(Finished crochet hexagon blanket project)
Daydreaming is not often thought of kindly. The idea of daydreaming conjures images of children staring lazily out of the windows of their classrooms, or adults at work, idly tapping their pencils with preoccupied minds. In essence, daydreaming has become synonymous with wasting time – a cardinal sin in the minds of today’s Americans.
But what if daydreaming is actually productive?
When I am feeling stuck or burnt out with my writing, or just plain too structured, I will often take a few days off from the pen and paper/keyboard and screen in order to daydream. When I return, I find I am refreshed and renewed, full of ideas and fervor for the stories I am working on.
I admit, it may seem a cruel confession to someone in a 9-5 job who finds my ‘mini-vacations’ childish or – god forbid – unprofessional. However, I am not the only one to discover the benefits of daydreaming. In fact, there are many great minds who would agree with me.
Are you daydreaming enough? Here are three good reasons why you should be daydreaming more often:
1. Daydreaming Increases Creativity
As shown in this article, distractions often breed creativity. When the mind is allowed to wander, new ideas are often sparked. Thinking about other things gives fresh breath to tired patterns of thought.
This is also seen in those who endeavor to take on multiple creative projects at the same time. Many writers will take on 2 or more books simultaneously in order to sharpen their focus on both projects. When you feel maxed out in one book, switch to the other and upon return, the first book will often seem clearer and far more exciting.
Taking the time to daydream allows your thoughts to stray from the normal paths, worn dull from frequent visitation, freeing you from your constant worries and stress-inducing responsibilities. Daydream a little and find yourself full of new thoughts.
2. Daydreaming Can Be Energizing
While it’s true that sitting at your desk and imagining yourself on a beach instead is not exactly uplifting or encouraging, – more torturous, in fact – daydreaming with purpose can reignite passions.
Art Markman points out in this article that noticing the gap between reality and fantasy is highly motivating – as is the process of figuring out the way to make fantasies our new reality.
When we daydream, we introduce ourselves to alternate futures, fresh ideas, and enticing opportunities. Bringing ourselves back to our day jobs doesn’t have to be a harsh reality check; it can be an energizing epiphany. With new sights in mind, we often find ourselves more ready to face what is before us.
The process of daydreaming can lend us a fresh perspective on our current situations, and give us the boost we need to improve ourselves and enlighten our daily grind.
3. Daydreaming Encourages Actual Work
Tim Ferriss, author of ‘The 4-Hour Workweek‘, shares in his podcast a chapter of the book ‘We Learn Nothing’ by Tim Kreider. The chapter is titled, ‘Lazy: A Manifesto’ (listen here) and in it, Kreider shares his idea that daydreaming is essential to getting any work done:
“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done,” says Kreider in ‘We Learn Nothing’ (This chapter can also be read in its entirety here, if audio books are not your style).
Daydreaming offers us a moment of reprieve from our lives, a moment of new perspectives, a moment of escape. The resultant creativity and energy spur us toward productivity and movement in a positive direction.
So the next time you catch yourself mentally wandering down an unfamiliar path of thinking, don’t chastise yourself immediately; daydreaming can be a beautiful, productive thing. (Hopefully your boss agrees!)