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In a thread I read earlier today, daydreaming was mentioned - specifically in the sense that it was something done... more than average, we'll say. Which, of course, got me thinking:

The term "daydreaming" can be inaccurate and really there aren't many synonyms that don't have a negative connotation. In reality, much of my best work is conceived from the time in my head, when I've shutout the outside world and let the ol' brain off the leash.

YET some of that time is laziness or escapist. Because seriously, sometimes whatever is happening in real life is just boring.

Given this, I decided to figure out how much of my daydreaming time is actually productive and how much is just creating a fantasy land/brain movie that is preferable to the outside world.

So I would ask you:

Define daydreaming and compare/contrast with other nomenclatures. What would your preferred word/term be?

On average, how much time would you say you spend daydreaming? Breakdown as you please - hours, percentage, etc.

What situations cause you to daydream?

What is the composition of that daydreaming time? Categorize as you please - I think using your own words will be more illustrative.

How productive do you find this time to be? Factors to consider: how many good ideas come out of it? Do you feel negatively about it afterwards or what is the positive:negative ratio?

My response:

Daydreaming to me means (usually) choosing to divert your attention to what's going on in your head vs the outside world - it does not, imo, designate the nature of what is going on in your head. Most similar words paint a picture of someone who lives in a fantasy land, which comes across as escapist and is attributed to an aversion to productivity and being lazy and unrealistic. I prefer "being in my head" but for this exercise, will just stick with daydreaming.

On an average day I am awake for 15 hours. I would say I daydream up to 5 hours/day, which sounds like a lot when I write it out next to waking hours. Sometimes in large chunks, sometimes in little snippets. No consistency.

A decent portion of my working day is spent waiting for machines to do (or not do) things so that's a prime daydreaming time. When I wake up, maybe the first half hour. As I am trying to fall asleep (though, technically it's night?!) I usually daydream/fantasize until I fall asleep. On weekends, I think I daydream less, actually. I am able to do what genuinely stimulates me when I want to so I don't feel as much of a draw to ignore the outside world. Still, if that stimulus drags e.g. boring section of a book, uninteresting part of a movie, etc., I almost automatically toggle over to my "inner world" without realizing it. I guess I daydream to engage/stimulate my brain because I can be somewhat blase when dealing with the predictability of real life. A good amount of the time, life feels like a rerun and I need to entertain myself somehow.

Composition:
15% Productive work ideas - planning out improvements and alternatives. Second most common at work.
30% Future life planning - not always realistic but imagining what I want and devising how to get there. > 2 years
15% Pure fantasy - things that will likely never happen but it makes me happy to think about it. Most common at work.
30% Wondering about random things + analyzing - what ifs, how comes, internal debates, examinations, etc.
10% Regular life troubleshooting - simulating/tweaking more immediate life situations. < 2 years

It is one of my favorite things. In fact, a lot of times when I'm yanked out of it, I can be a little salty. It's like having cold water dumped on me. Like I said, a lot of my best and/or well-planned ideas come from just being in my head for hours at a time. The plan is mostly hammered out and generally needs to be tinkered with during the execution stage and I love that. I love being able to just go and do and not have to break that momentum/rush I get from achieving/implementing.
 

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Daydreaming - imagining how things could have been or could be, exploring the consequences of theoretical what ifs, fantasising. I'm fine with daydreaming as a term. I agree that it has a negative connotation, but I think it's well deserved. See my breakdown analysis.

I have absolutely no idea how much time I spend daydreaming, but I feel like I don't do it too much.

My daydreaming mode is usually triggered by external factors. Typically a situation or a conversation that didn't go the way I expected or hoped.

Composition:
  • 0% productive ideas
  • 0% future planning
  • 0% serious past reflection
  • 0% troubleshooting
  • 100% pure fantasy which consists of probably 90% imaginary conversations with real people and about 10% imaginary actions related to real people
I imagine my daydreams are micro Ti-Ni loops. I never remember anything I daydream about, so I can't say if it affects my decisions in any way, but my feeling is that it doesn't do so significantly. Full disclaimer: I've never read anything serious about Ti-Ni loops, so you could say that this is me daydreaming about what a Ti-Ni loop feels like.

The interesting thing about my daydreaming is that it always concerns relationships with other people. I guess that makes me an extrovert in my head. However I've never had a real life situation play out the way it did in a daydream. Or at the very least if I had, I had already forgotten about the daydream.

Being a sensor I much prefer real life to dreamland. Therefore if I want to think about something productive I'd like to think about it while I'm doing it. This never works with people IRL - I can't think quickly enough to avoid awkward pauses. Which I guess answers my own question why I always daydream about people - I can always undo anything I've said or done in dreamland without any consequences. Convenient!
 

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Must be that Fi.


I'm ISTJ and that Fi is so annoying, I daydream about relationships and how it will affect me.

I suspect for INTJ it's similar but slightly different cause Inferior Se
 

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Define daydreaming and compare/contrast with other nomenclatures. What would your preferred word/term be?

I think I experience daydreaming and "being in my head" as somewhat connected but different. Daydreaming for me is almost always pure escapism, but i also spend a lot of time being in my head while I'm processing information/problem solving/planning. The time spent in my head is typically directly related to trying to improve my life/current situation. I tend to daydream more when I'm struggling to cope.


On average, how much time would you say you spend daydreaming? Breakdown as you please - hours, percentage, etc.

Daydreaming: idk...maybe like 5% on average, but seems to be very dependent on stress level.
In my head: Maybe 30-50% of my waking time, depending on how attentive I need to be of my surroundings and how much I'm required to directly engage with my environment.


What situations cause you to daydream?

daydreaming: too much stress
In my head: whenever I'm working on a problem, I tend to steal moments to think about it. Driving in my car to/from work, walking, showering, pretty much any physical activity that I can put on autopilot I'm able to jump into my headspace. It's about as close to "multitasking" as I can get.




What is the composition of that daydreaming time? Categorize as you please - I think using your own words will be more illustrative.

Kind of depends on what I'm working on. It could be how I intend to move forward with a personal project that's hit a snag that I'm trying to work around, could be trying to solve a problem at work, a problem with a person, trying to solve a difficult puzzle (like games of mafia), or sorting out logistics, weighing my options between choices, trying to predict how a situation will turn out given certain knowns, trying to come up with possible pitfalls in my plan that will need to be addressed.




How productive do you find this time to be? Factors to consider: how many good ideas come out of it? Do you feel negatively about it afterwards or what is the positive:negative ratio?

I don't know if the process itself is particularly productive in the moment, since realizations tend to come later, out of the blue. But I do think that convincing my brain that this is the task I'd like it to be focused on helps. With the exception of logistics, I rarely "work out" a solution. I know when I don't have enough time in my head to work on things, I'm more tired. But I also find that if I focus too much on something, I end up spinning my wheels, so balance is important. It's so much a part of my day to day that I don't really notice it. I do notice when someone intentionally snaps me out of my headspace and I find that uncomfortable/irritating, almost like being repeatedly interrupted in a conversation.
 
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Define daydreaming and compare/contrast with other nomenclatures. What would your preferred word/term be?
To me, daydreaming refers to a contemplative state wherein I think about matters of non-immediate importance and step out of sync with my material world. This is different from merely being "in my head", as that is compatible with active awareness of my immediate surroundings. I am in my head almost all the time, but I am not always daydreaming.

On average, how much time would you say you spend daydreaming? Breakdown as you please - hours, percentage, etc.
I probably daydream 2-3 hours a day.

What situations cause you to daydream?
I usually daydream when I am walking or lying in bed. Daydreaming in other instances is rare.

What is the composition of that daydreaming time? Categorize as you please - I think using your own words will be more illustrative.
Most often I daydream about specific issues of interest to me, working out details and considering possible arguments and explanations. Next most is considering future possibilities, including where I will be and what I should prioritize. If my plans have been undermined somehow, I will focus on building new plans. If I am confronted with difficult tasks at work, I will use the time to consider solutions.

How productive do you find this time to be? Factors to consider: how many good ideas come out of it? Do you feel negatively about it afterwards or what is the positive:negative ratio?
Not as productive as I would like, mainly because I spend a large portion of it on matters of academic interest. When I actually focus on matters of pressing importance, I tend to find it very productive. I often generate important work-related insights in this fashion.
 

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I have never thought that I ‘daydream’ at all...I suppose that I think about ‘real’ stuff all the time. I suppose zoning out activities like playing games or knitting while chewing over a problem in the background CPU might be counted as time in my head, and I have the introvert’s need for recharging alone time...but I’ve never been able to imagine a different ending for a book, for example, or imagine something completely new, or invent a new and believable character and their background story, food preferences, emotional world and background...those being the sorts of activities I associate with the word ‘daydreaming’. Ymmv.
 

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sometimes i throw random scenarios in my head, of things in the near/distant future that may pan out. kind of like a way of contingency planning, seeing what i'd have to do in each scenario, if i'd be able to savage the situation/myself.

in a moving pictures mode; imagine a movie scene playing without the sound.

some of these scenarios are farfetched, hence 'daydreaming'

i do this a lot...haven't yet been able to quantify it...although that would be interesting.
 
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