person zoning out
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When was the last time you put “Have a great idea” on your to-do list? I’m willing to bet never—because ideas don’t usually come when you’re zeroed in on the task at hand.

In this Science of Us video, we learn about how zoning out in that time between tasks (or even when you’re not fully focused during them) is essential to creativity and idea generation. Apparently, the human mind isn’t built for a constant state of focusing. In fact, when you let your mind wander, it’s pulled toward “unresolved issues and future goals,” where “creative insight happens.”

So, next time you’re performing routine tasks and find your brain wandering—let it. You might just figure out what to buy for your friend’s birthday, or how to resolve a conflict with a co-worker, or if you’re very lucky, how to solve all your company’s problems .