The Doorway Effect

Rose Ernst
2 min readApr 19, 2021

“Every day, some act of kindness comes my way, even if it’s just someone opening the door. It happens every day if you keep an eye out for it. Keeping an eye out, that’s the key.”— Aaron Neville

No matter what your household situation is during COVID, you might struggle with creating a sense of transition between routine activities like your writing time, homeschooling activities, answering email, meetings, playing with your cat, or watching another screen for yet another digital activity!

Here’s a simple trick to create transitions, and one that you’ve already been using your entire life without knowing it.

It’s called the doorway effect. Researchers at Notre Dame found the following:

“[P]eople were two to three times as likely to forget what they were supposed to do after walking through a doorway.”

Photo by Natalia Y on Unsplash

The key is that it’s not just a change of environment that causes you to forget why you just padded into the kitchen.

It’s the doorway itself!

So, the next time you:

  1. Want to forget that dreadful meeting
  2. Want to be fully present with your loved ones
  3. Want to cleanse your writing palate to start or finish a session

Try walking through a doorway!

Rose Ernst is an academic editor and writing consultant. Former tenured professor and chair of political science. Happy fiction author. Find her at Sign up for her email list here.

Rose Ernst

Scholar, writer, editor, and autistic traveler. Autistic Traveler: Writing Sprints: