Deflect “pre-distractions” before they steal focus

Lifehacker recently highlighted a “tangent log” idea from another writer. I thought the concept sounded familiar and realized that my colleague Pierre has long included the “Add to to-do list” page as part of the journal he discusses in his “Accomplishing More with Less” workshops.

I’m slowly migrating toward using a paper journal (Moleskine Ruled Notebook Large, with a nice leather cover) as an adjunct my tablet and Blackberry Pearl. (I’ll skip the gory details on those for a later post on tools & tricks of the trade.) While I’ve learned in Outlook to simply create a quick task for the blips and beeps of everyday intrusions, Pierre’s model is to create a dedicated space on your working pages to make it simpler to note what’s starting to intrude on your brain and handle it enough to let it slip away without stealing your focus. I suppose David Allen would use a post-it (I recently read an interview where he was jotting on a post-it in the middle of answering a question. No link handy at all.)

What techniques have you used to handle pre-distractions so that they aren’t lost but don’t destroy your concentration?