Guidelines for Spacing Out

By, 12/26/2012

Your mind will probably wander while you work—no matter how much you love your job. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! Many sources discuss the merits of briefly redirecting your thoughts to gain perspective on a tough problem—as you’ve likely experienced, inspiration tends to hit when you least expect it. But instead of rehashing the benefits of clearing your mind, I’d like to provide you with some guidelines to get the most out of your mind’s wanderings.

  • Do busy work when you have trouble concentrating. If you’re focused on a highly involved project, picking up other work that requires less concentration could help clear your head.
  • Visually stimulate your mind. Like busy work, visual stimulation requires little concentration, and the instant gratification of flipping through a brochure or exploring websites may put your mind at ease.
  • Indulge a little—but not too much. Have a situation at home you can’t get off your mind? Allowing yourself a minute or so to concentrate on it helps you get it out of your system a bit—and realize you can’t do much to solve it at work. But be careful, a little indulgence can lead to more. So make sure to stay disciplined.