What does the mind wanders toward the most?
More often than not, our current personal concerns and unresolved business—stuff we’ve got to figure out.
While mind wandering may hurt our immediate focus on some task at hand, some portion of the time it operates in the service of solving problems that matter for our lives.
We need, as paradoxical as it sounds, structured mind wandering. While our minds wander we become better at anything that depends on a flash of insight, from coming up with imaginative wordplay to inventions and original thinking.
In fact, people who are extremely adept at mental tasks that demand cognitive control and a roaring working memory—like solving complex math problems—can struggle with creative insights if they have trouble switching off their fully concentrated focus.