mop-1075442_640Has Spring sprung for the embattled Northeast and Midwest of the United States or Europe yet? I’m seeing wet roads and capri pants vs. snowpiles and puffy jackets when I look at my Facebook feed, so I feel it is safe to say, yes, spring is here for the Northern Hemisphere.

Don’t worry—I won’t foist any Martha Stewart cleaning tips or Gwyneth Paltrow spring detox recommendations on you. Spring in the air makes me think about spring cleaning for leaders.

Yes, that’s right. Spring cleaning—the annual ritual once practiced solely by housewives with coiffures secured in kerchiefs—has a place on your calendar, too.

How can the concept of spring cleaning help a leader of people?

First, there is the obvious way to consider the part spring cleaning plays in a leader’s success:

The physical environment of your workspace: your office or cube (or wherever you work at home).

I know my physical workspace affects my productivity and well-being. My office is not as neat as I want it to be—and it’s not as organized as I need it to be.

Taking a few minutes to dust my desk and bookshelves is a welcome distraction that makes me feel efficient and tidy. One Kleenex does the job. You don’t need to buy dust wipes, but, sure, they’d do a better job.

  1. Dust to improve the look and clean of your desk and workspace.
  2. Pick up and move items vs. work around them: It takes less time to lift up that paperweight than work around it—and you’ll do a better job.

I think a dusty desk speaks to your brand as a leader. Dust says unused, not occupied, not present. Messy.  Being “too busy” to dust, throw out snack wrappers, cups of dried gummi bears, etc. is a lousy excuse. No solid leader is too busy to consider his or her workspace as a place to engage.

Once you’ve dusted off your desk, consider the figurative nature of the word “dust”:

In terms of EQ, are you muddled or focused? What do you need to let go of? Clear out of your head?  What to-do items are lingering?

These dusty items may be emails you’re not going to send. Or lunch meetings that simply won’t get scheduled for a quarter.

  1. Write down what is covered with dust—still lingering around, waiting for a decision.
  2. Use ten minutes to write down these tasks.
  3. Now, tackle or toss.  Which items—thoughts, feelings, worries, random little action items clogging your brain—can you dust away from your mental windscreen so a better view is possible?

Dust is a physical and mental distraction.  Clean your workspace and a bit of headspace, so you execute towards your goals vs. dwell upon what, *sigh*, is simply sitting there.

What type of spring cleaning are you doing or will you commit to doing over the next week?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Best wishes from the Bay Area,


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