Seven Ways to Spring Clean Your Professional Life

With spring here, I’m sure you – like me – are starting to feel more optimistic and hopeful about longer days and warming weather. We often associate this time of year with “spring cleaning”, where we clean our houses and dust out the winter. Perhaps this is also a good opportunity to do the same for our professional lives. Here at Kade, we’ve revitalised our website in line with our new focus for 2016. Take a look around and see what you think. Here are our tips for how you can clear out the clutter in your own professional life.

1. lear out your virtual space

In our busy lives, sometimes files get saved in the quickest place we can. When work is emerging or being created, it might not have an obvious category to file away at the time. Sometimes this means you then get lists of files in the generic “Documents” folder, or “Downloads” folder, which might now have more logical place. Filing away these various documents can then make it easier to find the documents you need when you are in a rush, and ultimately save on stress.

Inboxes are another place where our “stuff” can clutter. Filing or labelling can help us find information more easily. Personally, I find having a short list in my inbox is very satisfying, although it happens less often than I would like.

2. Update Social Media

Some people love social media, others hate it and think it takes us out of the present moment. For me, social media can connect me with people I would otherwise have lost contact with, and I’ve had many opportunities as a result. It’s a link to people you might not have seen for a while, but who you may still have a great connection with.

So keeping our network up-to-date with what we are doing now can give us talking points or remind people are about where we are. Perhaps you’ve been in your job for a while, and your job has grown and changed. Does your LinkedIn profile reflect this? Perhaps you’ve changed your job or acquired new qualifications? Even if you’re not searching for something in particular – a new job or business contact – you never know what unexpected opportunities may arise!

3. Re-visit your network

This brings us on to the people in your network. When was the last time you got in touch? It’s easy to get caught up in our lives and forget to reply to that email, or get in touch with that old colleague. Taking the time to reconnect – either via social media or face-to-face can re-energise those relationships and our personal and professional lives. Relationships feature strongly in relation to well-being, so get in touch with an old contact! The weather is getting warmer, so perhaps you can venture out for a drink or a meal!

4. Review work practices

It’s good to take a step back from time to time and review what we are doing and how helpful we are finding this. Many of us are familiar with the 80-20 rule, where 20% of what we do contributes to 80% of our effectiveness. So what is it that you are doing that is the most effective? What is the least? Have we got into any bad habits – working late, working through lunch, not delegating? What effect is that having on us?

5. Refresh your work wardrobe

What we wear and how we present ourselves doesn’t just impact on how others see us, but can also change the way we act. In a suit, we may sit up straighter and this can impact on our attention and focus. After we’ve been comfortable in a job for a while, we can start to become more casual. Perhaps it’s time to freshen up your look?

6. Review your goals

When you make your goals, they are current, interesting, and occasionally a pie-in-the-sky dream. Looking back on these can help you feel a sense of achievement as you tick off the ones you have done. Achievement can be an important part of well-being. Positive psychologist, Martin Seligman, discusses how achievement is one of the ways to make you feel better in his book, Flourish.

I found a list in my drawer recently, and ticked off “learn to scuba dive” and “speak another language”. I decided I was able to check off the latter as while I think I could do better in Spanish, I did have a two hour conversation with someone who didn’t speak English last year, and numerous shorter conversations. I thought that was enough to give it an achievement tick.

If you haven’t met these goals, it can be good to take some time to re-focus and remind yourself of your purpose and motivation in putting these on your list of goals in the first place.

Some goals might not be relevant any more, and it can be good to review these and take them off the list. Apparently, a few years ago, I wanted to swim every day, whereas now I like to mix it up with yoga and dancing.

Don’t have a list to review? Maybe start one!

7. Revisit old ideas

If you are like me, you have lots of bits of paper, or short word documents with ideas in them which I jotted down before I forgot, but then filed them away for a rainy day. For me, that was sometimes out of an awareness that I wasn’t yet ready to implement those ideas. When I have looked back on these, sometimes I’m still not ready, but I can take another step towards it.

We’d love you to have a look around our re-invigorated website, and give us some comments about how we’re doing. You can also follow us on Linked-InTwitter and Facebook.