2017 was the year of the fidget spinner. This three-toed toy balanced on a ball bearing took off unexpectedly, and it fast became the gadget no one could avoid.
Fidget spinners took over the world in a way only other absolutely ridiculous toy trends have in years and decades past. Kids flocked to fidget spinners. After all, this spinning toy had the brightly colored, kid-friendly allure of a Tamagotchi, the distracting movement of a Furby, and the shelf life of Beanie Babies (or so teachers everywhere hoped).
Yet there was something different about the fidget spinner: it captivated adults, too. Fidget spinners were one of 2017’s most-searched terms on Google, according to Buzzfeed News. Take a look at the desks throughout your company’s office space: how many of your coworkers have a fidget spinner sitting on their desks? Most likely, you’ll find one hiding in every cubicle (Fun fact: one of my coworkers actually threw a temper tantrum when someone moved her fidget spinner).
As 2018 kicks off, most people–especially educators–are crossing their fingers that fidget spinners fast become a toy of the past. Yet for many of us, there’s no reason to send the fidget spinner to the toy graveyard.
Yes, they’re distracting. Yes, they’re horribly frustrating, especially if you’re trying to teach a room filled with children. Yes, they’re silly pieces of plastic. But fidget spinners should stick around for 2018.
Fidget spinners are so popular because they capture one of the most important facets of productivity: distraction.
When we’re working on a mundane or dull project, our brains start to tune out. They need something new, something stimulating. If our brains don’t get that, they wander and we, in turn, struggle to complete the task at hand. Crunching numbers all day? You’ll lose focus. Typing over and over for hours? You’ll be drawn away from your computer screen.
A fidget spinner, however, lets the brain give in to distraction while keeping us focused on a given assignment. Let your brain run wild, exploring the fun of a spinning toy (or even just the tapping of your fingers on your desk’s surface), and you’ll be more motivated to get your work done.
Want to know more? Check out Fidget!, which delves into detail about why our brains crave distraction and frequent fidgeting to accomplish boring tasks.
So, while the fidget spinner is a source of annoyance, it’s also a great tool. It improves productivity, allows us to give in just a little bit to distraction, and perks up a sleepy mind. Grab your fidget spinner and get ready to be even more productive in 2018!