I’m sometimes distracted by too many project ideas. When the ideas pile up, my productivity sinks because I keep thinking about them, and multitasking slows me down. To keep focused, I evolved a mind trick called The Pickle Jar that, despite its hokey name, actually works for me. It got me through my thesis, when writing was the last thing I felt like doing.
The Pickle Jar is an actual glass jar that once held pickles. Next to it is a square pad of paper, about 4 inches on the side. To get unrelated thoughts out of my mind, I write down a brief synopsis down, fold it twice, and put it into the Jar.
The physical act of writing down, folding, and then “pickling” the idea for later consumption is weirdly cathartic. Since I’m no longer in danger of forgetting the thought, I can relax. The act of formulating on paper has also satisfied the urge to follow up on it. The size of the paper also prevents you from writing too much…there’s just enough room to get the essence of the idea down.