06 Jun How do you become extremely efficient at work without wearing yourself out?
By daydreaming, of course!
Despite its “dreamy” appeal, the fact of the matter is this assertion feels quite counter-intuitive. How can we let ourselves daydream at work when we’re buried under a mountain of projects and reports? Other (less diligent) people, maybe, but not us! It’s just inconceivable. We already have difficulty squeezing everything into a day. If we allow ourselves the luxury of daydreaming, who knows what will happen?!
So, let’s set aside these indications of frayed nerves, which are a tell-tale sign of an imminent need for mental renewal (daydreaming!), and attempt to calmly get a grasp on things.
First of all, the dream state we are referring to here, which is also called mind-wandering, manifests itself in moments of intellectual distraction, during which we let go and stop voluntarily focusing on something. In other words, these wandering states occur when we are no longer able to concentrate on a particular task.
Paradoxically, it is in this waking dream state, characterized by an absence of control over our freely roaming mind that our brain accomplishes its most beautiful feats.
It uses these periods of intentional release, first, in order to renew itself, regaining attention and focus. It also reviews and automatically, unconsciously works out different hypotheses that are likely to lead it toward original, creative solutions that are well-suited to the circumstances.
In fact, the beauty of this processing mode is the characteristic intense activity in Default Mode neural circuits associated with very high energy consumption.
It is, therefore, in moments when we ask nothing of our brain that it is at its most efficient!
And, returning to our original assertion, it is when we daydream that we solve complex problems, that we are able to calmly handle our emotions and that we are able to deeply embed our memories in our minds.
Anyway, you see the point… mind-wandering is the key to better performance at work! So, what do you say we daydream?
Having said that, this does not explain how and when we should allow our minds to wander. In fact, the idea is not to daydream constantly, but to create periods when we are in default mode in an ultra-connected and stimulating world that leaves little room for anything else.
To do so, there are several solutions that essentially depend upon your own modus operandi:
- If you are a professional daydreamer, you do not necessarily need our help, and simply reading this text will have given you multiple opportunities to wander.
- If you are an amateur mind-wanderer, however (or are even reluctant, because – okay, letting your mind wander may be efficient, but seriously, in your job, it’s just not done), we can certainly do something for you.
- The first thing we should mention is that shifting into default mode is very quick and does not need to last long* to work well.
- Then, you only need to slip a few repetitive activities into your daily tasks (tidying, categorizing, reading with no exact goal in mind…), so that your mind begins to wander spontaneously. Along these lines, commute time is also perfect for mind-wandering, with the landscapes providing solace for your mind.
- And, to round all of that out, we have created, for you, a library of revitalizing “micro tales” to be used several times a day, which can be found in our My Mental Training Pro app. What is the goal? There is none! Well, there is, actually. Their sole purpose, which is no small feat: artificially grant your brain two minutes of attentional release to leave, for the time it takes to tell a tale, your daily troubles behind. In short, we’re giving you tiny snippets of default mode. It’s guaranteed to work!
So, we wish you pleasant daydreams with Mental Training Pro!
* Be aware that the switch into Default Mode can happen very quickly and absolutely does not conflict with workplace organizational methods. In a study that Charlotte Toso, cognitive engineer, and I are in the process of concluding in a joint effort with Caroline Cuny and Cyril Couffe at the Grenoble School of Management, we have demonstrated the impact on intellectual performance of mind-wandering breaks as short as 60 seconds. But, we will tell you about all of that in a future newsletter!