You’ve probably seen them everywhere by now. In memes online and sold on the street. They’re supposed to help kids concentrate. Apparently, the lady that invented them got screwed over and they’ve been banned in schools across the country. A week ago, I bought mine while walking from the train to my office to see what the fuss was all about. Don’t judge me, but I’m kind of addicted.
I brought it to work for a week, and here’s what I what I love:
It expresses my personality. With a fidget spinner, I can be whoever I want to be. Fidget spinners come in every color and design you can think of and can make whatever statement you want. Whether you’re a nonprofit exec showing love for your favorite basketball team or a finance bro unleashing your inner diva with hot pink and sparkles, there’s a fidget spinner for everyone. Pick the one that’s right for you. Mine is camo-horse print a.k.a “urban explorer.”
It encourages play. Play is just as important for adults as it is for kids. According to psychologist Scott G. Eberle, Ph.D., “We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up.” Carving out time for play is essential for problem-solving, creativity, and relationships. I found that my fidget spinner brings me spontaneous joy, especially when I share it with others around the office. In his book Play, psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, sees play as a “state of being…purposeless, fun and pleasurable.” Focusing on an actual experience, even just for a few minutes, rather than accomplishing a goal, is the key to being #mindful.
It helps me concentrate. If you’re someone who brings your phone to meetings, try bringing a fidget spinner instead. I quickly realized that my phone checking was more of a physical compulsion than an earnest effort to be productive. Think about it. Beyond what’s on the screen, phones give us tactile rewards for every interaction. They’re smooth and symmetrical, designed to vibrate or light up at the slightest movement or button push. They’re basically toys. My fidget spinner satisfies that same need for physical stimulation without breaking my concentration. Even at my desk, giving the fidget spinner a few whirls instead of opening a new chrome tab keeps me on task.
But nothing is perfect. To get the most out of your fidget spinner, avoid these common pitfalls:
Don’t attempt tricks. This is the crucial part. I realized quickly that pushing my fidget spinner skills to their limits is for after-hours only. Having a fidget spinner smash my into my keyboard or launch across the room is distracting to others and the benefits are canceled out.
Don’t bring it home. Leave your fidget spinner at work so you don’t get sick of it. There’s no need to saturate your nights or weekends with spinning. Also, you don’t want to risk losing it and having to buy a replacement, thus doubling your investment.
Don’t talk about it. There’s really not much to say. Don’t bring it up as a topic of conversation. Have it be your little secret. Focus on maintaining a healthy relationship between you and your fidget spinner and leave others out of it.