Day dreaming has often been maligned by our work-ethic culture. But, some really successful companies are actually setting up space, encouraging time for, and asking employees to take time to day dream (google, Pixar, etc.). Why? Because it works! Want to get more work done? A good session of day dreaming just might be the answer or the time when the answer you are looking for comes.
There are 2 ways where we can find creative answers to problems, one is to work at it, down some caffeine, keep working at it, down more caffeine,.....you get it, right? Well, that only works if you are sort of feeling a sense of progress or you "know" somewhere in your gut that you are inching your way toward what you want to get to. Jonah Lehrer shares the story of the guy who created the graphic for "I Heart New York" (insert a heart), rather than saying I Love New York which was the actual plan. This guy created a design, but then kept working away at it, changing it slightly, doodling different ideas, and finally one day came up with that heart to replace the word love. We all know where it went from there - everything there is to love in our culture now has an I heart ____ bumper sticker.
This kind of creative solution finding we, as a culture, are good at. However, we are not good at an equally beneficial and possibly better method which is to take time to day dream. You know how you search and search and search for your keys. Where are they?! You run through every possible logical place you can think of and then move to the illogical and still you don't know. Giving up, you get into the shower and as your mind floats off to the pleasures of the warm water and the scrubbing of the scalp, suddenly it pops into your mind! Now, you know where your keys are.
This is day dreaming. Letting your mind wander off into unknown spaces creates new connections, allows memories, ideas and concepts that were never before connected in your mind to come together. Jonah Lehrer says humorously, but with seriousness as well, that the only time we disconnect from the phone, the computer, the iPad is when we get in the shower and this is what makes it such a creative space!
Consider creating a time daily for day dreams. Ten minutes or more to walk and let your mind roam, or to sit and look out the window, to sit and scratch your pet in his/her favorite spot....The mind is allowed to wander, to go where it will and after you get good at allowing it to do so, see what happens! What changes, what occurs to you? Let your creativity soar! Take time to day dream!