The reason we all love planning is that we love being prepared. What does being prepared really mean though? Being prepared is preparing what you need to complete a task in advance. It is an effective way to manage your time, and help you to get things done. In this post, I’m going to talk about ways you can set up your environment so that you can get more things done.
Most of the times when I am procrastinating on a task it’s because I wasn’t prepared for the task. If things were just too out of the way, too hard to get set up, or too messy to start, then most times I would never get to do that task at all.
So how do we avoid these feelings of procrastination? Simple, we prepare our environment!
I learned about this from Asian Efficiency, but they called it Clearing to Neutral. Clearing to Neutral is basically returning your environment to a neutral state so that when it’s time to do the task again it is ready for you. It’s about reducing the friction when it comes to doing that task. If you have to do something before you get to your task, you’d rather just not do it at all.
Here are some common examples of when your environment was not prepared and it leads to you procrastinating:
- You wanted to cook dinner, but no one did the dishes the night before and now if you want to cook dinner, you’re going to have to first wash everything before cooking. So you end up eating out instead.
- You wanted to get to work on your laptop, but when you opened up your laptop you see about 20 tabs open with other interesting reads that you totally get distracted from and never get around to actually working.
- You wanted to plan in your planner, but your desk is still a mess from the last time you decorated your planner and if you want to sit down and plan you need space so you’d have to clean up first. So you skip your planning session today.
- You wanted to work out, but you don’t have any clean workout clothes and your shoes can’t be found. So you skip your workout today.
When your environment is prepared, it can be so easy to procrastinate. That’s why preparing your environment is so essential to getting things done.
Here are some ways you can prepare your environment for next time to make sure you don’t procrastinate again:
- Working out – Are your workout clothes clean? Can you find them easily? Are your weights and yoga mats out and visible so you can easily get to them?
- Planning – Do you have all the calendars, tools, pens, stickers, and items you need to plan your day/week/month?
- Writing – Is your desk clear and you can find everything you need to start writing?
- Computer work – Are all of your tabs and programs closed? When you open it up it should be a blank canvas.
- Cooking dinner – Did you wash all of the pots and pans after cooking yesterday? Can you easily start cooking now?
- Packing school lunches – Prep a week’s worth of meals ahead of time. Pack all the snacks in a ziplock bags ahead of time.
- Flossing your teeth – Is your floss in a place where it’s supposed to be so you remember to floss daily?
Think about all of the times you procrastinated on something. Now think about the ways you can overcome that procrastination by reducing the friction to get started on that task. What can you do to make sure it’s ready for next time? How can you prepare your environment so that it’s easy for your future self to take action quickly?
Remove distractions in your environment
Another way to make sure your environment is helping you get your tasks done is by doing an audit of your surroundings. Look for signs that help make procrastinating easier.
Is your TV always on? Is your phone always notifying you of emails or comments on social media? Are the distracting apps on your phone easily accessible? Think about ways you can hide these distractions,
- turn off those notifications on your phone
- Hide the TV remote so you’re not tempted
- Put all those distracting apps in a folder on a separate page
- Wear headphones to make it look like you’re busy
- Put a do not disturb sign up so no one distracts you
- Block out time on your calendar
Our environment can really help or break us when it comes to our productivity. Design an environment that helps you be more productive and get things done rather than derails us. What can you do to your space to make it easier for you to get started on your new habit now?