Have a penchant for doodling, flipping a felt tip, or bending paper clips? There's a good reason for it—being distracted can help you think.

NYU researchers recently released a study finding that distraction and creativity go hand-in-hand...literally. The research examined how hand movements with common desk gadgets can actually impact cognitive functioning—improving focus and sparking fresh ideas.

One of our favorite ways to leverage this concept is through toys that keep hands busy. We always have plenty of fun, fidgety items around during our projects—it’s just one of the ways we spark creative thinking to help our clients come up with great ideas. 

Check out our posts on the topic—as well as a few from Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and the Science World Report—below.

DoodleStop Paying Attention During Ideation

Sometimes productive thinking doesn't look productive at all. ITG Content Marketing Manager Jill Reiswig takes a look at how doodling and out-thinking can lead to new and exciting ideas.  

Higher Purpose of DoodlingThe Higher Purpose of Doodling

Are you a doodler? Both committed doodlers and researchers say doodling is more than a mindless activity, and can actually help you concentrate, retain information and problem solve.

Mind wanderingHow Mind-Wandering and “Positive Constructive Daydreaming” Enhance Creativity and Improve Our Social Skills

Sometimes, we just need to let go of the thinking brain and let the unconscious brain take over. In this article, Maria Popova of Brainpickings shares research on the connection between daydreaming, mind-wandering and creativity.  

Here are some additional articles on the topic of creative play by other sources we love.

DistractionReal-World Creative Genius May be Linked to Distraction, from the Science World Report

Creative geniuses may have a bit of trouble concentrating and now, scientists have figured out why. They've looked at real-world creativity and found that it may be associated with a reduced ability to filter "irrelevant" sensory information.

Creative at your deskGet Creative at Your Desk With a Little Playtime, in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

New York University researchers explore how manipulating everyday objects may spark new ideas.

Lunch break8 Reasons Why You Should Definitely Take That Lunch Break, via Fast Company

It's not easy to squeeze in a lunch break, but it's often necessary for our health and sanity. Other benefits include improved concentration, refreshed attention span and enhanced creativity.

©2015 Ideas To Go, Inc. All rights reserved.

Katie Franke

Katie Franke is a Marketing Communications Specialist and Concept Writer at Ideas To Go, an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.