05/23/2014 09:18 am ET Updated May 23, 2014

The Power Of Goofing Off

Markus Bernhard via Getty Images

I often have my most useful and unexpected ideas when I’m not trying to be productive. How many times have you seen an important connection or unravelled a stuck problem while in the shower, staring out the window, or taking a walk?

It turns out that I’m not simply justifying my lazy tendencies in believing this. There’s a fascinating recent article by Brigid Schulte at CNN, talking about the new brain science that explains why our day-dreaming moments so often lead to breakthroughs. In it. she references the work of scientist Andrew Smart, who notes that when we’re in a relaxed and positive state, the brain can turn inward, in effect, and access something brain researchers call the “default mode network”:

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