Researchers from Bar-Ilan University studied the effects of external stimulus via low-level electricity. They observed that external stimuli can affect our tendency to daydream or mind-wander, as they called it. They were surprised to learn that daydreaming can improve task performance.
It seems that a mental escape from boring tasks can put you on the right track again. While the researchers concentrated on the physiological implications, the findings suggest that using productivity techniques like the Pomodoro can help you focus.
Your daydreaming engages the larger neural network of your brain. This effect could in turn affect creativity, and hence, task performance. It’s not unlike the difference between focused thought and diffuse thinking.
When you work on a task, you may use a specific part of your brain to get the job done. When you leave it and do something that encourages mind-wandering, you can tap into other neural networks that may help you complete the task at hand. The findings from the Bar-Ilan University study provide the neurological basis for what is occurring in your brain.
Another thing to bear in mind is that daydreaming isn’t a bad thing. Your mind needs downtime to operate at peak efficiency. You probably know about some people who routinely work through their lunch hour. They rarely, if ever, take breaks. They say that they have to keep working to get a project done.
This mindset falls under the same category as multi-tasking. It doesn’t work like they think it does. Sure, they’ll finish the project, but it could have been easier. They may have tapped into some new ideas had they taken time for some mind-wandering.
That’s what makes this study so exciting. There is a better way to do things. And it applies to writing too.