This Is How Daydreaming Can Actually Advance Your Career

by Jessica Wendroff

When I'm on my nine-to-five grind, I transform myself into Lewis Carroll's Alice. Every day, my mind melts office walls into a Wonderland of my own.

You could even say that I have the mind of J.D. from "Scrubs." He always daydreams, especially while he's at work, to help him get through his day.

Daydreaming at work is a form of mental transportation. It allows you to be physically present while your mind runs away. It's very useful when you have to sit through pointless meetings that could easily translate to a one-sentence e-mail.

Unfortunately, since work is called "work" for a reason, we're all shackled to our paychecks. But we can use our minds to escape our corporate cages, even if only once in a while.

After all, we're only human, and sometimes we need a little fantasy to survive -- and improve -- our reality. Here's how daydreaming can actually advance your career.

Daydreamers can complete their work in a timely manner.

Contrary to what most people believe, daydreamers are the opposite of absent-minded. Even though we daydreamers can imagine our bosses in Marilyn Monroe dresses, we still know how to respond to a question they throw at us.

The Smithsonian Magazine says,

"Researchers stress that those with higher working memory capacities — and thus those who are naturally most prone to daydreaming — still have the ability to train themselves to focus their attention on what's in front of them, when necessary."

The article also notes that "daydreamers' minds wander because they have too much extra capacity to merely concentrate on the task at hand." In other words, daydreamers have very active minds and get bored easily when focusing on a particular task, so they create their our own mental stimulation. In doing this, daydreamers unknowingly hone skills that can actually help advance their careers.

Daydreaming gives you an edge and enhances creative thinking -- especially in brainstorming sessions.

Dr. Seuss once said:

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."

Seuss had an original way of thinking. Without it, he probably never would have produced his famous books. By twisting his mind like a kaleidoscope, Seuss was able to gift children with beasts like the Wickershams and memorable creatures like Thing 1 and Thing 2.

If you think in the same unique vein as Seuss, you too can look at problems with eyes that bounce back and forth between fantasy and reality to come up with creative solutions that others cannot.

Eugenio M. Rothe, a psychiatrist at Florida International University, supports this idea. He says that a "daydreaming mind ... accounts for creativity, insights of wisdom and oftentimes the solutions to problems that the person had not considered."

So, while your colleagues are digging around their black-and-white brains for an answer, you can unearth a colorful viewpoint from your unconventional way of seeing. This rare viewpoint can repeatedly set you above the crowd, and even lead to further responsibilities and promotions.

Fantasy becomes a daydreamer's secret weapon in the workplace.

Daydreaming helps you feel happier while in the office.

Positive vibes at the work place are always a plus. And when you daydream, you displace yourself from any negativity occurring within the office. You're not allowing your coworker's bad mood to rub off on you. Because in your head, you're probably at the beach.

Daydreaming allows you to retreat to your own happy place at anytime. And when you're happy, you make yourself easily approachable to superiors and colleagues. Just your cheery aura alone may be the reason you get a fun assignment that day.

Daydreaming increases your memory.

Daydreaming turns you into a professional juggler of thoughts. Psychology Today reports that "the more we daydream, the more our brain is able to both hold onto and remember things when we are being bombarded from all sides by all kinds of noise, information input, and conflicting demands."

In plain words, you will be able to remember only the important things and cancel out the superfluous. This is good because that means there is less of a chance you will forget scheduled meetings, photoshoots, and the like.

Perhaps you can even dazzle your boss if you remember something from the past and skillfully integrate it into a current project.

Daydreaming helps you feel empathy for co-workers.

Daydreaming helps you to better imagine how someone else feels. You can mentally put yourself in that person's situation.

Being personable is an incredibly important trait in today's workplace, mainly because it's such a rare quality to have. When you are able to understand someone else's situation, you are able to read circumstances better, and you know how to react to fellow employees. This is especially vital if you ever become a boss.

When you take over the reins, the skills you learn from daydreaming will help you immediately recognize when someone on your team is struggling and needs help or words of encouragement.

Saying that daydreaming improves your work performance might seem like a stretch. But now that I've broken down my argument, you can see how daydreaming really can shape people into creative and more compassionate leaders.