Peter Bregman, CEO of Bregman Partners, Inc., recently returned his iPad and explained on his blog how the gadget suppresses the human capacity for creativity. He says that the iPad’s ubiquitousness of being an all-in-one device is efficient for a diversity of tasks, but dismisses itself from the specialization of functions. Task performance on the iPad reaches the point where hyper-efficiency detracts from our creative inner nature which stimulates itself from given parameters. The iPad makes it really easy for us to consume, killing boredom or downtime, potent ingredients that opens the door for creativity. It’s the ultimate consumption device that can also water down our competence to create.
“The brilliance of the iPad is that it’s the anytime-anywhere computer. On the subway. In the hall waiting for the elevator. In a car on the way to the airport. Any free moment becomes a potential iPad moment.
The iPhone can do roughly the same thing, but not exactly. Who wants to watch a movie in bed on an iPhone?
So why is this a problem? It sounds like I was super-productive. Every extra minute, I was either producing or consuming.
But something — more than just sleep, though that’s critical too — is lost in the busyness. Something too valuable to lose.
Being bored is a precious thing, a state of mind we should pursue. Once boredom sets in, our minds begin to wander, looking for something exciting, something interesting to land on. And that’s where creativity arises.
My best ideas come to me when I am unproductive. When I am running but not listening to my iPod. When I am sitting, doing nothing, waiting for someone. When I am lying in bed as my mind wanders before falling to sleep. These “wasted” moments, moments not filled with anything in particular, are vital.
They are the moments in which we, often unconsciously, organize our minds, make sense of our lives, and connect the dots. They’re the moments in which we talk to ourselves. And listen.
To lose those moments, to replace them with tasks and efficiency, is a mistake. What’s worse is that we don’t just lose them. We actively throw them away.”