Wasting Time & Why Coming Out Of Your Normality Can Teach You New Things

Don’t go to an event unless you know exactly what you will get out of it. Don’t go if it doesn’t directly relate to an immediate business need. You’ll waste time. You’ll be distracted from your target of maximising productivity. So don’t even consider it.

What could you possibly learn from random conversations and off-topic debate? How slim are the odds that you would actually hear something useful? Even slimmer that some piece of information might actually be applicable to your business today. Don’t attend. Put blinkers on. Then you will reach your goal faster.

But what if you want to reach your goal ‘better’? What then?

Might it not be useful to hear what other people do, outside our bubble of choice? Is there a chance it might spark an idea in our minds that we wouldn’t have thought of on our own? Could that mean coming back to work feeling suddenly buoyed that last week’s conundrum is now next week’s walk in the park? Don’t take the risk. No-one wants to be shot down for presenting a stupid new idea. But what if it worked? Especially if the competition has never tried it.

How will we ever know, if we don’t go?

I started up to my eyes in ‘to do’ lists, keen to attend NPWLive but feeling absolutely certain that I ‘just didn’t have the time’. Even though I am in the business of innovation and constantly on the lookout for new ideas, still the pressure is constant to focus on project delivery. It feels more sensible to stay nose to the grindstone, even when lacking inspiration than to look up and smell the roses once in a while.

I embraced the risk that listening to people speak about things outside my world would be worthwhile.

Like the many other people in AQL’s stunning catwalk venue in Leeds, I came away feeling energised and inspired. The inaugural NPWLive was a series of glimpses into the lives and development journeys of others, told in captivating terms by people with real drive and passion for what they do. I would tell you about each one of them in detail, but the NPW Podcast will do a much better job of that next week.

And besides. You had to be there.

How much of the world we hear is up to us. How much we engage in other people’s thinking is our decision.

I’m very glad I listened in.

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