I’m not a dreamer, but I often imagine what my life would be like if I were. Although some people look at daydreamers as wasting their time, I see the world in a different way–dreaming is an important step when it comes to succeeding, and, when backed by quantifiable effort, following your dreams is the only way to find true fulfillment in life. If you’re bored at work and need something to focus on so you don’t fall asleep, here are some ways daydreaming makes you successful.
Daydreaming Makes You More Productive
According to Psychology Today, thinking outside the box is an important step in problem-solving. While daydreaming seems like waste of time, it’s actually pulling your conscious thoughts into other perspectives. Brainstorming can quickly lead to tunnel vision if you do it on a regular basis; you may be daydreaming about living on a tropical island, but in doing so you’ll return to reality with a fresh perspective on your current problem. The 5-10 minutes you spend daydreaming are much more efficient than the 30 minutes you’ll likely spend pulling your hair out trying to resolve that difficult problem you’ve been working on.
Daydreaming Makes You Smarter
It’s easy to pigeonhole daydreamers as a kid dreamily staring out the window during class, ignoring what the teacher is saying. I was that kid, and here’s why I was daydreaming: my homework was already done, I already firmly grasped the concept being taught, along with all the corresponding formulas, and methods–what I was daydreaming about was the real-world applications of all the theories being discussed in class. It’s not just me; government studies by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health show that daydreaming combines your executive network (regions of your brain dedicated to problem solving) with your default network (regions of your brain associated with higher-level activity) to improve your critical thinking.
The idea is this:
Would my time have been better spent listening to a teacher continue to drill the points in for the kids who needed more time to learn (thus slowing me down and wasting my time)? Or was it better spent considering the many ways to incorporate the knowledge into my life and take me from point A to point B? Think of it as listening to an album over and over versus listening to a wide variety of music; I’m happy the teacher likes Garrison Keillor so much, but I don’t need to know every happening in Lake Wobegon to understand Americana from the time period.
Daydreaming Increases Both Confidence and Insight
Perfect practice makes perfect, and imagining a scenario in your head allows you to practice how you would react in a variety of scenarios. Sure, you’re not likely to gain superpowers or a billion dollars simply by imagining it, and those imaginary resources won’t be available to you in the real world, but you’ll get a general idea of how you’d behave in certain situations. If that idea doesn’t provide you with the confidence you need, at the very least, it’ll facilitate personal insight. It also helps to visualize yourself in someone else’s shoes, a form of daydreaming often advocated as a method to resolve misunderstandings.
Daydreaming Inspires Happiness
Not only are your daydreams responsible for motivating you to work toward a goal (that’s pretty much the point of daydreaming), but they keep you content and satisfied while you work toward them. Sitting in a cubicle is boring. Everything is drab in an office building, and, depending on where you work, there’s a good chance daydreaming is the most exciting part of your day. There’s nothing wrong with that. You’re the person who’s stuck with you 24/7‒making yourself happy is much more important than pleasing anyone else.
As you can see, daydreaming is not only not a waste of time, but it can actually be more useful than working. Like everything else in life, though, moderation is key, and acting on your dreams will always get you further than simply sitting idle and passively enjoying them. So take a cue from the Internet and get your head in the clouds, and daydream, FTW!