Daydreaming Helps Productivity
If you’re at work this week, you might find yourself struggling to stay on task. The time between Christmas and New Year’s is widely seen as the least product week of the year. But new research suggests that daydreaming actually improves focus. MIT’s Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli and John Gabrieli explain that “an active idle state of mind activates long-range neural connections in the brain that are linked with high performance in IQ tests and better thought process and intelligence.”
It turns out that cultivating an active idle mind, or teaching yourself how to daydream effectively, might actually encourage the sort of long-range neural connections that make us smart. At the very least, it’s time we stop discouraging kids from staring out the classroom window, because mind wandering isn’t a waste of time.
At LTT, we see how the creative mind responds to different paces of life, new perspectives and surprising collaborations, but also to the “bliss of solitude.” And we’re glad to see an MIT study call out the benefits of the wandering mind.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
-William Wordsworth, 1804
Read more in Jonah Lehrer’s Science Blogs: “Intelligence and the Idle Mind”