Day Dreaming Is Work

This is that blog post that takes the creative process to the extreme. It’s the one that you show your boss and use it to justify vacation time on the company expense. We will most definitely quote Stefan Sagmeister for best practices. Actually no we won’t. This isn’t that post, because the title of this blog post is a lie.

Day dreaming is not work.  You should not be paid for it. Day dreaming is how you pay yourself. Why else would we do it if it wasn’t helpful?  It is not quite sleep, not quite meditation but it does assists in similar ways a both of these things.  Psychologists say that it allows us to access our default network. That is a the place our mind goes when it doesn’t have to be anywhere.

Think of your consciousness as a little ball on a play ground. If there are kids kicking the ball it goes in the direction that they are kicking it,  whether it is up hill or down hill. It is the same as the external pressures of the world guiding you to a particular course of action, go to work, pick up the kids from school etc. But when the kids leave the play ground the ball will simply roll in the natural direction it is being pulled by gravity. The funny thing about your mind is that many psychologists argue that it can not be still. Not in a healthy way. Your mind is always moving and when you have an absence of pressure your mind connects to its default network and explores itself.

Why are they useful? Daydreams are helpful, according to York University psychologist, Raymond Mar, because they are not quite the same as sleep dreams and they are not quite fully conscious thoughts. Wading in the shallow waters of your subconscious can allow you to find things that are truly legitimate concerns but are not so abstract that you can’t figure out what they mean.

Many people day dream about positive things they want, a loving partner that have yet to meet, or what it will be like to get that big promotion. The common thread in day dreams is they tend to have some real life context. Fantasy prone is a term used to describe people that are more likely to drift off into more surreal dream states that are less in line with reality but this is not as common as the more realistic perception.

Our minds give us clues to ourself and if we take a moment to allow them, these clues can lead us to better mechanisms for making decisions  in life. Each of us has our own unique thoughts and desires and  it can be hard to hear ourselves when we have our boss or family impressing expectations on us. And yes, daydreaming can be a pathway to your curiosity, inspiration and new ideas, but there is nothing to say that those ideas can not be applied to work. So you probably can’t bill your client or boss for day dreaming as hours worked, if you think you can’t maybe you are daydreaming right now.