All posts tagged: The Wandering Mind

To Wander. To Dawdle. To Live.

Wander. Dawdle. Already two of my favorite words, they now seem perfect for a gap year. For years I looked for books to help encourage my desire for a slowing down of the daily rat race. Not surprisingly, I tended to find and read them while on vacation. One winter holiday, when one usually focuses on resolutions for the new year, I was instead leisurely enjoying a book on the wandering mind. Author Michael C. Corballis wrote, “It seems we are programmed to alternate between mind-wandering and paying attention, and our minds are designed to wander whether we like it or not.” That sure rings true in my experience. In The Wandering Mind: What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking, Corballis argues that, “Mind wandering has many constructive and adaptive features — indeed, we probably couldn’t do without it. It includes mental time travel — the wandering back and forth through time, not only to plan our futures based on past experience, but also to generate a continuous sense of who we are. Mind-wandering …

What Do You Think About in the Shower

I began a recent conversation with, “I was thinking about this earlier today in the shower.”  You may think that’s too much information to share at work, but I believe that the time we use to think in the shower is critical to our productivity and creativity.  Paul Graham goes further to say “it’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.” I have certainly wrestled day after day with issues, becoming disheartened over time. It takes different ways of thinking at different times to push through the fog. Hard problems don’t lend themselves to easy analysis.  And yet, one day you’ll find yourself walking, daydreaming, or — in this most recent case — in the shower, and the path becomes clear. When I am most productive, I find that the issues that are top of mind are the fundamental ones to my job or life. When I’m flailing, my top of mind issues are unimportant or, even worse, distractions. I have found that by being aware …

I Was Trying to Daydream but My Mind Kept Wandering*

New Years is the time when many of us make resolutions.  We promise ourselves to focus on losing weight, reading more books and watching less television, being mindful in the present.  One of my personal perennial chestnuts in recent years is to avoid becoming a grumpy old man. So with all this attention on focus, why was I so excited to find a book on the wandering mind to read over the winter holidays?  Because “It seems we are programmed to alternate between mind-wandering and paying attention, and our minds are designed to wander whether we like it or not.”  That sure rings true in my life experiences. Are you still with me? In The Wandering Mind:  What the Brain Does When You’re Not Looking, author Michael C. Corballis argues that “Mind wandering has many constructive and adaptive features – indeed, we probably couldn’t do without it.  It includes mental time travel – the wandering back and forth through time, not only to plan our futures based on past experience, but also to generate a …