Daydreaming and ThinkingI recently spent some time daydreaming while driving alone for a few hours. I turned off the radio, and just let my thoughts wander. Many years ago, when I was working on a Master of Business Administration, I recall a professor saying the biggest challenge for business leaders is that they never had time alone to think. Meetings, phone calls and deadlines prevented executives from thinking. If that was a problem then, it is exasperated with emails, texts, and Zoom meetings added to the modern office environment. Thinking, brainstorming, planning, and daydreaming are where solutions, ideas, and answers to problems originate. I love to think of the possibilities conceptualized by asking myself, “What if…?” Much of my drive time was spent organizing my thoughts on what I needed to do when I got home. To do lists, sewing projects, painting projects, and the like filled my thoughts. I enjoy researching topics, so various random topics for further investigation came to mind. I always keep a notepad handy for just such inspiration. I just read on Wikipedia that studies show 47% of our waking time is spent daydreaming. I am not sure how that works since most of us work 40 hours per week. However, when I can’t sleep at night, I do some of my best thinking. Many a solution has presented itself as I lay silent and still trying not to wake my husband. Could we start an adult “time-out”, not because we did something naughty, but in order to give us some time to think? Would that go over in the business world? So many organizations stress about productivity and bottom lines. What if the focus were switched to creativity and out-of-the-box ideas and solutions? What if more time were spent on what ifs and less time was spent on computers and spreadsheets? Would the world as we know it screech to a halt? I often wonder if leaders are so focused on metrics and spreadsheets because they have lost their ability to think. Instead, they want a model to think for them. As all good researchers know, you must have quantitative and qualitative research in order to make a sound decision. Too much of one and you only know half the situation. The next time a problem at work or at home presents itself, take some time to be silent and let your mind do what it is good at doing. You may even surprise yourself!
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Contributed by Kayla Price