Doing Nothing



Doing nothing is not as popular as it should be. Many famous people have weighed in on this subject – most of them vehemently against the idea.  For instance:

“Doing nothing gets you nothing.” – Sean Reichle

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” – George Bernard Shaw

“To do nothing is the way to be nothing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

But I tend to agree with Mortimer Adler, who said, “You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.” Now, neither he nor I are talking about going off to a desert island for an extended period of time. We are advocating occasional, short breaks to re-center yourself.

I know that you have deadlines and multiple tasks to finish as soon as humanly possible, right? Well, sometimes a short break of just a couple of minutes can help you increase your productivity and lessen the errors you might make if you are completely stressed out. Most of us know when we are at that point and that we should take a quick breather before all our mental reserves are consumed.

Although not quite as good as 20 minutes of meditation, the two-minute break at your desk can be a lifesaver. But it is hard to do nothing for two minutes. So, that’s today’s challenge. Can you do it?

You’re going to go to this website, where you will see a relaxing photo of the ocean and will hear waves crashing on the shore.  The catch: you must not touch your keyboard or your mouse for two minutes. If you do, the two minute timer resets. Go try it out, them come back and tell us about it. Did it work for you? Feeling a little clearer?


  1. Hello Harry,

    I agree. There are times when you should do nothing. If you are stressed and pressed it is hard for you to concentrate on doing things that need to be done productively. Taking a break is a great brain refresher.

    Our minds and bodies need rests. There is nothing like taking a much needed break.

    I went to the website and took the 2 minute break. It was very relaxing. I enjoyed it!

    Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Maketta recently posted…How To Save Money In Your Internet Marketing BusinessMy Profile

  2. Harry,

    This is one of my most valuable productivity tricks. I am always amazed what a couple minutes of Nothing can do for my writing and my attitude.

    Sometimes all it takes is 10 deep breaths to help me jump over the writer’s block that has been frustrating me so.

    Oddly, this is usually at the bottom of my list of things to try when I get stuck or frustrated.
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    • Hello Harry,

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  3. Hi Harry,
    Doing nothing for minutes could be a live saver for many. It has worked for me in the past.

    I had to or have to take a break from mental and physical tasks to relax the body and mind.

    After such moments, I end up refreshed, relaxed and rejuvenated to do mental and physical work with all vigor!

    “Doing nothing” is not popular with many achievers and advisers but it is embedded in the psyche and plans of those who have success stories to tell.

  4. Hi Harry,
    Doing nothing doesn’t mean living like a hermit. It should be a time to refresh.

    Naturally, there are times when it just necessary to ‘do nothing’ because that is what the body and mind wants.

    Ignoring this time will mean ignoring the natural call of the body and mind to refresh and reposition to boost productivity!

    This is a good reminder!

  5. Hey Harry,
    Even in the peak of the busiest hassles, a time of reflection is needed. For me, a time to do nothing is simply a time to “meditate”. I allow my mind to float freely. This brings about freshness and creativity.

    Doing nothing doesn’t really mean being idle, it simply means refreshing the mind and soul for better productivity!

  6. Hi Harry,

    Thanks for the article. In our busy crazy lives especially today, I think it’s becoming more and more important to do nothing for a couple minutes to just relax and think.

    It’s in these important times in my life where I have discovered things that I need to improve on, things I need to do better on, etc. If it weren’t for these times than I wouldn’t be the person I am today.