As productive of an employee as we might see ourselves to be, there’s no escaping that occasional office burnout or fatigue. Whether you’re scrambling through Word document after Word document or entering the umpteenth formula into your Excel spreadsheet, we can’t deny that sometimes, we do need that 5 or 10-minute distraction to help our brain recharge.
In fact, there’s a science behind this. Little breaks in between our chunks of work can actually prevent us from getting bored (which, of course, will inevitably lead to lack of concentration). As University of Illinois psychology professor Alejandro Lleras puts it, “deactivating and reactivating your goals allows you to stay focused.”
If that wasn’t enough to convince you (or your boss), breaks also help us retain information better. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley explains that when our brain transitions from a state of productivity into a state of relaxation, this helps it “return valuable insights”, which can often lead to breakthroughs.
So, there you have it – scientific facts from some of the world’s smartest people to justify your need for that guilty-pleasure internet distraction. Since you’re indeed well-deserving of a short break, allow us to introduce a few hidden boredom-busters that you’ve probably never heard of.
Need a Quick Distraction? Try out the “Geocities-izer”
Screenshot taken from The Geocities-izer
Ever wondered what Facebook might have looked like back in 1998? Or Youtube? Or pretty much any modern website you can think of?
Introducing the “Geocities-izer”, a website created by Mike Lacher – an employee of Google Creative Lab whose talents involve programming, writing, and a sharp sense of internet humour.
The “Geocities-izer” may look like an eyesore at first glance, and that’s because it’s meant to. It’s a page that’s completely written in sophisticated, bright-yellow Comic Sans and laden with mini, amateur cartoon GIFs. As the name states, it’s meant to look like it came straight out of the the 1994 Geocities web-hosting service.
Apart from its high-tech web design, the first thing you’ll see is a search bar inviting you to look up any website (of this day and age) that comes to mind, and Lacher’s creation will “Geocities-ize” it for you – essentially making it look like it was “made by a 13-year old in 1996.”
If you’re going through a dull afternoon slump and wish to satisfy your curiosity, this ought to do it for a 5-minute break.
Looking for a Stress Reliever? Try out “Silk”
Screenshot taken from WeaveSilk.com
If you’ve been typing away at those documents and need something to soothe the eyes (and brain), perhaps this simple, interactive game is just what you need.
Created by Yuri Vishnevsky, Silk is a game that allows you to express your artistic creativity through the form of abstract shapes, lines and colours. Starting you off with a black screen, the user is to invited to use their cursor to paint whatever comes to mind, with a symmetrical effect following their every move.
It’s a relaxing game for anyone who’s been staring at Excel spreadsheets for too long, or enjoy surreal, dream-like aesthetics.
Struck With a Bad Case of Office Boredom? Visit “The Bored Button”
Screenshot taken from BoredButton.com
As the name aptly states, the entire purpose of this website is meant to cure that sudden strike of office boredom.
The only image displayed on the site is literally a giant red clothes button, and when pressed, it generates a random internet game (or website) to keep you occupied for a few minutes.
Want to know what other people have achieved at your age? (This may or may not put a damper on your day, depending on your current state in life.) The Bored Button might take you to a site called “Age Geek”, where you can discover just that.
Looking for funny stuff to read? Worry not; you may just land on a page that can deliver you hundreds of jokes, from topics on animals, to euphemisms, to diseases.
Whatever distraction you may need to recharge, The Bored Button’s got you covered.
Looking for Something Fun and Nostalgic? Try out “Atari Breakout”
Screenshot from "Atari Breakout" on Google Images
For the millennials who have only ever known Xboxes and Playstations, Atari Breakout was one of the first-ever arcade games to grace the planet, all the way back in 1976. It was played on a chunky console with Microsoft Paint-level graphics – but don’t let its looks fool you; this iconic game mastered the art of addictiveness and replay value, cementing its place as a classic in the world of video games.
As a sneaky little Easter Egg, Google has snuck the game into their image search for those who need a time off of looking through stock photos.
Simply type in “Atari Breakout” into the image search, hit the button, watch as the catalogue of search results mould themselves into that iconic Breakout wall – and your game begins.
Need Something To Settle Your Nerves? Visit “Labuat”
Screenshot taken from Labuat
Similarly to “Silk”, Labuat is another soothing stress reliever that allows users to digitally “paint” along to a song. Simply press the “Play” button, and your cursor immediately transforms into an ink-filled digital brush, with a screen that moves you forward while creating animated, whimsical effects to a mellow song that plays in the background.
It’s a perfect distraction for those who need to take a breather and wish to look (and create) pretty, animated imagery. The only downside is that you don’t get to see your painting as a whole, but it’s a pleasant little Flash game nonetheless.
Feeling Competitive? Play a Game Of “TypeRacer”
Screenshot taken from TypeRacer.com
This simple internet game may not look like much on the outset, but be warned – it can get addictive real quick.
Visitors essentially get matched up with other online opponents to a “typing race”, represented by tiny little car images on a linear racetrack. The players are then presented with an excerpt from a book, film or TV series that they are meant to type out at the fastest speed they can manage. The faster they type, the farther the progress in the “race”.
The “top typers” are awarded with a place on a the site’s real-time high-score chart, where you can witness a vast number of other individuals who are probably just as bored as you are.
Unlike the other games mentioned, this one can actually help improve your typing abilities – so win-win!
Now that you’ve gotten your daily distraction out of the way, perhaps you’d like to visit our other articles here on SkillsTalk that can help kick you back into productive gear. From writer’s block to brain foods, we’re here to help.