Four ways to make daydreaming productive

This morning I wake up and it takes a minute to remember that I don’t have to go to work. Oh, that’s right . . . I’m in my RV. I smile and have one of those delicious full-body stretches. It’s slightly chilly. That’s okay. I can run my propane heater for just a few minutes. I prop myself up to look out the back window. Those mountains will be a relaxing backdrop as I finish my article.

Heh. I wish! This didn’t really happen; it’s still in my head. And I don’t have that RV yet, but it’ll materialize in due time. For the time being I’m looking around. Right now I’m in love with the Leisure Travel van with the Murphy bed. But I went to an RV show last month and saw a NeXus Viper 25V Class B+. THIS is living!

As an introvert with ADHD, hyperactivity and daydreaming are normal for me . . and for many others. Both happen when we subconsciously pull ourselves away from boring activities. Daydreaming can motivate us to work toward our goals (RV!). It also kindles our creativity. The break from reality can help us ride a stream of consciousness without the boring external distractions. Daydreaming also helps us stay connected with people important to us but out of reach. When my boyfriend is out of town chasing after his aging rockers (any Moodies fans reading this?), I imagine him standing at his concert seat, taking iPhone pics, and bouncing his head to the beat like those bobble-head dogs in the back of an old lady’s car.

Want to get more out of your moments of woolgathering? Then read on for some tips for more productive daydreaming.

1. Shed the shame.

Realize that everyone does it . . . a lot. Consider the wisdom of daydreaming expert Amy Fries: “What would we do if we couldn’t envision and imagine in a daydreaming state? We’d be like robots, stuck only in the here and now, unable to dream or create or imagine the road around the bend.” So go ahead and let your mind wander. You know you wanna.

2. Zone out to get unstuck.

When you’re staring down a problem, give yourself permission to zone out. It might be a good time if you can pull yourself away from your current (boring) task and focus on something more important. During your mental journey you might stumble upon a solution.

3. Leave some bread crumbs.

Despite your best intentions, you might forget the task you were on right before you mentally detached from reality. That’s me. I’d have a solid 45 minutes of writing, and then after a 10-minute break, I’d be totally clueless about where I left off. So, I put a sticky note on my monitor (“Proofreading 2nd paragraph on page 7.”)

4 Keep the daydreaming on a leash.

Despite the benefits of daydreaming, don’t let it get away from you. Daydreaming during reading can hinder your comprehension. It can also mess with your mental health and happiness if you’re daydreaming about things you think you’ll never achieve.

Whether to de-stress, boost your mood, or solve a problem, daydreaming can recharge you and get you back on track. Maybe daydreaming will help get me in that RV!

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