Give It Two Minutes

Here’s one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten when dealing with technology: “You’ve got to give it two minutes.”

Our first reaction when we don’t see an immediate response to our click with a mouse or our touch on a touch screen is to keep clicking or tapping until we get some indication that something is happening. The problem with that is that each click or tap tells the program to perform the action again. So instead of telling your browser to open once, you’ve told it to open ten times, giving it ten commands to process instead of one. If the program was running a little slow in the first place, giving it ten extra actions to perform is only going to make it go a lot slower.

As a very wise expert in non-linear editing told me back in the late 1990s, “Your computer is fast, but not as fast as your brain. People tend to keep clicking (tapping was still off in the future then) because the screen isn’t reacting as fast as their mind is going. Truth is if clicking on it once doesn’t make it happen — clicking ten times isn’t going to make it happen either.

So if something seems to be slow and you’re tempted to click or tap in rapid succession, instead just remove your hands from the mouse or screen for at least two minutes. And I mean two actual minutes. Count them, time them. Give it the full 120 seconds. That doesn’t always help. But you will be surprised at how many times it does.