The Value of Daydreaming
When was the last time you daydreamed?
Remember, as kids, we would occasionally be “caught daydreaming,” as if it were a negative thing—instead of what it really is—a creative exercise or simply being “alone with our thoughts.” Full disclosure, I daydream. A lot. It’s my job.
As a former advertising writer, executive speechwriter, senior marketing communications manager, and now as an author, almost every day I need to come up with an idea, a headline, a blog or social media post, an article, or a concept for a novel. That means it is part of my job description to sit idle, with my hand on my chin, staring out a window.
My first boss, Ron, told me his boss once said to him, “If I don’t catch you looking out the window sometimes, I’ll conclude you’re not doing your job.” Personally, I love to daydream. And I lament how it’s fading from society. Why? Stay with me.
I was just reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, by John Mark Comer. In it he made a good point referring to our pre-digital world when he said, “There was a time when you’d be flying across the country, somewhere over, say, Minnesota, and you’d finish your book earlier than expected and just… stare out the window. With nothing to do.” Remember those moments? Hollow moments—when we could have been bored—unless we used them to relax and daydream about something important to us.
Today, we often replace these peaceful moments with digital engagement—we pull out our phones and connect with people—not just across the room, but across the country. We sacrifice these “thought moments.”
In our pre-digital world, these empty moments with nothing to do were portals—portals of time—to be alone with our thoughts, thinking about something that matters. Today, these fleeting moments still exist. I call them “snatches of time.” For example, these are the moments we are driving through, well, a Drive-Thru. Or maybe it’s a car wash, running errands, waiting in line in a grocery store, post office, bank, or toll booth. These moments don’t have to be “productive” to be meaningful. And instead of filling them with digital engagement, I’m suggesting we fill them with our thoughts. For me, I’m content to be alone with my thoughts. Isn’t that what daydreaming is, anyway?
Author John Mark Comer makes this observation:
“Pretty much the only place we can be alone with our thoughts anymore is in the shower, and it’s only a matter of time until our devices are waterproof, which, in turn, will trigger the apocalypse.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love to use digital technology. It makes me more efficient. I work faster, get more done. And I enjoy access (via the internet) to, well, infinity. But I agree with Comer. Sometimes this life of “digital distraction robs us of the ability to be present—present to others, present to all that is good, beautiful and true in our world, and present to our own souls.” And our thoughts.
So, what’s the value of daydreaming for me during these snatches of time? It’s time to:
Reflect—to focus on what matters most to me.
Relax—to unplug from my digital world, and slow, and control my pace.
Rest—to regain clarity regarding my life’s purpose.
Recharge—to energize myself and take another crack at the writing projects on my desk.
Rebound—to approach challenges with a fresh perspective.
By daydreaming, or better said, dreaming by day, I have not only developed article and book ideas, I’ve had time to be grateful for: the people who have shaped my life, the places that have impacted my perspective, the things I will commit the balance of my life to, the years I’ve dedicated to writing profession, and the impact I’ve had on the people who crossed my path.
The value of daydreaming. It’s what I’m thinking about today—as my hand rests on my chin—and I stare out the window.
SOMETHING TO CHEW ON: What are you daydreaming about? Do you view it as a waste of time, or a time to be creative or alone with your thoughts? Has our digital world made you less connected with people face-to-face? If so, how might you change this?
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY:
You might like this article called 5 Positive Effects of Daydreaming. I discovered it after writing this blog post. Enjoy.
Photo by Nathan Cowley on pexels.com