DIY Spring Cleaning

Leaders are created from within

What you become as a leader is a direct result of the focus and effort you put into your own personal development. Here are five things you can do now to improve your chances of being a successful leader. Take the initiative and do-it-yourself.


Re-assess your planning effectiveness. Once each weekend sit down for 20 minutes and review your important plans for the coming week. Focus on highlighting your long term objectives and the important things in your horizon. Starting on Monday, at the end of each day, take 10 minutes to repeat this process until Thursday looking forward to the next day.The cumulative effort takes only one hour weekly but you’ll gain at least 4 hours more of productive time if you keep your eye on the plan regularly and routinely.


For each month of the year set aside a three hour period where you can focus yourself on deepening your leadership skills in an area you feel is lacking. Most leaders need to be great in about eight to ten skills. With a concerted effort you can constantly update these critical areas on a routine basis. Don’t worry about picking 12 topics months ahead, just choose a relevant topic, prior to the scheduled time, ensuring you leave enough time to collect learning material to keep you inspired or find a course that is relevant.


Routinely review your entire to-do list. Reclassify everything according to the following criteria:

Categorize your TO DO list
Important Not Important
Urgent A1 B1
Not Urgent A2 B2

For every item classified B2, trash them. For items classed B,1 delegate to other people or find a way not to do them. For items classed A1, dedicate no more than 30% of your available time to completing them. Spend the rest of your time on the A2 items. You will find that this technique ensures you remain focused upon the significant objectives in your life.

Free Yourself

Review the independent authority you allow your subordinates. Give at least one direct report one more degree of freedom each month. You will ultimately free yourself up if that individual starts making more important decisions independently.


Every month arrange to meet a colleague you work with for an hour and do something that is totally fun. Go have an ice cream, fly a kite, shoot baskets or become an instant art critic at the gallery. Get lost in the moment of just being there.

So if you followed the spring cleanup plan what would you have accomplished a year from now?

  1. Spent a week and a half planning your success,
  2. Squeezed nearly a week’s worth of learning into a busy schedule,
  3. Eliminated a quarter of your to-do list guilt,
  4. Caused your subordinates to become more self sufficient,
  5. Created at least 12 happy memories with some of your colleagues, and
  6. You did-it-yourself!
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