I don't know how spring cleaning became a tradition, and I know that phrase means different things to different people. And while some of that cleaning could take place at any time of the year (and often does), there's just something about the spring to help you think about airing things out and fluffing things up for the coming months of growth.
While this makes sense for homes, it makes at least as much sense for lives. Your year is starting to heat up and there are many opportunities, you also may feel like you're coming out of a long winter mentally . . . so it's time.
It's time for some personal spring cleaning.
Here are five things you can do to prepare yourself for better results the rest of the year!
Straighten up your working area. For the same reason you clean your garage and scrub up the areas in your home that you haven't done in awhile, it's important to do the same for you work area. Does your desk currently help or hinder your efforts to do your best work and have your best focus? Do you have books or other items that aren't where they could or should be? Are you behind on your filing, or is it time to go through your filing system? This is purposefully the least metaphorical on the list - since it really is cleaning! I challenge you (and myself) to take the time to do it - if not today, at least this week - not because it's the right thing to do or even for aesthetic reasons, but because it will dramatically improve your creativity and productivity.
Fertilize your relationships. You fertilize your lawn in the spring to encourage growth and nurture the development of strong grass plants. Now is the time to reinvigorate your relationships in the same way. Take a look at the important relationships in your life. Determine what you can do to nurture and help them grow in the coming weeks. And remember it isn't enough just to buy the fertilizer - it won't help your grass sitting in the bag! In the same way, you must make the call, schedule the meal, invite people over or do whatever you need to to nurture your relationships.
Dust off your reading list. Spring cleaning almost always includes some sort of attention to those corners and nooks that haven't seen much activity - and frankly need some dusting! How's your bookshelf looking these days? If you have the books you want to read, dust off your stack, pick one up and get started! If you don't, dust off your Amazon account, find your library card or get yourself to your favorite book seller and get at it!
Freshen up your goals and objectives. In the spring you probably open the windows and let the air blow through the house to freshen up the curtains, sheets and clear the air. You need to do the same thing with your goals. Open your eyes and look at your goals in a new way! This is more than just reviewing your goals (you're already doing that regularly, right?); this is looking at them with the perspective of the year so far. How are you doing? Do you want/need to adjust things based on your current reality? Have new priorities popped up that you didn't predict at the beginning of the year? These are the types of questions that will help you refresh and reinvigorate your goals - and your outcomes for the year.
Clean up your habits. Most spring cleaning includes closets. At some point you look at your clothes, decide which ones to keep, which ones to get rid of. You pull out your summer clothes and make sure everything fits and you have everything you want in your closet for the coming months. If you're like me, the rest of the year you don't really think too much about your closet. You look in and pull out clothes, without thinking much about the closet. It's the same with your habits. Since they are subconscious, it makes sense to purposefully look at your habits occasionally to decide which ones are working for you, which are serving your needs, and which ones you may have outgrown. You won't find new habits at the mall, but you can change your habit “wardrobe” in a conscious way too.
Of course these suggestions can be done at any time of the year - in fact you may want to do them more than once a year. After all, you likely survey your closet more than once a year - and isn't your personal productivity and happiness at least as important as a clean closet?
I know all of these things have been and will be a part of my spring cleaning regimen, and I know when I do them it makes a difference.
Perhaps spring is a good time for this type of cleaning, but it doesn't matter if it's spring or not. The best time is really right now - whenever you may be reading this. These steps will help you clean out the cobwebs in your mind and set your course for greater growth.
Potential Pointer: Most people make time to do spring cleaning in their homes, garages and lawns. For the same reasons, you need to spruce up, polish up and clean up the rest of your life. The calendar doesn't need to dictate when you do this cleaning, but when you do it, your results and enjoyment will improve!