Tag Archive for: Tools

Tools for distraction - picture shows a Rubik's cube in a mixed upstate

Tools for distraction that could help you to stay focused?

Staying focused is essential for many of us in our work lives. Tools for distraction can provide a helpful menu of ideas to refocus or have something to look forward to when we need it the most.

Ironically, sometimes, we need a short-term distraction to keep ourselves on task or to help us get back on track when unsure where to go next. In the same way, noise can be a distraction, but getting the right amount and type of background noise can help us stay in the present.

Here are examples of what I’ve found helpful to regroup and refocus. They are simple tools or toys that enable me to stretch and move my thinking in ways that can support me to move forward with the task.

They are the gifts that keep on giving time and time again, I can go back to them when I need to.  These are my gifts to you!

Note of caution

Suppose you use these devices at work, in a meeting, or in a social setting, where people might not know how essential tools for distraction actually help you to stay focused. It’s important to let them know what you’re doing and why; otherwise, they might wrongly assume you’re bored or just being rude.

Transparency notice

Some affiliate links are included in this article for the items listed on Amazon for which I will receive a small percentage of the purchase price. This does not affect the price you pay; I intend to do something good with the funds generated.

IQ Fit Smart Games

IQ Fit make a series of puzzles that can be reused differently. These are often mentally challenging and offer a way to reset my thinking before I move back to the task I was losing focus on.

I’ve particularly enjoyed games that include IQ Fit, IQ Focus, IQ Link, IQ Six Pro, IQ Stars and IQ Twins.

If you would like to find out more about these games, check them out here www.smartgames.eu/uk/collection/pocket-games.

IQ Fit Smart Games for distraction control

Perplexus

Perplexus offers a spherical game that is effectively a ball race and a great tool for distraction control. This demands concentration and a great deal of hand and eye coordination. I found this game particularly challenging but fun over the Christmas period. It’s one I can pick up and put down as it promotes a tremendous amount of interest and conversation in my household – so it serves in different ways! Many other options are available from Perplexus, including themed games such as Star Wars and the Death Star. I’d encourage you to start with this simple option.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cardinal-Games-6053147-Perplexus-Multicoloured/dp/B07MKCZJNJ/ref=sr_1_2?crid=KYY9YPHGYLJ6&keywords=Perplexus&qid=1704457785&sprefix=perplexus%2Caps%2C102&sr=8-2

Perplexus

Rubik’s Cube

The Rubik’s Cube offers many options in different shapes and sizes. Although the puzzle itself is tricky, it can be solved. There are also great ways to learn how to solve the Rubik’s Cube, like this tutorial from J Perm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ron6MN45LY

He talks you through a series of moves step-by-step so you can solve the puzzle. This makes what has felt impossible possible! It’s an ideal distraction and a valuable tool for resetting and working out what you will do next. It’s a familiar game, and within a short period, I can return to the task I was working on.

If you don’t already have a Rubik’s cube, I recommend getting a speed cube as it has a smoother movement and feels good in your hands. I discovered that the one below works well. It’s smooth, fast, and adaptable as you improve, unlike the original Rubik’s cubes, which are typically stiff and difficult to solve quickly.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Roxenda-Stickerless-Gan356-System-Speedcube/dp/B07PKMLM7S/ref=sr_1_21_sspa?crid=2ZHP9JQOJGUW0&keywords=Tunic%2Bcube&qid=1704457813&sprefix=tunic%2Bcube%2Caps%2C81&sr=8-21-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9tdGY&th=1

Rubik’s Cube

Desk-based timer

These days, we have many ways of recording time on our computer or phone or looking at a wall clock, but often, it’s hard to set these up frictionlessly when we need to capture a moment in time or record a specific amount of time.

The Pomodoro timer is one such device that I place on a surface with the corresponding amount of minutes I’d like to measure. It means I can quickly take 15 minutes, for example, to think about my next task. This means my time does not drift. This is particularly important for individuals who find time awareness challenging. It can also help you to assess how long it’s taken to complete a task, which can be helpful when trying to estimate how long tasks take. This device sits outside of all the other technology – it’s not dependent on another device being opened or activated, so you don’t get distracted. If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the device here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kitchen-Digital-Magnetic-Countdown-Function/dp/B08KJJXQS4/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?crid=1E3IU2N8KTRS6&keywords=pomodoro%2Btimer&qid=1704458269&sprefix=pomo%2Caps%2C70&sr=8-3-spons&sp_csd=d2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGY&th=1

Desk-based timer

Seconds app

Sometimes, we need something more than a simple timer; for example, if we have routines or methodologies we want to build and repeat. An excellent example of this is exercise routines.  I’ve been working on a static exercise routine to help my youngest son sleep. What I mean by this is instead of exercises that increase his heart rate, these are exercises that use his strength to make him tired. This seems to be working, but we’ve had to experiment with lots of different exercises to find the ones he likes and make it fun.

The Seconds app provides a great way of structuring these exercises, and now that we know the exercises he likes, I can play them back to him. We include time for a warmup, a rest and repeating time, as well as being able to copy and paste exercises.

It also has features that allow you to incorporate music, the option to share the workout and the ability to see it in the foreground or background of your mobile device. The display has clear colour boundaries showing different items, which is simple yet effective.

I can’t recommend this enough, and at £1.50, it’s a giveaway.

See for yourself: https://www.intervaltimer.com

Seconds app

I hope you have enjoyed my gifts and they help you on your journey into neurodiversity.

Which ideas will you try?

When you are ready, here are three ways we can connect:

Technology agnostic TT

Is being technology agnostic important?

A few years ago, I wanted an Audi TT (225bhp for those that care), it is a beautiful car, fast, agile and the envy of my mates. Being six feet 1 inch tall with long legs means that I ended up sitting virtually in the back seat. Turning a four-seater car into a two-seater car was less than ideal.

This story has resonated with me a lot especially as I look at the area of solving difficulties related to neurodiversity, (find out what neurodiversity is here), with technological solutions.

Technology-agnosticism is about saying there is ‘no one size fits all for a particular problem. That is not to say that a particular solution cannot solve a problem for many different people, it just will not solve it in the same way.

Think about it

It is the difference between an adjustable spanner and a standard spanner. One of them adapts to lots of assorted sizes of bolts with a greater margin for error and the other one fits one size of bolt perfectly but lacks flexibility. The question you always need to ask yourself is, do you even need that flexibility or is it okay to just do one thing perfectly well?

Many technologies, platforms and software products try and do everything for us, meaning they can end up not doing anything particularly well, so we need to make bigger compromises. It is easy to be bamboozled with a multitude of tools and promises that these tools can deliver, but if we lose sight of the problem that we are trying to solve, the danger is we end up with a solution to a problem that does not even exist.

Or to put it another way, a screwdriver to fix nails in the wall!

This becomes clear when you speak to individuals about the processes they perform and instead of describing what they do they reference the tools they use and how those tools perform the task. On its own, this is not an issue but where it becomes a problem is when the limitations of those tools start defining the process and its boundaries.

Here are some things to think about.

Being technology agnostic when things stop working

Take a pause and reflect on what has stopped working. Do not just switch to another app or another piece of technology before you have asked this question as you may well find that something more fundamental has changed, either with the environment or the processes you are using.

For example, I like to-do lists and I use a product called Todoist.com. It has worked very well for me. Unfortunately, when I started blogging, this platform just did not work for me anymore, so I had to go back and look at what the problem was, and it was to do with the amount of information I wanted to collect within my to-do list. So, I went back to the drawing board to map out what I wanted to achieve and then I was able to select a new software solution that helped me solve the problem, in this case Trello.

Invisible inefficiencies

Adapting a process that we use to fit the software tools with which we are lumbered. Are we keeping process components that really should be obsolete because the software demands them? I believe that if you look at your processes through a set of technology-agnostic glasses, you will find improvements and make changes that will simplify things!

Collaborating with a client who had used MS Outlook successfully to manage their diary, and who was now finding it did not give them the flexibility they needed to annotate, it caused a huge amount of anxiety about appointments. The other issue was the client felt they were not in control of their diary. In this instance, the client moved back to a paper-based solution. Now I realise for many reasons this is suboptimal in lots of organisations, but for this client, they were able to increase their effectiveness by not being stressed about their diary.

Revolutionising your processes

When evaluating what you are doing or why you are doing it, being technology-agnostic allows you to look beyond the constraints of the platforms and software that you are using. It allows you to imagine all the possibilities you might like to carry out, giving you scope to dream big and not have them thwarted by inappropriate tools.

Creating opportunity by being technology agnostic

When the shackles of, “it’s always been done this way” are broken all sorts of possibilities appear. This is also likely to enable you to move forward and to recognise your potential in terms of what you can achieve and how you are going to achieve it. Inappropriate tools that cause you to carry out actions and use time inefficiently reduce your effectiveness at work. Re-evaluating the tools you use creates an incredible opportunity to do things differently and to be more effective in your workplace.

If you would like to explore how to be more technology-agnostic in making decisions around assistive technology, then please get in contact.