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.
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.
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 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
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:
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.
You can also incorporate keywords into your doodles. This can help you connect concepts without the pressure of traditional note-taking.
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.
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
TIP: Your movement may irritate coworkers, so only pace, bounce, or pedal if you’re able to do it discreetly.
Do you need some fidget activities for inspiration to increase your productivity and concentration? For some fidget inspiration: