It’s 3:30pm and you're in a Zoom meeting. It feels like it’s been going on for hours even though it’s only been a few minutes. You're struggling to stay engaged.

A woman falling asleep at her computer.

Without really thinking, you grab a pen and start fidgeting with it. You twirl it aimlessly under your desk while listening to the meeting. Soon you find that your focus has returned and the meeting doesn't feel quite so long.

A hand spinning a pen.

Research suggests that fidgeting (making small, repetitive movements) can help regulate attention and relieve stress.

Do you find it hard to maintain focus at work? Try some fidgeting strategies to retain your focus and boost productivity.

1. Play with a fidget toy.

fidget spinner GIF

Fidget toys are hand-held items that can be manipulated to relieve stress. One team of researchers found that preferred fidget toys tend to be:

  • Repetitive toys that click or spin

  • Tactile toys like bouncy stress balls or sticky tape

  • Sentimental toys like special stones or marbles

Flaticon Icon

Look for fidget toys that can be used quietly in the background. The best fidgeting activities are the ones you can perform without looking!


Which of these could be considered fidgeting? Select all that apply.

2. Engage your creativity

Doodle with a pen or pencil. Spontaneous doodling can help you:

  • Retain information

  • Keep you awake

  • Give your brain a break

Don't worry if you're not artistic! If doodling objects stresses you out, try drawing lines, basic shapes, and simple patterns instead.

Animated cartoon scribbles in black  and white

You can also incorporate keywords into your doodles. This can help you connect concepts without the pressure of traditional note-taking.

A person in a blue shirt seen from behind taking notes or drawing on a piece of paper.

3. Listen to music

Listening to music while working can help increase your productivity by:

  • Boosting your morale

  • Increasing your confidence

  • Helping you focus

Many people enjoy listening to classical music or soft background tunes while they work, but if you’re looking to channel your energy instead of calming it, you might just love the "Fidget House” genre of music. It’s ideal for those who like to fidget along to a beat.

Click play on the video below for a sample of "Fidget House" music.

  • Stick to music with few or no lyrics.

  • Keep the volume low. Fidgeting to music should be a background activity.

  • For slower beats that can still keep you focused, try a lofi playlist.

4. Get moving

If you just can’t sit still, combine your urge to fidget with some exercise:

  • Walk while talking on the phone

  • Bounce on an exercise ball

  • Pedal on an under-desk exercise bike

Flaticon Icon TIP: Your movement may irritate coworkers, so only pace, bounce, or pedal if you’re able to do it discreetly.

toe tap waiting GIF by New Balance

Take Action

Two men in suits saying

Do you need some fidget activities for inspiration to increase your productivity and concentration? For some fidget inspiration:


Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

Get support to take action on this Byte