What is a productivity hood, you ask? Allow me to explain.

By Lauren Phillips
Updated April 18, 2019
OstrichPillow Hood - productivity hood
Credit: Courtesy of OstrichPillow

Some people are able to focus on command; others struggle to focus at all. I like to think that I fall somewhere in the middle: I can focus for a long stretch of time on most days, but on others, it feels like I can hardly sit still. I think most people probably fall in that middle category, with focus and concentration levels that rise and fall depending on their physical state (focusing while hungry? Forget it) and what’s happening around them.

As an average focuser, working in an open floorplan office tests my concentration on a daily basis. Other office workers will agree with me: Holding your attention on a single task while people are eating, walking around, talking, and more all around you takes a lot of practice, determination, and commitment, and some days, it just feels like you can’t muster all that for an entire workday.

With warmer, sunnier weather, I’ve been feeling especially unfocused, so when I heard about the latest offering from OstrichPillow, the Hood, available starting April 18, I knew I needed to try it for myself.

OstrichPillow Hood - woman wearing productivity hood
Credit: Courtesy of OstrichPillow

Courtesy of OstrichPillow

The Hood is a standalone piece of headwear that slides on over the head. It functions as any hood would, except you don’t have to wear a bulky sweatshirt to get the noise- and cold-blocking perks—any shirt, dress, or sweater can become hooded in seconds. The Hood is available in two colors, black and a blue-green, and costs $39 (ostrichpillow.com to order).

For me, focusing has never been easier. The Hood helps block my peripheral vision, so I can focus on what’s right in front of me. It also helps muffle noise; paired with earphones, it reduces the background noise of a standard office to almost nothing. It’s also soon to become a carry-on staple for me: Putting this on during a crowded flight can help me pretend I’m somewhere—anywhere—else, and maybe I’ll actually be able to sleep in peace. (The Hood also blocks some light, and I could pull it down over my eyes for optimal napping.)

For the people around me, the Hood was not a hit. I’ve been compared (by my lovely coworkers) to a sulky teenager, a child dressed up as an astronaut, a dementor, a monk, and a student trying to sleep at the back of a classroom during class. If you can withstand the odd looks and well-intended comments (my coworkers truly are delightful), you can get some good work done. (And your head will be toasty warm.)

Beyond its workplace and travel benefits, the Hood is also marketed as being good for cold, windy days. Essentially, it is just an unattached hood. But as someone who has avoided hoodies since high school—I find them uncomfortable, which I realize is not a common opinion—I love having a hood that I can put on and take off as needed, without uncomfortable bunches of fabric around my neck.

OstrichPillow’s other offerings include slightly funky comfort-focused gear, including the Original (a cocoon pillow) and the Light, which is truly difficult to describe. They’re the kinds of things you might laugh about at first but will eventually respect for the comfort it brings to your life. (They’re like the 2010s version of the Snuggie.)

Do you need a productivity hood? Maybe—this one is pretty great, especially for situations in which you really don’t want to talk to anyone. (We’ve all been there.) Whether you can stand the teasing is up to you.