Some time ago I met a friend, who also owns a company specialized in outsourced mechanical machining. It was just before the Hannover Messe and, as I planned to go, I asked him to come with me. His answer was, however: “I’m sorry , I don’t have the time. I have to work”.

Do you really think that dedicating some of your time to visit a sector exhibition (in your sector) is a waste of time? That’s it’s something that takes time away from your work, your “real” work?

It may be that spending a working day at an exhibition is less demanding than one spent in your company and, all said and done, also more fun, if the sector in which we operate is the one we have a passion for. But that doesn’t make it a waste of time. Am I wrong?

Dedicating an important part of one’s time visiting exhibitions, reading, studying, attending courses or seminars and so on is VITAL.

For many reasons that I often refer to in my posts. In short, we can’t limit ourselves to actual work activities. It is vital to open up to the world round us in order to fulfill profession (and personal) growth.

I recently listened to the speech by Stefan Sagmeister, designer and owner of one of the most creative studios in New York, during a TedX in 2009. Every seven years Sagmeister takes a sabbatical year off, during which he travels in search of new inspirations, new acquaintances, new relations to bring to his work new trends, attitudes, expertise and so on.

Stefan Sagmeister’s strategy may be a little too extreme, and difficult to follow for those holding down a classic job. But

I still get shivers when I hear someone say that dedicating some of their time to studying and/or gathering information (in the more general sense) is a waste of time.

Take my situation, for example. There are moments during the day where I physiologically need to have a break, even if there’s lots of work to be done. Sometimes I go for a brief walk to clear my head, other time I read for a while. Articles, posts, and also commercial emails left unanswered or those that end up in the email post spam folder. Not always, of course, but sometimes they provide interesting information which I store somewhere in my brain and – more often than not – I tap into when the right moment comes.

Receiving masses of information can deliver remarkable results Obviously on the conditions that such information has been duly filtered.

And the same thing happens when you meet people because – contrary to what one might think – very often

the most interesting ideas come from those doing a completely job from ours.