12 Ways to Spring-Clean Your Career
Spring is the season where new things grow — little by little, color and life seep back into the world. The weather gets warmer, moods lift, and happiness is rediscovered. Think of your job in the same light come this Spring. You can start fresh, in all senses of the word. Below are 12 ways to fine-tune your work, with tips and advice provided by expert, career-minded women.
1. Clean up your office space.
First up on the agenda: clear out your desk.
"Tidy up," says Ashley Stahl, a career and business coach for millennials. "Research shows a jumbled desk links to a jumbled mind. Your ability to think creatively is key, and you'll be better equipped to do that if you clean your space up at work. Those old notes and pens without ink? Trash them."
Be sure to toss any extra clutter — ask yourself if you really need the item, or if it's just taking up room and causing distraction. At the core, does it make you happy? Or is it something you've placed little to no sentimental value in?
"Get rid of anything on your desk that doesn't bring you joy," says career and life coach Jenn Dewall. "This includes old pictures or decor of people or things that you no longer connect, too. Your cube should be an inspiring and empowering space. Be sure to fill it with things and pictures that elicit that positive mentality."
Additionally, millennial career expert Jill Jacinto recommmends treating yourself to new office decor from Poppin or Etsy once your space is completely clean (just don't go overboard, or you'll undo all your hard work). It'll motivate you to keep your desk looking nice.
If you're simply not the tidying type and find yourself having trouble getting your office neat, consider hiring a Tasker after work or during your lunch break to help out.
2. Declutter your computer.
It's probably safe to assume there's a lot of random junk on your laptop. Most everyone is guilty of letting random files pile up, but it's important you sift through and organize.
"Does your work computer desktop look like a mess?" Jacinto says. "We are all guilty of slacking on our filing. Yes, filing does exist — even in 2016. Make a point to sort your files and efficiently save what you need and trash what you do not."
Furthermore, do some deep cleaning within your inbox.
"Get rid of any unopened emails, or emails that you no longer want to subscribe to," Dewall says. "Instead of taking time each day to delete the emails that you likely aren't looking at anyway, unsubscribe. You will free up time and attention for emails that deserve your attention."
3. Update and reconnect on LinkedIn.
Have you let your LinkedIn gather dust? It's easy to neglect your account — but you really shouldn't.
"Brighten up your LinkedIn with any key achievements you've made in the past six months," says Pocket Mentor Founder and CEO Caren Merrick. "Perhaps you were named to a highly visible initiative or received an award — this is how potential employers find you more easily."
And remember to spend quality time expanding your profile, which is key in your future professional success.
"You've spent time growing your network, but when was the last time you reconnected?" asks Jacinto. "Don't accept and forget. Your LinkedIn network is as valuable as the relationships you create and sustain. By all means, connect with someone you met at an event or even yoga class. Always give them a reference to remember who you are!"
4. Adjust your attitude — and your lifestyle.
If you've ever fallen into a rut at work, you know how difficult it is to climb out . . . which is why maintaining an optimistic outlook and regularly fostering positive energy is essential.
"We all get into a funk in our careers," Jacinto says. "We get bored, lazy, and lose the drive we promised we'd insert in the new year. Keep a positive attitude when it comes to your career. Any client or boss can smell the negative energy, and it will not score you a promotion."
Tweaking your attitude goes hand-in-hand with healthy lifestyle modifications — so get to modifying!
5. Make sure you're surrounded by positivity.
It's nearly impossible to keep a good attitude if you're surrounded by unhappy co-workers. Don't be afraid to ask for a change of location!
"Are you surrounding yourself with the right people in your career?" asks Noelle Williams, director of recruiting at Kavaliro. "If you're constantly around co-workers who complain about their job, find a way out. If you find yourself constantly gathering negative energy, make new relationships in the office, or make it a point to go for a daily walk for some fresh air. Focus on positivity, and you will see a difference in every aspect of your career."
6. Refresh your work style.
A little Spring shopping can go a long way in making you feel like a brand new person. Spend some cash on yourself. You (and your job) deserve it!
"Clean up your work wardrobe — are you wearing the same four dresses or outfits?" asks Jansen. "Buy some new jewelry and bags. Change your hairstyle!"
Take time to reflect on your work output, your work objectives, and your overall work satisfaction.
"Another important area to focus on is your own self-evaluation," says Williams. "Are you still working up to your full potential within your career and reaping success, or have you fallen into a routine? You are not growing as a professional if you're completing your work in a redundant manner."
Consider not only your career standards, but also your personal standards, as they often correlate with your overall state of satisfaction.
"In order to know what kind of Spring-cleaning you need in your professional life, it's important to know who you are — professionally and personally," reiterates Hallie Crawford, career coach and founder of HallieCrawford.com. "What are your personal values, your career values, and how do you want those to be reflected in your job? What are your interests and what kind of lifestyle do you want? The answers to these questions can help you see what adjustments you can make to better honor your values for your well-being."
8. Make a list of goals.
What, exactly, do you want to get out of your job in the shorter term? In the longer term?
"Get out of your comfort zone," Crawford says. "Make a list of three to five goals you would like to accomplish during the rest of the year. Keep your list short and realistic, but make sure to push yourself in one to two areas."
9. Get used to prioritizing.
Effective time management is crucial in high work performance. Dig your heels in and polish your prioritizing skills!
"If you feel overwhelmed at work, try prioritizing your work week," Crawford says. "Take 15-20 minutes at the start of each week to plan and organize your week, and prioritize your most important tasks. Or try logging your time for a few weeks to discover where you are spending the majority of your time at work. Then commit to a plan to use your time more productively."
10. Communicate more.
Practice keeping in touch with your colleagues and your boss, no matter where you're at with projects, reports, briefings, or presentations.
"Research reveals that many leaders and aspiring leaders miss the mark on communicating ideas that generate success for themselves and their teams," Merrick says. "Even the smartest leaders with the best ideas and teams won't win if they don't have good communication skills."
11. Rethink your relationships.
You may not think your personal relationships have anything to do with your career productivity, but trust us when we say it does. It has a lot to do with it, in fact.
"Evaluate your relationships," Stahl says. "Too often we end up in unintentional relationships (friendships, romantic) that don't bring true meaning to our lives. Ask yourself: are the people I'm surrounding myself with supportive to the career path I'm on? As Sheryl Sandberg says, who you marry is a career decision just as much as it is a personal life decision. You owe it to yourself to thrive and experience full expression in your career. Let go of the relationships that don't serve you, and don't judge yourself for doing so."
12. Take some time outside of work to invest in your profession.
Last but not least, a little job tightening involves a bit of homework. How much, however, is completely up to you.
"When is the last time you invested in your personal development, leadership skills, or communication skills?" asks Merrick. "This could be attending a seminar, subscribing to and listening to a podcast, reading a book on leadership, or attending an online course." Your career, after all, is worth it.