Growth and Development

5 Distractions that Actually Increase Productivity

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Productivity can be a fickle state of mind that tends to come and go. The most successful people have a unique way through which they keep themselves in this forever-forward state. One moment you’re crushing your goals and winning at this game called life. The next moment distractions happen, negativity takes hold, someone says something that upsets you and bam it’s been a week since you got up early or crossed off something on your to do list. This can be especially challenging for the self-employed and those working from home.

productivity in office

Most of us are our own worst enemy too, a battle that occurs inside our own heads. To increase productivity, many of us need productivity apps and welcomed distractions. I know distractions might sound backwards, but hear me out. I’m not talking about the ones that throw us off our equilibrium, but rather the ones that increase productiveness through mental stimulation. Whether you’re looking to get ahead in the corporate world, starting your own business, writing a book, or any number of daunting goals that seem out of reach, you need to find out what fuels your productivity. One of these five distractions is guaranteed to keep you productive. Try them because what do you really have to lose?

1. Take an Unfamiliar Walk

Every now and then we get so consumed by what we’re doing that we become too close to problems and lack the ability to find solutions. At this moment one of the best things you can do is step away. This is especially true for re-engaging your inner creative. It’s a distraction, but venturing into new areas will force your brain to make new connections and the exercise will begin unlocking your cognitive blocks. Give it a try, I guarantee something great will come rushing forward as long as you don’t force the process.

productivity through pets

Credit: Bryan Conte

2. Pets in the Office

Contemporary offices get the benefit of being distracted by pets. Unless you’re petrified of dogs, when has a cute puppy ever made you feel bad? Taking a minute to go pet the office dog, or even getting a desk pet for yourself is an excellent distraction for productivity once you resume your work. If dogs aren’t an option, or if you work by yourself, why not get a fish? There are numerous reports how watching fish swim in their ecosystem can reduce stress. Betta fish are ideal because they are hardy, need limited maintenance, and the males have beautiful flowing colored fins. If you do go that route, make sure you read up on how to care for them though because there are a lot of misconceptions.

productivity white noise

3. Ambient White Noise

Are you someone that has a hard time concentrating when it’s eerily silent? You’re not the only one. Certain kinds of ambient noise, which may seem like distractions, actually help to improve your creativity and productivity. You can’t go listening to your favorite song or movie in the background either, because those are likely to be the kind of distractions that transition your thoughts. Before you know it, you’ll be singing Britney Spears out loud for everyone to hear. To save yourself the embarrassment, check out free options online, including Coffitivity which play real-life ambient noise.

4. Take a Nap

Everyone gets cranky, especially when they’re feeling tired. Tired and hungry, forget it! Some companies have even started installing “sleep pods” in offices for employees to catch a quick recharge on their lunch. Some are also offering unlimited snacks too. Research shows napping can improve productivity as long as you don’t wake up during REM. Some might call you lazy, but this distraction could allow you to come back feeling refreshed and ready to go. You’ll laugh while everyone else is yawning and filling up their fourth cup of coffee at 2PM while you power through your afternoon. To make sure you wake up feeling refreshed and not groggy, try out a sleep app like Sleep Cycle for iOS.

5. Exercise Every Hour


Humans weren’t meant to sit as much as we do. We were meant to be hunter gatherers who constantly move and engage our major muscle groups. Sitting in an office chair, a car or train, back to the couch for the rest of the night is a real productivity (and back) killer. The longer you sit, the more your heart rate and blood flow drop. You need to get up and move! Try a welcomed distraction like 25 jumping jacks or 10 pushups every hour. Try not to bother anyone near you, or challenge them to get involved too. Keeping each other accountable will help even more. You’ll be amazed at how this quick burst of energy will get the blood flowing and your heart rate elevated just enough to return motivated and productive. Plus you’re working out at the same time!

Some get more distracted than others throughout their day. It may be due to medical conditions or simply a product of their environment. You may not be a morning person either despite the requirement to start your day at the crack of dawn. Utilize these ideas to help keep your productivity high and brain sharp during your most critical times. My personal favorite is the exercise every hour.

Have you tried any of these before, and if so what worked best? How about anything else that you’d like to add that has worked for you? Tell us in the comments below.