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Lawyers 'among top British daydreamers'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 10/05/13

The popular conception of lawyers as gimlet-eyed logicians, coolly calculating the best way to win a case while exercising their hands with little thumb weights, does not associate them with daydreaming or vagueness. Surely acquiring all that legal knowledge requires a sharp-edged mind, not the kind that enjoys wandering through fields, chewing grass and thinking about the meaning of life?

Not according to a new survey from Travelodge, which found that lawyers were the third top daydreamers by profession - coming in just below marketers and bankers.

While it may not be reassuring, on the surface of things, to hear that these classes - all of whom are often hired to carry out a demanding process on behalf of trusting clients - are the most likely to drift off into a fantasy at work, it could be claimed that this is actually improving their performance.

A third of respondents claimed that daydreaming helps them resolve problems and think through work-related issues, while 35 per cent suggested they often visualise future successes - a technique that has been put forward as a way to help people do well in their endeavours by psychological experts such as England and Manchester United centre-forward Wayne Rooney.

Corinne Sweet, a genuine psychologist, argued that daydreaming can actually have beneficial effects for workers.

"We process emotions, thoughts and ideas through daydreaming, and, as long as we keep in touch with reality, a few minutes of dreamy mental absence can problem solve, turn on a creative light bulb or simply relieve the stress of a busy day," she claimed.

Although some of the claims for the benefits of closing one's eyes for a moment and imagining that the humdrum throb of the office is in fact the clatter of a one-way flight to Zanzibar are somewhat grandiose, it is fair enough to point out that giving lawyers time and space to deal with their work will make sure they perform better.

As in-house lawyers deal with heavy workloads and small budgets, it will take clever management to offer them this opportunity.