I’m a big daydreamer. If I find myself stressing at the office or at home, I enter into a fantasy in which everything has worked out exactly as it supposed to and it tends to have a soothing effect on me. I’ve often wondered is it a strange thing to be an adult who daydreams so much, but a new study which says that doing so (within reason, mind) during your working hours may actually boost your career has left me feeling much better.
Focusing is the ideal way to get tasks completed while in work, though it appears our brains can only handle it for a certain length of time. Focusing excessively can cause the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve: you could actually lose self-control.
Instead, choosing to actively unfocus with a nap or even daydreaming could be just what you need, according to a Harvard professor. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Dr Srini Pillay explains “excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain”, and the brain actually works at its best when toggling between focus and unfocus, thereby “allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and make better decisions” – all ideal while in the office, no?
When you unfocus, you engage a brain circuit called the “default mode network,” or DMN which kicks in when you stop “focusing effortfully.” This takes up a fifth of the body’s energy. “[When not fully focusing] you develop enhanced self-awareness and a sense of personal relevance. And you can imagine creative solutions or predict the future, thereby leading to better decision-making too. The DMN also helps you tune into other people’s thinking, thereby improving team understanding and cohesion,” Dr Pillay added, saying that daydreaming, napping and pretending to be someone else, all of which boost your creativity will activate your DMN circuits.
Therefore, doing either of the three – though daydreaming seems the most logical thing to engage in while at our desks, seeing as we can’t yet take a nap at the office – could help you make better informed, creative decisions give you a boost on your way up that career ladder.
Just be mindful you don’t overdue it when it comes to the daydreaming so that, you know, you get some actual work done.