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Daydreaming at Work Encourages Creativity

creativity daydreaming workplace

“Focus, focus, focus” is what I used to say to myself when I couldn’t resolve an issue or got stuck in a creative slump. If I concentrate harder, the answer will come to me. Right?  


According to Jennifer Wiley, at the University of Illinois in Chicago, “Often the best way to solve a problem is not to focus.” The human brain can focus for about two hours, and then it needs a break. The more you try to concentrate, anxiety develops, making the situation worse.

It used to be that a wandering mind was considered a serious failing. Now the experts are encouraging daydreaming to increase productivity. But not just any kind of daydreaming – positive constructive daydreaming (PCD).

Our minds wander without our permission. The idea of PCD is volitional daydreaming, choosing a positive direction rather than ruminating on a negative experience.

Srini Pillay, MD, advocates PDC in his book, Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try.

“Let your mind wander on a leash; it will lead you to the jewels of self-awareness and illuminate missing information hidden in your brain.”

Here are Dr. Pillay's suggestions for mastering positive, constructive daydreaming.

Start by planning

When you consciously set aside time to daydream, you avoid the shock and dismay of unexpected mind-wandering. If you can plan for lunch, you should be able to plan for daydreaming.

Turn your attention inward

Daydreaming is all about closing the door to perception and turning your attention inward. Closing your eyes may help you get disconnected faster.

At first, it may feel like your mind is simply going on a wild goose chase. But, studies show that this is your brain’s planning mechanisms just under the radar. If you find it difficult to turn inward at will, try marking the switch with a relaxing chair tilt or a much-needed walk to the window.

Do something low-key

You may think of daydreaming as total downtime, but a recent study claimed otherwise. Daydreaming actually has the potential to improve your creative ability.

While you daydream, coloring, or light-hearted doodling can get your creative brain charged. Doing something that takes up too much attention will be less effective.

Summing it all up

He summed it up in a few easy steps.

  • Daydreaming can improve your focus, creativity, and self-awareness. It can also help you envision and prepare for the future.
  • Set aside a time in your day to veg out.
  • Turn your attention inward by switching off your perceptions. Close your eyes to get a quick start.
  • Do something low-key or don’t do anything.
  • Beware of your brain’s tendency to resist and use self-talk to tell it to chill. Sit back, relax, and daydream yourself to success.

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