When you take breaks, how long are they? Five minutes? Ten? An hour? The longer your breaks tend to be, the more hesitant you probably are to allow yourself to take them. There are only so many hours in the day, right?
You can spend just two minutes doing absolutely nothing, and it will probably have more positive effects on your thinking and productivity than you realize. Here are five reasons to do nothing for 2 minutes.
1. It doesn’t let you use lack of time as an excuse
When we think about doing nothing, we immediately picture something drastic, like spending an entire day binge watching reruns of our favorite T.V. shows on Netflix. Doing nothing doesn’t mean we have to spend ridiculous amounts of time not doing anything. It can come in very short, yet still extremely effective, bursts.
All you have to do is stop what you are doing and sit still. Don’t look at your phone or your computer screen. Don’t even move. This method, as you can guess, only takes two minutes. You can get right back to what you are doing as soon as the two minutes are up. It’s a disruption, but a healthy and much needed one.
Doing nothing for 2 minutes also helps you realize that you have a lot more time in a day than you think you do. You have time to take a two minute break. You really do. It’s a short amount of time, and you probably spend much more time than that on your phone mindlessly scrolling through Twitter without even realizing it.
2. It forces you to problem solve
Are you good at solving problems? The truth is, you would probably be much better at it if you spend more time thinking through all possible solutions and outcomes. This is hard to do when we have a lot of different things going on at once, which is why stopping for a short amount of time and thinking is a great way to handle things.
It is important to take the time to think through a problem in full, looking at it from different angles and trying to see things from the perspectives of different people involved in the issue. This is best done when there are few to no other distractions getting in the way, such as during a quick two minute do-nothing session.
3. It helps you focus
By now, you should have figured out that when you are having a hard time focusing on a particular task, it’s probably time to try taking a break. It surprisingly doesn’t take the brain very long to refocus itself, and if you spend two minutes focusing on nothing, you should be able to dive right back into a new or previous task and focus better on it.
By the time your two minutes are up, you will be able to much more efficiently choose one task to work on next and continue focusing on that task, either until you have completed it or until it’s time for another short break.
4. It brings all your thoughts and ideas to the surface
If you have ever felt completely “blocked” while trying to brainstorm new ideas or come up with a new solution to a recurring problem, you know how frustrating it can be to feel trapped in your thoughts without being able to make any sense of them. If this is the case, you might have also experienced stepping into the shower and having a flood of new ideas hit you two minutes in.
This happens because you are forcing yourself to step away from distractions and let your brain process and think. Sitting still for just two minutes at a time will do wonders for your creativity. It will allow your brain to actually finish thoughts and lets your stream of consciousness flow freely without immediate interruptions.
This is, therefore, a great way to cure your creative block when you can’t seem to come up with anything new or make sense of what’s rolling around in your head. Just sit on things for 2 minutes. Things will come together in your mind much more quickly than you think they can.
5. It refreshes you both mentally and physically
Throughout the day, we’re constantly moving and straining our muscles. Even when we are spending a lot of the time sitting in a chair, we’re probably tense, and it’s not very likely our posture is doing us any good. Mentally, our thoughts race and we feel rushed and overwhelmed.
Stopping in the middle of the chaos, just for 2 minutes, to breathe and stretch and slow our heart rate can make us feel as if we’ve been relaxing for two full hours or more. It is time well spent, because doing the same thing over and over again for too long isn’t good for us mentally or on a physical level.
Feeling refreshed is something you would expect to experience after a good night’s sleep or a day off of work, but just 2 full minutes is still enough to at least get you through another hour or so of work before you need another break. It’s better than nothing, and definitely worth a try.
Need some help doing nothing? This website is perfect for those who can’t seem to stop opening new tabs on their computers. The timer on the screen counts down from 2 minutes and restarts each time you move your mouse. Just sit still and relax.
Doing nothing doesn’t take long to start working its magic on your mind and body, so toss out those excuses and give it a try. Doing so forces you to think critically when trying to solve problems. It improves your ability to focus and boosts your creativity as well. It also refreshes you, which is an amazing benefit for such a short interval of time.
Never feel guilty for doing nothing, at least for the next two minutes. Try it. When you read the last word of this article, just sit and think. Two minutes. That’s all it takes.