comes to you.  At that point, I get up and am excited to work on the problem.

What techniques do you use break a mental block?