Clean Sweep

Living in Houston for 16 summers, I have come to anxiously anticipate the first cool breezes of fall. In fact, I have unscientifically calculated October 16 as the date when the heat breaks for good – and we are finally able to spend time outdoors in delightful weather sans humidity and mosquitoes. During the ensuing six weeks leading to Thanksgiving, we wash windows, mow the lawn for the 36th and final time since March, and clean the attic.

There is something peacefully uplifting about getting rid of the clutter that accumulates in storage spaces for possible (read: unlikely) use down the road. Whether it’s the box from the new TV we purchased in May that I saved ‘just in case we need to send it back to the manufacturer’ for warranty repairs, or the bicycle my son had when he was 10 that I kept for the grandkids, or that stand we bought the one time we decided to have a real Christmas tree and I sneezed throughout December while it was in our house and said we’ll never do that again – cleaning the attic is a wonderful form of release and renewal.

It’s also an excellent metaphor for how to approach your professional life. From starting and ending each day with an empty desk (this takes excellent organization and time management skills), to letting go of customers and clients who waste too much of your time (this takes understanding where your profits come from and courage to walk away from business that’s draining yours), to setting development goals for every one of your employees to ensure they grow or go (this takes dedication and not being afraid of candid conversations) cleaning the attic during the next few months will enable you to launch into 2015 with momentum for achieving all those things you didn’t get to this year.


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