5 Spring Cleaning Tips for a Calmer, More Efficient Work Life

Spring kindly offers us the opportunity to finally step out of the gloomy, unmotivated days of winter and into the fresh sights of the new season. We naturally find more pep in our step in all aspects of our life—workout routines, social activities, and yes, even our careers. That is if we take the time to give them a good ol’ refresh, of course. Of all the areas of your life that might appear on your spring cleaning checklist this year, I hope you’re not forgetting about that last one: spring cleaning your work life.

The start of a new season always allows us to adjust and modify our routines, but there is something special about the fresh spring air that makes freeing your mind and calendar feel so much easier. It’s the perfect time to pause, reflect, and reinvent your workday, which ultimately paves the way for a more productive and stress-free work life.

So whether your physical workspace needs some love, your calendar needs a slight (or more dramatic) overhaul, or you want to adjust your workday to have more time for life outside of work, look no further than these five ways to spring clean your work life.

1. Deep clean your physical space

When was the last time you cleaned your keyboard? Or, for that matter, when was the last time you wiped down your laptop screen? They are easy to forget! (To be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I cleaned my physical workspace before now.) Look at your desk, home office, or wherever else you spend time working, and make a note of all your equipment that needs cleaning. For me, that includes wiping down the surface of my desk, cleaning all screens and monitors, wiping down my mouse, eliminating old sticky notes and other random sheets of paper that have found a home on my desk, and vacuuming my office chair. I also vacuum under my desk (hello, dust buildup from running the heat in the winter) to ensure my space is fresh.

Depending on your setup, you might have other office accessories that could use additional spring cleaning love. I have a filing cabinet next to my desk where I keep notebooks, paperwork, pens, and other notes that I always organize as part of my physical space deep clean. Whether you want to tackle them all in one day (go you!) or tackle a few at a time, you’ll instantly feel refreshed. Clear space, clear mind, right?

2. Evaluate how you’re spending your time

It’s easy to fall into habits and commitments (especially in the winter) that might not be the best or most exciting use of our time, like hitting snooze multiple times in the morning or skipping your end-of-day planning sessions in favor of more time watching TV. But spring is the perfect time to reflect and sit with your calendar to understand 1) where your time is going and 2) whether you still feel aligned with how you spend your time. Sure, some of your commitments might fall out of your control based on your employer, current circumstances, or responsibilities, but there are almost always ways you can shake up your day-to-day to create routines that reinvigorate you.

To evaluate your time and identify what you need to be doing more or less, ask yourself a few of the following questions:

  • What activities and obligations do I have that deplete me (or cause anxiety or stress)?
  • Which tasks do I own that I’m not excited about?
  • What activities and commitments bring me joy?
  • Which parts of my day-to-day tasks excite me?
  • Is there anything on my calendar that I should remove?
  • Are there meetings I’m attending that are no longer serving a purpose?
  • How can I create a schedule that feels more intentional?

The best place to start is with changes you have full control over. If there’s an activity bringing you joy, like spending more time on professional development, take action and add it to your calendar. Next, prioritize the remaining areas you might need to tackle with a boss or coworker, like seeing if you can remove yourself from meetings that don’t move the needle for you. Sometimes, our schedules need a significant overhaul, and sometimes, other small adjustments are all it takes to release yourself from an outdated routine.

spring cleaning
Source: @roberto-hund | Pexels

3. Clean out your digital files

With increased dependence on technology comes an increase in the amount of digital files we depend on. I don’t know about you, but if you asked to peek at my desktop or Google Drive, I wouldn’t let you. It’s filled with an embarrassing number of odds and ends, and depending on the day, my inbox can feel this way, too. All of this digital clutter can slow you down, hinder your productivity, and even increase your stress—trust me.

Learn from my mistakes, and don’t wait until you’re drowning in files, documents, and other need-to-keep information to get organized. To keep this from feeling like a daunting mission, set aside half an hour or an hour to manage your digital life (this includes your email, task management system, and any other programs you use) throughout the spring. Create folders to organize the files you need and eliminate anything you will not reference in the future. If you’re doing this with work files, check in with your boss to ensure you don’t mistakenly get rid of critical information!

Not only will a more organized digital space feel like a massive sigh of relief, but you’ll finally know where the heck to find the documents you’re looking for and feel confident that you didn’t accidentally misplace something or send it to the trash.

4. Block time to get outdoors

Few things in life are better than a walk on a spring day with a coffee or tea in hand, a solid podcast playing or a phone call with an old friend, and some sunshine warming up the cool air. If you fell into the trap of spending more time working or sitting at your desk without realizing it in the winter, listen up: It’s time to take advantage of the spring weather and shake up your work day with more time outside.

Any time spent outdoors will make a big difference in your mood, output, and overall well-being, so identify where in your workday you can accommodate this. Can you fit in a walk after work? If you have a lunch block on your calendar, can you plan to take lunch outside (with no screens) a couple of days a week? Maybe you can start your workday later to enjoy reading on your porch before you jump into work mode. Whatever the case, search for opportunities in your schedule or create new ones to prioritize time outside as a part of this year’s spring cleaning.

5. Automate what you can

You might not even realize how much mental space your daily tasks and monotonous to-dos take up. Not to mention how much time you might be wasting that could be better spent on other priorities and activities. Automating tasks is a great way to solve this issue and free up some of your time for whatever else you need—whether it be more pressing work tasks or even creativity, self-care, or your passion project.

For example, if you use a project management tool to manage your to-do list but are currently blocking your time manually on your Calendar to accommodate them, look into a calendar automation tool to help you automate time blocking. (I’m a big fan of using Clockwise for this.) Similarly, if you find that you’re copying and pasting the same email over and over again and just adjusting a few words, create a template. While some things in your day-to-day might feel small and not worth adjusting, trust me when I say that automation can save you a ton of time and mental space in the long run.

If you need inspiration, browse some of our favorite productivity tools like Calendly, Zapier, Asana, ClickUp, and more. As you tackle your spring cleaning, tools like these that offer automation can help you make the most of your time, schedule, and mental energy.

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