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Mind Wandering: Put a Plan Together Scatterbrain

February 6, 2014       On Higher Ground
A Wandering Mind
Is More Productive

Scatterbrains rejoice!  You may just be able
to think of better solutions than rote thinkers.


Many times, you find kids being reprimanded by parents or their teacher for being a scatterbrain or getting caught daydreaming and not paying attention to what they are doing. Even adults find themselves often thinking about something else rather than the task at hand.


Mind wandering happens when your mind stops being focusing and considers concerns unrelated to what you are doing. Not paying attention has traditionally been viewed as a waste of time, or a lack of discipline, or even an impairment like Attention Deficit Disorder.

But recent psychological studies show that daydreaming or mind wandering improves one's chances of making insights and thinking more creatively about problem solving.

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, a professor of psychology at New York University says that: "Aha moments don't come from a directed and particular focus on a task, but by letting your mind wander and open up to other possibilities." Almost like a Heisenberg quantum moment where looking at an event finds you locating the key in another way rather than seeing it straight ahead.

Mind wandering rather than focused thought is found to be more effective at problem solving, creativity, planning activities.  Even with seeing through the viewpoint of another person.  For creative people, mind wandering activities like 'blue sky' method for concept building and 'blue ocean strategizing' allow for thinking to stretch and be productive without stress or the sense of urgency to come up with a plan right there and then.

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