Daydreaming is always perceived as a bad behavior that lowers productivity. However, a study has found that it can be good for our brain and actually increases productivity.
A study done by Benjamin Baird and Jonathan School tested participants by asking them to come up with alternative uses for everyday objects. They were given two minutes to come up with the uses and went through two sessions. After two sessions, the participants had 12 minutes where they either rested or performed a demanding mental exercise.
When the alternative uses tests resumed, the people who had let their minds wander during the rest period did 41% better on the re-tests than those who had focused on another mental exercise.
It is suggested that mentally walking away from a task is a good way to creatively solve a problem that you are already working on.
There are other reasons that it is good not to focus only on the present. When you consider the past and the future, it is either to make better long term decisions because you are not fixated precisely on what is directly in front of you. If you’re trying to work towards a long term plan, it is easier to accomplish long term goals when you’re not thinking about the here and now.
Besides, if you couldn’t let your mind wander whilst doing mindless work, life would be much harder. Imagine sitting in a waiting room for three hours. If you had to focus on waiting for hours on end, you would walk out a lot more frustrated than you would if you just drifted off to a tropical beach somewhere.