If you suggested to your manager that you and your colleagues should spend some of your workday daydreaming, chances are they would not be impressed. Daydreaming in the workplace is commonly a big no-no, completely unheard of. It is viewed in the same light as procrastinating. The bottom line is, we are completely uncomfortable with the thought of being perceived as slacking off. This needs to change, as it is the exact mindset needed to spark creativity and innovation.
The truth about daydreaming
I am a massive advocate for daydreaming and its benefits for creativity. Let’s think about this for
a second. Do your best ideas pop into your head whilst you are in a planned brainstorming meeting with your team? No, they are sparked when you are daydreaming in the shower, when driving, or out taking a walk. When you are doing something completely unrelated to the problem you are trying to solve.
So why does this happen? In a nutshell, daydreaming relaxes the mind and body so that you can visualise more vividly. It allows your imagination to wander so that the subconscious can get to work on finding a solution.
Daydreaming can be one of the most effective techniques for tapping into your creative powers, if we make it focused and intentional. This means that we have to be aware of what we want to achieve from daydreaming and be ready when ideas pop into our heads. It’s not just a case of puttng your problem on the mental backburner.
Master practical daydreaming
It is a fact that the longer we stay concentrated on one task, the more unproductive we become. Allowing your brain to rest by doing something different to the task at hand heightens your concentration. So imagine what taking regular breaks to daydream can do for your creativity.
Try this simple technique below for quick results:
Take regular five minute breaks out of your day to daydream. Make it clear to anyone around you that you will be unavailable during this time.
Lay the groundwork
Before you start daydreaming, it’s important that you spend a generous amount of time getting to grips with all of the information surrounding the problem you are trying to solve or the goal you are trying to achieve. Consciously weigh up your options, reframe the problem and look at your situation with a different perspective. The preparation done beforehand will give your subconscious plenty of information to ponder.
Now all you have to do is go and let your mind wander. Go for a run, meditate, or even just lie awake in the morning or night, as long as it is something that engages your subconscious mind. While daydreaming, pay close attention to any ideas that filter through – just make sure you jot them down somewhere!
By activating the powers of your subconscious mind, this simple technique will help you to produce original, inventive ideas.
Just give it a go
A 2007 study by Malia Mason of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, proved through using MRI brain activity scanners that the brain is more active while daydreaming than when undertaking a task that requires focused attention.
If you’re still not convinced, consider these famous masterminds and what they produced whilst daydreaming:
• Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity.
• Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity.
• Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.
So daydreaming should not be scoffed at. And luckily, support for daydreaming as an aid for creative thinking is rapidly growing with thanks to more and more research proving its benefits. Don’t wait for everyone to come around to the idea of daydreaming; the next time you are faced with a tricky situation, problem or goal, give daydreaming a go and see what it can do for your creativity. You will probably be amazed at what your brain can create when you aren’t focusing on the situation in front of you.
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