If a tree falls in a bulletin board of sticky notes…

Markers
A recent post in ProfHacker, a Chronicle of Higher Education blog, caught my eye. In “Writers’ Bootcamp: Organizing Intrusive Thoughts,” Billie Hara discusses ways to address–and dismiss, for the moment–thoughts that could thwart your writing process. Her solution to thought intrusion involves sticky notes, X and Y axes, and The Falling Tree Method.

I have a system similar to this, though lacking the fancy graph and use of newfangled apps mentioned in the comments. At work, I keep a small white board on my desk and render each random thought into a color-coded note (red marker for emails to compose, orange for things I need to do or write). At home, I grab a writing pad to jot down my To Do (Later!) list.

I would like to tell you that I do this because I’m ever so organized. The truth is, whether a distracting thought ends up in a list or forces me to attend to it right away can mean life or death for a writing session. The less I enjoy a writing task, the more dangerous these non sequiturs become and the closer a massacre creeps.

How do you handle distractions?

(Photo by Ian Brown via Flickr/Creative Commons license)

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