As the days get longer - finally - and temperatures moderate, an interesting phenomenon takes place. Spring Cleaning. Each year, there's the urge to open the windows, let air in and install that freshness throughout the house. Picking up, sprucing up and generally making every thing new -- or almost so -- goes into full swing. The question is: Does it happen only at home?
As I write this, I look around the office, which I've occupied for over 15 years...and it now shows it. Too much stuff. I love my family, but how many pictures do I really need of each of them? I must really be important, or at least all the trophies and plaques say so. Do I need therapy for my narcissism? Papers are everywhere. If it's a flat surface, it holds a stack of papers, old quotes, publications, file folders, books and maybe an old sandwich somewhere underneath.
I've threatened to correct the sad situation many times and then, of course, I sit down, and my resolve leaves as quickly as the air from the seat cushion. Instead, I pick up the phone, fire up the computer, answer e-mails, check social media and generally get down to business. I'll get to it tomorrow. Only tomorrow turns into a month or two of tomorrows. The stacks have grown, not so you'd notice right away, but if I'm away more than a day or two, I realize how high they've grown, and it's depressing. My to-do list has included the "clean up office" line at the top for quite some time. It just never moves over to the done side.
The physical condition of the office is one thing, and someday soon I'll get to it. It's the stale, same and routine way of doing things that needs a good spring cleaning every so often. Now is a good time to open the windows of your mind, your company and your work life.
Where is the balance? "All work and no play," goes the old saying "makes Johnny a dull boy." Making work your be-all and end-all isn't only unfortunate, it's unhealthy. Work provides for lives, not the other way around. Time is always moving forward. Do you really want to get to the end saying you should have spent more time enjoying life out of the office? Get out and take pleasure in life. It's a true gift.
Change gears. If you've been flying at supersonic speeds, turn off the afterburners and engage the auto pilot for a little while each day. It'll give you a chance to catch your breath and allow you to open your mind to new and different answers to those questions that don't seem to get answered when you're moving so fast. Build in that time. Schedule closed-door time. Read a chapter of a good book - preferably not a business book. Turn on the TV and watch a couple of innings of a ball game. Your stamina will increase exponentially, and your freshness will be restored.
"We've always done it that way" should be next thing to go. Routines provide comfort. We know what to expect. Do this and that happens. Don't do this and the other will happen. We've done it a thousand times and understand the process and the results. That's the problem. Same old, same old doesn't allow for creativity, improvement or change of any type. It's cousin "We tried that" should also be banished. Just because something was tried previously, doesn't mean it was executed correctly or that it has no value today. Different eyes and minds keep the landscape changing. Allow your mind and the minds of others to flourish and keep making things new.
The freshness of Spring should motivate you to add newness to your life. Much like the work to-do list, you should identify and address that one personal thing that you always wanted for yourself -- not for a spouse, child or parent, nor anyone else for that matter. What's that heart's desire that just hasn't made it to the top of your personal priority list. Take a look at it. Don't let "I can't" win. You can and should take care of yourself. If your desire is something that is doable, go for it. If it's large, it might need some planning. In that case, start the plan and make sure it gets a "complete by" date. Trust me, you're worth it.
And don't get me started on my golf game.
If you would like to read more of Greg's published articles please visit the Lorraine Gregory Communications Group website
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.