Procrastination has always been a problem for me. But I recently read about a concept that has helped me battle that demon. It’s called “clearing to neutral”.
Many times procrastination sets in because we have to jump through hoops to start the activity that needs to get done. It becomes easier to just delay that activity rather than go through a whole process to get started.
That’s where “clearing to neutral” helps. If you arrange, clean up, clear off or do whatever needs to be done immediately after you finish that activity, you make it much easier to start the next time.
For example, I should exercise. I don’t particularly love exercising, so any excuse not to becomes powerful and can overcome my need to start. So if I wake up in the morning and I have to stumble around in my bedroom in the dark looking for my workout clothes, waking up my wife, it’s easier to just say forget it, I’ll exercise later, and later never seems to come. So instead, if I replace my sweaty workout clothes with fresh ones in my gym bag right after I exercise and place the bag right by the front door, it becomes much easier the next morning to exercise.
You can apply this concept to many things. Clean up the kitchen right after cooking so you don’t have to deal with dirty dishes before the next meal and then be tempted to just order out rather than deal with the mess. Clear off your desk top every night so you have a clean work environment the next morning and not have to wade through clutter to get started.
That’s why it’s called “clearing to neutral”. If everything is cleared off or placed back to an original or neutral position it becomes so much easier to get started the next time!