1. Research shows that our mind wanders about 30% of the time. It occurs regardless of what we are doing – sitting in a lecture, driving the car, cooking dinner, or talking to a friend.
2. Everybody’s mind wanders regularly. It takes concentrated effort to stay on task.
3. Having a wandering mind is different from daydreaming. Day dreaming involves having stray thoughts, random fantasies, or briefly indulges in wishes and “what if” scenarios. In contrast, a wandering mind is where we allow our mind to think about something specific, which is different from the task in front of us right now.
3. A wandering mind can actually be a good thing. It allows part of our brain to focus on one thing while freeing other parts to also think through other goals, responsibilities and tasks.
4. However, a wandering mind can be a bad thing, too. It can cause us to miss important facts and details, and to zone out when something really needs our full, and undivided, attention.
5. Research conducted by the UC, Santa Barbara shows that people whose minds tend to wander more are often more creative and better problem solvers.