I always find myself fiddling with an old coat toggle. It fits so easily in the hand and all my fingers can play with it in many different positions. The spring always feels so satisfying to squash and release when stuck finding that creative breakthrough, and it always helps, even if just for a moment of procrastination!

Graphic designer here - I got this ring when I was ten, and I’ve worn it for eleven years. I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t absentmindedly fiddling or getting my fingers trapped in it, especially while working at my desk. I pretty much play with it any old time though - watching tv, while arguing, or when anxious. 

Nothing copes with daily work stress like a shape-shifting widget, this is more elaborate than those elastic stress reliever balls. I’m amazed at how many people like baby toys in here.

I always carry post-its with me. Not because i write on them (although it’s nice to have them handy for that), but because I play with them, usually as a paper surrogate while working with digital copies of things. I’ll have a tablet in one hand and a pad of post-its in the other, strumming the free edge to hear and feel the edges of the paper.

I also have at least 9000 pens with the clip broken off because I play with those too—usually when talking to people, or in a seminar. It never fails to emphasize the point one is making when one’s pen sends pieces of itself flying across the table.

My coworker had a slinky at her desk that she played with. Everyone was jealous of it and it would sometimes make it’s way to other people’s desks “accidentally,” so she bought us all Slinkies of our own for the holidays. I play with it constantly, on the phone and during meetings. The sound is soothing, and the feeling of the rings going across my fingers.

I stole this wooden chew toy from my 10-month-old baby to play with at work.  I gave it to him in a pricey baby boutique to settle him down so I could finish my shopping but all the time thinking, “This is really for me. This thing is so pretty and feels so nice.” He kept it for almost a week and then today I thought, “Maybe I’ll just try it out one day.” The wooden balls are smooth and cool to the touch.  I like the clicky-clackety sounds it makes as I spin it through my fingers. The balls are on a thick elastic cord so they can be separated briefly and then knock back together. It’s also solid; because it’s made for babies to chew on, it has to be sturdy. It feels substantial but isn’t too heavy. And, yes,I stole it from a baby, but it also reminds me of him and all the fun we have when we’re together. 

I always touch my lip with my left index finger while I work. When I get really deep into something, I stroke it back and forth like a tiny violin. I never noticed I do it until someone pointed it out to me.

These are my black walnuts, which I idly picked up while phone pacing in the parking lot and was then delighted to discover that they make the perfect fidget toy.

They have such great texture, with variation from rough to smooth. I love to run my fingers over it, and rub the walnuts against one another. The texture gives just enough friction. 

They are the perfect size and weight to roll around in my hand. 

That they are organic is a really important feature. I used to fidget with plastic toys made on a makerbot — the bolt, for example. Their rough edges would leave my fingers sore and raw after a day of fidgeting (I’m an intense person like that, haha….) but the walnuts don’t. 

The half walnut with the hole is fun to match up the split edges, and then let it fall apart again, or fit the edge of the whole one into the hole of the other one. the inside is also nice and smooth for tactile variation. 

I also play with a pen. In Kansas high school debate, the ability to do this trick with a pen was a rite of passage. It separated the novice debaters from the experienced. It took me a few weeks of tournaments to learn it, but once I did I never stopped. 

I didn’t really think I had a desk object until I saw that someone else had submitted a pen video. Though, honestly, I think I do this a lot more in meetings than I do at my desk, alone. 

When I’m at work, I always fidget with my pen, spinning it with my fingers.The trick is to make it twirl freely across my hand and fingers without dropping it. To do that, you need to find the perfect balance and grip on the pen.   

I picked this habit up when I used to work as a waitress. A coworker looked so cool when he did it — it was a great way to give myself something to concentrate on while waiting for tables and spending time to perfect it. I find it helpful to concentrate my thoughts while I can keep myself fidgeting in a way that looks cool. :)