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Look up

While you’re reading this, what might you have missed? Lucy ponders over the time we spend looking at our devices, but don’t switch them off just yet if you’d like to know her thoughts on this.

As I sit on the train, I’m wondering what to write this month’s blog about, and I look around for inspiration. Sure enough, I’m soon reminded about an article I read recently about people’s tendency to spend too much time looking at devices, particularly on public transport. Even though it’s a dawn train and there are a fair number of passengers dozing, those who aren’t are mostly watching, listening or tapping keys (ooh, there I am, a tapper).

The article said that we don’t take enough time to see things. Apparently having a good look round can be so helpful that executives are taking to walking about the streets to help their thinking. OK, maybe not in their droves, but a small number are said to be finding this really beneficial.

The article posed the question whether the improved thinking actually came from the looking and seeing or the walking itself. A recent study by researchers from Stanford University in California found that creative output went up by a whopping 60% while walking, but interestingly, it didn’t matter whether the walking was indoors or outdoors.

As my idea for this blog came from taking a good look around me, albeit in the confines of the railway carriage, I have to give some credit to the idea of taking inspiration from our surroundings.

The accessibility of information now is phenomenal; everybody knows so much these days. Newspaper sales may be declining but I think we’re better informed about events in the world than ever before. We don’t just get to catch up with what’s happening whenever we want, wherever we are, but we can also find out what people are thinking about what’s happening too. How much are we missing by being so knowledgeable?

A fabulous video has been doing the rounds recently. Called ‘look up’, it encourages people to take some time out from peering down at their screens. If you haven’t seen it yet, I thoroughly recommend you check it out (after you’ve finished reading this, of course).

So what we can take from this? (Because we like a blog with a moral). Could it be that we should try ditching the office, get on our feet and step outside more? Walking meetings or just some contemplation time in new surroundings perhaps? For me, I think it’ll be about being mindful not to be so engrossed in what’s going on elsewhere that what’s happening right now in my own world passes me by.

So, on that note, I’m going to shut down my laptop and watch the scenery flashing past my train window. Who knows what I might see!

Lucy

 

Footnote: On reaching my destination after this journey, I arrived at my client’s to deliver some leadership training, to find out there had been a double room booking and for a couple of hours, the group of managers I was working with had no base. So we headed to the park and walked in the sunshine while we discussed a few topics. Everyone agreed it’d been a great thing to do, albeit unplanned. What unexpected but pleasant irony after that morning’s blog musings.


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