My family gets frustrated at me after we’ve had a party at home. You see, I hate leaving dirty dishes in the sink. They want to leave them and go to bed but the thought of waking up and seeing the mess in the sink starts my day out on the wrong foot. It leaves me feeling depressed before I even begin the new day.  I have learned that no matter how late it is, I clean up. It’s a habit I do with many areas of my life from unpacking my suitcase when I get home from a trip, to getting the coffee ready the night before. I like to generally put things in order before turning out the light.

I have recently been reading Asian Efficiency and a habit they call Clearing To Neutral (CTN). The idea is that you set yourself up for the next activity before you finish working. It’s a habit that keeps you from wasting time, causing resistance, creating friction, or delay when you start again. If you start each day from a neutral position (where you left off ) you really will start being ahead of the game. This is a secret edge that most people learn too late in life.

Why is this so important?   It keeps us from procrastinating. CTN is a habit and has nothing to do with being clean, tidy, organized, or planning ahead.  It has to do with being ready, clearing stumbling blocks, and using time wisely. It has to do with starting clear headed, setting yourself up for success, and being at peace and in control. Let me emphasize, it’s a habit. Our nature is to be lazy and to “put off today what can be done tomorrow.” Resist the urge to leave a mess by creating new morning and evening habits and rituals. Be purposeful, specific, and efficient when choosing these rituals. Then, do them.

CTN is not only important to your working environment but it is important to your spiritual life. Too often we aren’t quick enough to clean up the junk that is keeping us back from what God wants to do for us in our lives. What do you need to clear out in your spiritual life to get back to neutral so that God can move you forward? Have you left personal issues undone that are causing your spiritual life to stagnate? Stop making God and others wait because you haven’t cleaned up your mess. Be ready – clear to neutral.

Tear thyself from delay. Horace 65-8 BC