I used to have one of these. It was a box with index cards on which I would note my excess ideas while writing. I would just throw them in there and then later, when stuck, choose one at random to start me going again, or on break, look at them all to see what sort of pattern they might make on their own. At some point I relinquished this habit.
“…I was losing…my ability to find an emotional center from which to write because I was constantly accommodating myself to other people’s emotional centers,” someone said.