One of the reasons why it’s so hard to stay in the focus work mode, is that our mind constantly comes up with ideas we somehow need to follow up. We follow up a thought either by checking some references (“could this stuff actually get support from that other stuff?”, “is that part really true?” or “this remind of something I once read, I’ll try Google and see if I can find it”) or by giving somebody a message (“he should know about this!”, “maybe she knows the answer to this question”).

This idea-popping, is a good thing and shows that your creative muscle is still functioning. The problem is, though: The follow up very often has to take place on the net. Bringing our brilliant ideas to actions in a connected environment, put us at great risk for interruptions. Giving somebody a message via e-mail for instance, will very often tempt you to also check incoming mail at the same time. We all know what happens then; You get lead away from your focus work.

An important part of the framework for focus work, is the no-wifi and no-telephone part. But ideas will pop into your head, whether you have wifi-access or not. You should welcome this ideas, but you should give them only temporarily access to your working memory. This is where the jot down paper comes in. Capture your ideas on the jot down paper, for follow up during shared work sessions. By jotting them down like that, you make sure they don’t go to waste, and by that you put your mind to ease so you can carry on with the focus work.

After a session of focus work, you should review the jot down paper immediately. Maybe the ideas were not all that brilliant after all, or maybe they should be transferred to your task management system, whatever type that is. Or maybe you can/should execute them right away. Either way, having this piece of paper (and a pen/pencil!) at hand is an essential pressure valve that allows your creativity to live while you’re still hanging on to your focus work.

For the host at a focus work boot camp it’s mandatory to provide such papers and pens/pencils. Beside the working platform itself, the jot down paper is the most important extra tool you need during focus work.