Dr. Christi Hegstad is a Certified Executive & Leadership Coach, president of the International Coach Federation (Iowa chapter), a Forbes Coaches Council member, and owner of MAP Professional Development Inc.
Quite a lot, actually. Consider this scenario:
You wake up in the morning feeling uncharacteristically energized and alert. An exciting project awaits you – one that uses your strengths and passions and that will make a huge difference – and you’ve been anticipating the day when you’d have focused, quality time to work on it. Today’s the day!
You shower, grab your coffee or tea, walk into your workspace, and immediately feel swallowed up by all the papers, files, notes, lists, piles… You can hardly see your desk or chair for all the clutter.
How likely are you jump right into that project now?
Chances are, your energy and focus promptly take a nosedive. Just as physical “stuff” can drain us of precious motivation, so too can clutter in other, less obvious forms.
Good news, though! You can spring clean those less tangible areas, too – at any time of year. Here are five great places to begin clearing up your leadership:
- Your schedule.
Is every moment of the day accounted for? The lack of breathing room can contribute significantly to stress and distraction. Build in some buffers throughout the day – even just ten minutes here and there – and use them for quick walks, meditation, or absolutely nothing.
- Your meetings.
What do unproductive, aimless, never-ending meetings bring out in you? Probably not your best side. Send a (brief) agenda in advance, clarify and gain agreement on the desired meeting results, hold standing meetings, start and end on time. Side note: Start each meeting with everyone sharing a win. It’s quick, uplifting, and energizing!
- Your to-do list.
How many items are on your to-do list today? Now, honestly, how many will you actually complete? Identify what I call your Daily Top 3 – your three most important priorities of the day – then focus on them intently. Practice delegating, outsourcing, re-ordering, or letting go of other tasks.
- Your self-doubt.
Everyone questions their decisions and abilities from time to time, but don’t let your uncertainty derail you. “Decide & Take Action” has long been one of my guiding principles; seeking support, reviewing your successes, and surrounding yourself with positive people can all help.
- Your message/brand.
What do you stand for? What is your authentic leadership brand? What do you want to be known and remembered for? Trying to please everyone means essentially you please no one, especially not yourself. Conduct a values clarification and revisit (or create) your purpose statement, using them as your filter and guide.
What’s your favorite spring cleaning tip? Consider how you might apply a variation of it to your work, leadership, or life. For added inspiration, check out a decluttering book for ideas.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, for example, promotes physical decluttering based in one underlying question: “Does the item spark joy?” If it does, keep it, says Kondo. If it doesn’t, it’s time to let it go.
Ask yourself similar questions with commitments, to-do items, activities, and the like: “Does it help me fulfill my purpose? Does it align with my values and goals? Does is serve the greater good? Am I the best person to do it?”
Pause. Open the proverbial window and let in some fresh spring air. Spring clean your work, leadership, and life – and move a little more lightly as a result!
How will you spring clean your work, leadership, and life? Share your thoughts below.
Dr. Christi Hegstad is a certified and award-winning executive and leadership coach who helps people work, live, and lead with meaning and purpose. Learn more at www.meaning-and-purpose.com or on Facebook, Twitter (@DrChristiCoach), and Instagram (@DrChristiHegstad).