Daydreaming ‘can boost your daily productivity’ – research suggests
Employers may see daydreaming as a complete waste of time, but taking a quick time out during your working day can actually boost your productivity, experts suggest.
Letting your mind wander can increase your creativity and help you when it comes to tackling complex problems, according to Dr Fiona Kerr, a neuro specialist from the University of Adelaide.
“Far from being a waste of time, daydreaming (as with reflection) allows the mind to wander,” explains Dr Kerr, a prominent figure in the field of social cognitive neuroscience.
“The outcome is consistently more productive when dealing with complex problems or coming up with creative solutions and ideas, and ‘daydreaming mode’ is now thought to be the natural state of the brain, observable by MRI scans during problem-solving mode.”
She added: “Solutions come to the brain through non-linear abstraction, often putting together information which was not connected before – an activity similar to sleep.
“This is mainly due to wave patterns such as alpha and gamma combining with chemicals such as acetyl choline and dopamine to top the brain back up and neutrally reset it, allowing for new insights.
“Daydreaming acts in ways similar to reflection mode in terms of memory consolidation and allowing non-linear connections to form.”
She also warned about the consequences of not getting enough sleep and explains how an afternoon nap could help refresh the brain and increase alertness.
“Sleep deprivation in general has a number of negative consequences to the creative process and to general and mental health,” she adds.
“The primary effect is the blocking of neurogenesis through increases in corticosterone levels but there is also a drop in attention capacity, executive function, working memory, quantification skills, logical reasoning, motor dexterity and mood.”