When working at home or in a hastily reconfigured space to accommodate remote functions, almost everything can now be considered a distraction. From noise to interruptions of all sorts, suddenly this is the new normal and getting back on track isn’t always a simple matter of gutting it out and refocusing. Too many trips to the refrigerator or on-line shopping is a gateway to divided attention and diminished creativity. Devising new survival techniques to harness your inventiveness can bring you back to old school basics and the image of the traditional workspace.
Over the years we’ve all seen various desk objects that were more than likely gifts from someone who had no idea what to get, opting instead for a gender neutral item, suitable for work space. Brookstone and Sharper Image were at the head of the curve for categorizing and promoting this “New Age” like approach to serenity, focus, and creativity, enhanced by these purchases. I scoffed at the idea as even handling some of the doodads seemed excessive and at the very least, dust collectors. Would anyone buy one for him/herself?
Well, “bah-humbug” and fast forward to new research and the power of these small distractions. According to studies done at the NYU School of Engineering, playing with everyday objects at work may boost creativity and help workers de-stress and stay on top of their mental game. Perhaps we all engage in some hand movement, tapping a pen or playing with a paper clip, but with more of us keyboarding and not needing pages to gather, what else might we turn to? Researchers gave some of the following as examples that are less likely to drive your co-workers too crazy. This means NO bubble wrap popping!
1. Rubber toy: Squeezing one helps vent frustration and lighten the mood
2. Pen: Clicking a retractable point rapidly and repeatedly can stimulate the mind just enough to sustain attention through mundane tasks
3. Magnets: Fiddling with smooth, plastic coated magnets from a dry-erase board provides tactile stimulation and keeps the hands busy
4. Executive Sandbox: Playing with sand is relaxing and can spark conversation. A compact set-up combines an easy to handle blend of sand and polymer
5. Smooth Stones: Running the hand over a surface that is pleasing or soothing to the touch can evoke a meditative state and help screen out external stimuli
6. Slinky: Stretching and bending a wire coil during long, tedious conference calls can keep the mind busy enough to avoid bigger distractions like e-mail.
7. Coat Toggle: Pressing and releasing a spring-loaded device provides a satisfying tactile experience that can stimulate creative problem solving.
What is your immediate goal? Try one and see if it’s a good match for you.
Changing behaviors means identifying what’s not working and shift or replace with a new behavior. If fidgeting isn’t the answer, perhaps there’s more about your work that isn’t satisfying and causes you to be easily distracted. This makes it the ideal time to engage the support of a career coach with experience in helping professionals achieve better, faster, results. At KICKSTART Your Transition we offer a broad range of services to fit your needs