To be clear, mind wandering is not a replacement for learning about a topic and analyzing it. But when all your preparation leads to dead-end solutions, you need to learn to reorganize the hard-earned knowledge. Taking the mind away from your goal can create the break-through you're looking for.
In a world of fast-paced change, those people who can develop creative ideas and use a process to solve problems become successful entrepreneurs, parents, teachers, and leaders in all professions and life pursuits. Whether you are struggling with a management issue, trying to decide whether to move or not, or where to spend your birthday, you can feel stuck. When you feel blocked, take a break and know that the other side of your mind is working on the problem. When you come back to the issue, watch the answers pop up. It's a kind of Harry Potter magic the mind uses and a wonderful extraordinary ability you have all of the time.
Editor's note: This article was co-written by Dr. Carol Kershaw and Dr. Bill Wade.