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Do You Zone-Out 46.9% of The Time (at your office)?

Although I am a trained Contrarian (law school) I have done the research about Mind-Wandering, Day-Dreaming and Zoning-Out. Result: you and I are OOI (Out Of It) a minimum of 30% (school) to 47% of the time (career). Weird.

Google: the journal: Science by Daniel T. Gilbert, Harvard University, Nov. 2010.

So What

Mind Wandering causes a lack of attention and loss of comprehension in the here-and-now. We are unaware of being OOI (out-of-it). Another example of Zoning-Out (unaware) is discovering I was dramatically overweight. I was dumbfounded when my doctor gave me scale reading.

How could I not know? I nonconsciously chose to not weigh myself in two-years. Sigmund Freud would call it my defense mechanism to dieting.  Homo sapiens are masked from noticing the reality of our insistent Daydreaming by being actively engaged in other distracting activities. Like what? Three-things.

a) setting long-term goals and evaluating our success and failure.
b) receiving insights and intuitions about our present activities.
c) balancing our mind between our conscious and non-conscious information flow, V-A-K ( Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic – feeling ).


When you see other people blinking their eyes repetitively, they are shutting out new information from entering their mind. They are mentally snoozing while you are explaining. Blinking is a direct result of Mind-Wandering (Day Dreaming and Zoning-Out). It is a physical wall (barrier) erected between the world and us.

We are either on-task or OOI (out-of-it) and it involves both your mind and physical body (eyes). Inquiring Minds need to know: we blink an average of 15 times per minute, one every four-second.

A blink last one-tenth of a second, but while reading a book our non-conscious brain reduces blinking to 3-5 times per minute. The greater your concentration, the less your eyes blink away.

Secret of Power Attention (Concentration)

This strategy is baby-easy and a game. Make it part of your long-term memory and you will improve your attention and concentration up to 47% – very noticible.

We call it – Six WHs and a How – Please focus on remembering and using the following mental-images for Who? What? When? Where? Why? Which? How?

1. Who? Mentally picture an owl and remember his limited vocabulary. Associated the wise old owl with the Question – Who?
2. What? Pick out the word Hat from the word – What? Create a mental image now. When you see the word What? your mind associates it with Hat.
3. When? Now mentally withdraw the word Hen from the word – When? From now on choose to always associate a egg-laying hen when you see or hear the word When?
4. Where? Just imagine a hare (rabbit) when you see or hear the word Where? Pull it out of the magician’s bag – a Hare out of Where? Sound-alike, right? See it in your mind’s eye.
5. Why? Let the word be a sound-alike. Why? reminds you of Eye. Why? answers our need for meaning with our all-seeing eye.
6. Which? automatically associate the word Which? with the Halloween Witch riding her broomstick. Easy as pie, right?
7. How? sounds like Cow, right? Do it, don’t suppress your 12-year old inner-child – make a mooing sound. Associate How? with the sound-alike noun – Cow.

So What

When you ask questions of yourself of what you hear or read – it’s called Thinking- (summarizing-abstracting). Wait. When you are engaged in thinking with your 3-pound coconut – linking your left and right hemispheres, conscious and non-conscious, and reason and emotion, you are planning and evaluating – not Zoning-Out.

What happens? Questioning avoids Mind-Wandering, Zoning-Out, and Day Dreaming, right? It is a question of timing. When you Day Dream at the office – you are avoiding business interactions, and Mind-Wandering at school destroys learning. Day-Dreaming 47% of the time is way too wasteful.

Ask and answer your – Six-Wh’s and How questions on paper and you own an important new strategy for personal growth. It reduces blinking and Day-Dreaming down to only 10-15% instead of 47%.

Now mentally review and say aloud the visual substitutes for the Six Whs and a How. Who? is the —? Why? is what part of your anatomy? How? reminds you of what barnyard creature?

A Human Mind

A human mind is a Wandering (Day Dreaming, Zoning-Out) Mind. So what? Get this: a wandering mind is an Unhappy mind. When we mind-wander we are
using our Default thinking system. Either concentrate or Day -Dream – decide.


Did you know that the average professional and executive Regress – lose their place on the page they are reading – 6-7 times per page. It causes a loss of attention, comprehension, and causes lousy long-term memory. Learning drops like a rock up to 55% – yes really.

“Our mental lives are pervaded to remarkable degree, to NOT being present.”


Humans are happiest during these three activities:

1. Making love – we are really present.
2. Active exercising.
3. Engaging in pleasant conversations.

We are LEAST happy doing these three things. Google it. Working- Resting-Computing. If it feels like WORK, we take it as being controlled by others, and we hate that feeling.

The greater percentage of Mind-Wandering, the less happiness we bring into our lives. We are hardwired to being-present, and not having a competition between switch back and forth from being in-the-moment and day-dreaming.


Our goal is to pay attention, concentrate on being in the here-and-now, and quickly becoming aware of our Mind-Wandering, Day Dreaming and Zoning-Out. Once you are aware of how much you are out-of-it, activate your Six-Whs and How, and get back on track.

Remember: Mind-Wandering is a major cause of our unhappiness. It is something you can physically and mentally do something about it. Learn now.

Last point: you are wasting a couple of hours daily by reading and learning like a snail. Speed Reading can eliminate Subvocalization (hearing each word you read: in-your-mind) and Regression – losing your place on the page and loss of concentration, both required for effective long-term memory.

Contact us for a free, no-strings-attached, How-To report on speed reading hbw@speedlearning.org

See ya,

copyright © H. Bernard Wechsler, 2010 – www.speedlearning.org

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