‘Do nothing’: 120 seconds of… nothing

Regina Budden is the new editor-in-chief of the Washburn Review print edition. This is her first official editorial.

Regina Budden

As I browsed the CNN headlines online, I came across “Website challenges visitors to ‘do nothing'” and thought “wow, that sounds really lame.” So, of course, I clicked to read the story.

It was about a website that challenges you to do absolutely nothing on your computer for two minutes. Donothingfor2minutes.com just has a seascape and a timer. Each time you move the mouse or click the keyboard, the timer restarts.

The creator, Alex Tew, developed the website in response to a developing twitchiness that accompanies technological advancements. We’re all getting ADD, in essence. The site is supposed to challenge browsers to just relax and not think about obsessive hyper-productivity for 120 seconds.

Again, after reading the story, I thought “This is an easy concept. How silly.” To prove how utterly lame it was, I clicked on the link to the site.


There it was, scenic sunset, the gentle sound of waves. I don’t have ADD or any tech addictions, so I was fairly certain that it would be no challenge to me.


Except that behind the page that had the ocean scene, I could see my homework. And my Skype button. Plus, I noticed that TextEdit, Acrobat and PowerPoint were all up and running. I hate having applications running when they don’t serve a purpose. But I resisted the urge to close out of them and restart the timer.


It wasn’t so bad. I mean, I like to multitask, but it’s not like it affects my ability to take a break.


OK. The sea at sunset? Ultra boring. I had about six other screens open that were more productive than that. I made a face at the timer like a 3-year-old.


Besides, the wave sound wasn’t very loud. Was there a seagull? I had to resist the urge to turn up the sound. I breathed a little and relaxed. Halfway done.


I ended up doing the last 60 seconds by counting it—backward—in Spanish.

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that perhaps I am a tech addict. I can go for rest and relaxation, and let my mind wander when I want to, but for some reason, trying to not do something, anything when I’m logged onto a computer is really difficult.

I learned something from this activity. Although I don’t have ADD, I might as well when it comes to my computer use. I think online sunsets are boring after about 20 seconds, and SUPER boring after 40. I learned that my favorite numbers to say in Spanish are in the 30s, and my least favorites are in the 50s.

Most importantly, I learned that I am OK with being a little attention deficit and multi-task oriented when I’m on my computer. Because in spite of the fact that the website is supposed to make us slow down and appreciate it for two minutes, I just don’t want to. I’ll slow down when I’m done. Which I am, for this week.