This is part three in a three-part series on tidying up our inner world: our beliefs, practices, and personal habits. [Click here to read part one and here for part two.]

I call it: spring cleaning for our lives!

Today’s spring cleaning checklist is all about your career.

You’re likely to spend about 90,000 hours at “work” over the course of your lifetime. That’s a huge portion of your life, so it’s a good idea to check in and make sure you’re feeling satisfied, working productively, and moving in a direction that feels right for you… rather than just going through the motions, clocking in, and clocking out.

You deserve a career that feels meaningful — and you can create it.

Let’s begin.

Work your way through the checklist and tick off items as you complete them.

As always: this spring cleaning checklist is just a starting off point.

Feel free to expand or tweak it to suit where you’re currently at in your career.

Add any items that, ahem, spring to mind!



[  ]  Make a list of your major achievements at work over the past six to twelve months. Be as specific and results-focused as you can (try this: “reinvented the dessert menu, rewrote the menu copy, raised sales by 29%” rather than: “changed dessert menu.”)

 [  ]  Read your list of achievements back to yourself. Reaffirm that you’re making a difference at work and in the world. Know, too, that whenever you’re ready to go for a promotion, a new job, or even an entirely new career, you’ll be equipped with data to prove that you’ve got what it takes to succeed!


[  ]  See if your company has any opportunities you might be missing out on — like educational opportunities, training, conferences, or mentoring partnerships that could enhance your life and career. Choose an opportunity that feels exciting and sign up! (If you’re self employed, look for workshops, seminars, e-courses, or opportunities to collaborate with peers you admire. Go for it!)


[  ]  Review everything on your calendar for the upcoming month. Notice which projects or commitments create feelings of bitterness, exhaustion, or resentment. See if there’s something you can do about that — changing the scope or timeline of the project, changing your attitude about the commitment, or canceling if absolutely necessary.

Try to get to a place where all of the commitments on your calendar feel meaningful and essential, rather than frustrating or flat-out unnecessary. (This is a huge gift for your emotional wellbeing!)

[  ]  Flex your “no” muscles. Start paying attention to how many times a day you say “sure!” when your gut / intuition is saying, “nooo.” Keep a stash of email scripts in the drafts folder of your inbox so that you’ve got easy-to-grab language to help you say “no” to requests that aren’t reasonable or simply don’t feel right. (This universal “no” script might help.)

Self care at work.

[  ]  Swap out your standard desk chair for a standing desk, if possible. Sitting for multiple hours every day can wreak havoc on your physical and emotional health. Get up on your feet! This one tweak, alone, could shift your entire year.

[  ]  Set a timer to remind you to take a break, pop outside for fresh air, stretch, or indulge in a calming meditation every 90 minutes or so. (Some productivity experts recommend a 10-minute break every 90 minutes. This 90-10 cycle mirrors your body’s natural ultradian rhythm. Syncing up with this rhythm can enhance your focus and productivity!)

[  ]  Turn your workspace into your personal happy zone. Fresh flowers, photos of loved ones, switching up the color palette, or a big burst of de-cluttering… aesthetic upgrades can definitely create a big mood lift! (These beautiful workspaces are so inspiring!)

Resources for your career:

— My column, Be Well at Work, over at The Muse: an amazing website for career and business advice.

— The Life Guide On How To Find Work That You Love — When You’re Stuck In A Job That You Hate.

Nothing says “spring cleaning” and “renewal” like going after a new job, a promotion, or launching into a totally new career direction! Whether you are making a subtle or radical change, this guidebook (written by me) can help you make a graceful transition.



Rolling a new coat of paint onto the walls, organizing your cabinets and drawers, and spritzing a homemade vinegar cleaning solution onto your kitchen table are all terrific steps to take (who doesn’t love a fresh, clean, tidy living space?).

But while changing your external surroundings can create a temporary mood boost, it’s got to be combined with an “inner clean up” if you want those positive feelings to last.

This spring, focus on spring cleaning your mind.

Use this energizing season of renewal and rebirth as an opportunity to tune-up your inner world.

Do that, first, and you’re positioning yourself see results that last long after spring blossoms turn into summer flowers, autumn leaves, and beyond.

“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” 

—Sitting Bull

Stay focused.

Believe in your ability to transform.

Soon, you may begin to see real growth, new habits taking root, and lasting change that ripples into every part of your life. Soon, you may begin to see the “results of your love.”

Have a beautiful spring!

. . .

Suzanne Gelb, PhD, JD, is a clinical psychologist, life coach, and author. She believes that it is never too late to become the person you want to be: Strong. Confident. Calm. Creative. Free of all of the burdens that have held you back—no matter what has happened in the past.

Her insights on personal growth have been featured on more than 200 radio programs, 250 TV interviews and on Time, Forbes, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, NBC's Today, The Daily Love, Positively Positive, and much more.

To learn more, step into her virtual office at

. . .

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your qualified health provider before implementing or modifying any personal growth or wellness program or technique, and with any questions about your well-being.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. Suzanne Gelb, All rights reserved.

You are reading

All Grown Up

Can Self-Care Be Prioritized When Life's "Super Busy"?

How to make time for ourselves when everyone and everything "needs" us.

Six Ways to Help Your Child Shift from Shyness to Confidence

Feeling shy is a lonely place to be. Parents, you can help!

What to Do if Your Child Feels in Competition With Your Work

Parent-child time and shared experiences reassure children they're loved.