Spring Cleaning—It’s Not Just for Closets!


Spring has sprung in my part of the country and it brings with it so many wonderful things: daffodils in bloom, birds chirping and the itch to start spring cleaning closets, storage spaces and even the dreaded garage.

Careers Need Cleaning Too!

Many of us get the urge to de-clutter our homes at this time of year, but our efforts don’t have to be confined to our private space or any space at all. In fact, spring is a great time of year to de-clutter our work environment and habits as well.

I find that the best way to start cleaning up my business life is to revisit my objectives for the year: what are the things I really want to accomplish and then take a critical look at the tools, resources, skills I will need to accomplish those objectives.

First, take a look at the physical clutter in your office. I recommend using the 5-year rule: if something hasn’t been used in five years, it means it ‘s time to send that item to the recycle bin. In today’s age of electronic everything, it really isn’t necessary to keep hard copies of materials that are saved electronically.

The de-cluttering concept can also apply to purging old, nagging habits that are no longer serving us well. I have worked with many of my clients to identify what are the skills they need to take them to the next level. Sometimes, it’s even more important to identify what to leave behind.

Old Habits Die-Hard

Old habits die-hard and often we don’t realize what ‘s no longer needed for success in a new role. For example, you may have always been a detail person and that served you well in the early days of a career. But as you move into higher leadership roles, staying too focused “in the weeds” can prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. It might be holding you back from being perceived as more strategic: a valuable skill for leaders.

Working with a coach or mentor is a great way to get an objective look or assessment of your skills in key areas. It’s hard to get this kind of clarity on your own and working with an objective third party might help you achieve greater success in your current role or the next role/assignment you are shooting for.

Shake Out the Dustwebs

So take some time this spring to reflect on the steps you can take to make your work-life less cluttered. By doing so, you just may find that you have more time and energy to focus your efforts on the things that will bring greater career satisfaction and success.


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