I find it very hard to do nothing.
I think I’ve always been this way to some extent, but each year it seems to get a little worse.
Part of the story is simply about how our lives seem to get busier and busier as we age.
Another factor in the activity narrative is the constant flow of novel technologies that promise productivity and entertainment at any time and in any place in a dozen ways at once.
I love wireless Internet, my laptop, my iPhone, my dual computer screens at work, but they do take a toll. I feel constantly compelled to use them.
Didn’t I use to be able to sit and watch a football game without writing a blog post? Wasn’t I once able to walk to the bathroom at a restaurant without scanning through emails on my phone or wait at a subway stop without reading op-eds or phoning a friend or listening to music?
Enter Alex Tew’s new website “Do Nothing for 2 Minutes.”
As the Huffington Post reports,
The new site shows a photograph of the ocean at sunset and plays the sound of waves crashing on a beach. “Just relax and listen to the waves,” it instructs. “Don’t touch your mouse or keyboard.” If you don’t follow the instructions and begin to fidget, type, scroll, or move your mouse, the two-minute timer resets itself and a red “FAIL” appears on the screen.
It’s depressing to think that I need the help of a website and a timer to take two minutes out of my day to contemplate, but perhaps I should just face up to the fact that I’m sick, sick man. And maybe with a little practice, I can build in a few spontaneous pauses into my routine . . .
Try the new site out for yourself right here.
* * *
For a sample of related Situationist posts, see