Five Minute Breaks

About two weeks ago, I posted this in a few places:

Dear Lazy Plus,

For a few days now I’ve started to take regular, 5-minute breaks during work. They are literally 5-minute breaks, with a timer running on my phone. I make a cup of tea, take a few sips, and di-ding! I’m heading back to my desk.

Thing is, there’s only so many times making tea is enjoyable. Or any beverage, for that matter.

I’m looking for something else to do in these 5-minute breaks. Ideally, something that isn’t staring at my phone, or involving any kind of screen. One thing I tried is juggling 3 balls. I’m not very good at it, which is great, because I feel that I’m improving slightly. But I’d like to add more activities. Any ideas?

Here’s the compilation of answers I’ve received:

  • Music room [I play bass]
  • Take a 5 minute nap on a bean bag
  • Doodle
  • Stairs
  • Rubik’s cube
  • Meditation (breathing, etc)
  • Do nothing, just relax, maybe reflect on what you did since the last break and why what you’re going to do next matters
  • Juggling a squash ball [I was offered instructions on how to do it]
  • Basic wrist / arm stretches
  • Go strike a conversation with someone on another floor
  • Origami. Yodeling. Bonsai. Learning to play the xylophone. Chemistry experiments. Psychological experiments.
  • Push-ups. Skipping rope. Chin-ups. Hold a pillar bridge/plank for 5 mins. Balance things on your head. Meditate. Journal.
  • Take up smoking [plus a suggestion of a smoking companion, haha]
  • Do two things with a Mobius strip. Do one thing with a piece of knot theory.
  • Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing, five minutes of that a day will revolutionize your life.
  • Work on doing impressions.

So far, the easiest thing to do, was striking a conversation with whomever happened to be around the micro kitchen. I’ve talked to several people who I’ve just been passing in the corridor without even a greeting. Now I know their names and a little bit about them. It was satisfying. It will take me time to try out the other ones.



When in front of a new task, do you believe that you “have” it and you only need to use or show it? Or do you believe that it’s the matter of effort you put into it?

Prisoner’s dilemma and bullying

Prisoner’s Dilemma is one of the classical games in game theory. It’s an interesting abstraction of a whole class of situations, where two parties can choose between cooperative and non-cooperative behavior. It’s a kind of game where win-win and lose-lose result can be achieved. It doesn’t apply to situations like negotiating a price, where one party’s loss is another’s gain; prisoner’s dilemma applies to situation where two parties form a team and work together.

Continue reading “Prisoner’s dilemma and bullying”

Sitting straight

Joanna sent me a link to an article about sitting straight at the desk. It says that sitting straight is bad for backs. Why?

Levent Caglar from the charity BackCare, added: “In general, opening up the angle between the trunk and the thighs in a seated posture is a good idea and it will improve the shape of the spine, making it more like the natural S-shape in a standing posture”.

I disagree with the article, or rather with the conclusion. Sitting straight is good for back. The reason for the researchers to say otherwise is that most of people can’t keep their lower spine in the right position. It’s best to show an example, perhaps with a little exaggeration:

When sitting like this, the spine has its natural, S-like shape. It’s seemingly easy, but in fact it’s not. Most of Europeans can’t do this. And for sure, most of them can’t do that for more than just few minutes.

Most of the people, to set their spine in S-shape, need to lean back. Paraphrasing the article, I would say: Being stiff ‘bad for backs’.