Einstein’s theory of relativity started as a daydream about running beside a sunbeam.
Newton’s theory of gravity was sparked during a daydream as he saw an apple fall from a tree.
JK Rowling was daydreaming on a train when she came up with the idea of Harry Potter.
Research and anecdotal evidence are clear; our biggest and best ideas come from letting our minds wander. We connect things that aren’t yet connected. We imagine things that don’t yet exist. And we see possibilities that we otherwise miss.
Put simply, daydreaming has mental, emotional, physical, psychic, creative, and economic value.
And yet, despite the unmistakable value, we’re all getting worse at it.
Even if we know better, our smartphones highjack our attention and lead it down ridiculous ratholes. Or we’re convinced if we’re not “doing something” we’re unproductive, so we feel guilty, thus killing the value of daydreaming.
And we’re infecting our kids. They’re scheduled to the hilt. And also getting addicted to devices.
So what do we do?
I don’t have any easy answers. I think the best answer is to start small. Here are a few ideas I’ve been experimenting with…
- Leave the radio off while you’re driving
- Have device-free evenings in your house
- Go for long bike rides or runs without a device
- Get out of your office and wander for 30 minutes at lunch
- Regularly schedule 60 minutes for “thinking or planning” on your calendar and consider it as critical as (if not more critical than) a meeting. Let your mind wander during that time.
How do you take back your daydreaming time?