Spring cleaning for your career

Spring is finally here and since it’s too rainy and cool to be doing much outside, why not channel some of that energy into spring cleaning? It’s been a long, tough winter…a rough economy and lean times. A fresh workspace can be invigorating. And while you’re at it, why stop at things? Why not renew some relationships, too?
Here’s a list to get you started:
Clean out your desk.
I pulled out a drawer the other day and, before you know it, I was knee-deep in garbage. Old receipts, meaningless notes, keys to something I no longer own…I knew I needed to purge. I felt so organized and clearheaded when I finished. When I began working on a project that afternoon, I knew exactly where to find everything I needed.  
I replaced some photos that were three years old with some new, updated pictures that recalled happy times. I pulled some old art down and switched it around…it looked new again. I replaced my worn out coffee mug and bought a few simple organizers for my desktop. Ahhhh…a fresh outlook.
Change your routine.
Take a different drive to work one day a week. Go out to breakfast at a local café and create your weekly to do list before you head to work. Do you always go to the same restaurant or eat the same lunch at your desk? Change it up. When was the last time you met friends or colleagues after work for a drink?
Are you buried in paper and emails?
Talk to your colleagues and ask them how they organize their information for easy access. Create folders—either electronic or paper—to sweep things into for later action. A client recently suggested a website called www.gettingthingsdone.com,
where time management and organizational tools are available. He told me he has adopted a way to manage the overflow coming at him from all sides. He sweeps things into a “Tuesday” and “Friday” file. So on those days, he opens the files and acts on them: makes a decision, delegates an assignment, calls someone back, or whatever is waiting for him. Of course some things won’t wait, but he has de-cluttered his life so he is more accessible.  He reports that he is calmer and more organized than ever before.
Review your contacts and refresh the list.
I recently scrolled down my address book on my mobile and realized some of the contacts I no longer needed and many important names I had neglected to enter. Not only that, but that quick tour of contacts made me realize I hadn’t reached out to some key people in many weeks. Yikes! I got cleaned up and got busy.
Clean up your behavior.
Have you gotten sloppy with your actions? Have you stopped writing to do lists? Have you let a project slip past its due date? Is your filing piling up in stacks on the floor? Have you been short or rude with people? Are you communicating with the right audiences?
Clean up your personal processes.
Get to meetings on time and don’t cut out early. If you lead meetings, ask members to evaluate them for effectiveness: Are meetings held often enough? Are your agendas on point? Are the right people in the room? Are the dynamics healthy?
Step back and take a hard look at the meetings you attend on a regular basis. Stop accepting invitations to meetings you don’t need to be a part of, and ask to be invited only if you can contribute in a meaningful way.
Cleaning house can put you back in control of your time and your work. So, pull open a drawer and get started!

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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