Over on the Wall Street Journal’s website today, Dilbert creator Scott Adams (he’s not just a pictures guy, folks) has written a piece on the benefits of boredom, along with an obligatory hilarious cartoon.

Here’s what I got from the story when I took (gulp) 20 minutes to read it and mull it over:

In our constantly ‘connected’ workplace, most of us take the office with us everywhere we go. We get twitchy like a caffeine addict who’s stranded 200 miles from a Starbucks if we can’t check our e-mail every five minutes and try to cram our days with so much activity that we barely have time to, well, read today’s Dilbert.

And what is the fruit of this cult of busy? A lack of strategic thinking, a dearth of innovation, and the loss of true innovation.”Boredom,” or, as we could call it in our computer lingo-obsessed culture, “downtime” gives the mind time to do what it’s supposed to: think!

Imagine that! Rather than existing in this, and IĀ  borrow this phrase from a dear colleague, “whack-a-mole” business culture where we are scurrying around like hard-driving worker ants trying, Mr. Adams suggests that we make time for boredom.

Why? So we can reflect on what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we should be doing. To examine problems and think about them in new ways. To create silence and see what new ideas pop into our brains – if we haven’t popped them with too much instant messaging, texting and work-work-work, of course.

Some companies have institutionalized taking time to think – you may have heard of Google and Apple. So have truly innovativeĀ  business leaders, like Mr. Howard Schultz of Starbucks (see his latest book) and Mr. Bill Gates of Microsoft/The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Works for them, and we’re trying to follow their lead at Access. How about you?

 

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