By Grace Gilson
Each day, I go to https://www.nytimes.com/crosswords and play all three levels of Sudoku: Easy, Medium, and Hard. I spend approximately five minutes on the easy level, ten minutes on the medium level, and fifteen minutes on the hard level. That is twenty minutes each day spent doing, well, nothing. I also make an effort every day to complete the daily wordle puzzle, at https://www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/, which takes approximately two minutes. And 2048. I could spend hours on 2048. Although more realistically, I probably spend a collective twenty minutes a day on the mindless game. My best score is 4096.
All of this adds up to about forty-five minutes each day that I spend doing things that are entirely unproductive. Sometimes, I think of all the other things that I could be doing during these forty-five careless minutes. I could be working on some long-term projects, or I could be reading a book. There are about a million things I could be doing that are more productive. But, this is not a habit I am trying to break. Each day, I finish my homework by 8:30pm, playing a sport or going to my lab for SREP. And, for the last month, I have found time to read a chapter of a book I am reading outside of school each night. Everything else I do is something that has a purpose, be it learning, being active, or doing research. But, Sudoku, Wordle, and 2048 don’t have a clear purpose. Actually, their purpose is a bit contradictory. Their purpose is being useless, and lacking purpose. If I spent every single minute of every single day doing something that is useful, I would be a machine.
So, I think that each day, it is important to do something that gives your brain a break. The break makes everything more doable, in the same way a rest day is essential in sports. In order to not become burned out, like a broken machine, it is necessary to let your brain rest by doing something you enjoy doing for the purpose only of doing it. I feel it helps my brain process things in the background because it is not flooded with new and confusing information.
For me, taking some time to find something that helps your brain process the world makes all the difference.