The tradition of greeting spring with a thorough clean is as old as the hills and has been observed in countries around the globe.
Although the ‘spring clean’ traditionally referred to cleaning your house from top to bottom, these days we can apply the same principles to almost every area of our life.
Life coach and strategist Samantha Nolan-Smith is the founder of the Women in Freedom Initiative, which supports women to find more freedom in their everyday lives. She says that spring is the perfect time to evaluate your life and make some important alterations. “There’s a sense of rejuvenation that we all experience in spring which makes it one of the best times of the year to make some changes,” she explains.
For many of us though, it is not lack of intention that puts us off the annual spring clean, it is simply lack of time. So you will be delighted to hear that it is possible to spring clean your entire life in half a day. Here’s how.
Your home (1.5 hours)
Let’s be realistic. You probably can’t spring clean your entire house in half a day (unless you are prepared to fork out for a team of professional cleaners!) But you can set the wheels in motion, and if you focus on one or two ‘problem’ areas – then you will see a real difference.
“Focusing on things that will give you an immediate reward is also a good way to guarantee results,” says Samantha.
It is a good idea to start with something that has been bothering you for a while such as a messy cupboard or drawer. Doing something as simple as that might be of benefit to your sense of wellbeing.
Samantha also suggests looking for tasks that will provide you with an instant sense of reward. “Clearing out your bookshelf will have an immediate aesthetic impact or selling a piece of old furniture might bring you an immediate financial reward,” she explains.
“Either way, those simple tasks will then inspire you to take on some of the bigger and more challenging tasks.”
Your digital life (1.5 hours)
Samantha notes that a major cause of stress for many of us is dealing with a constant stream of email and social media notifications. Therefore taking some time to spring clean your digital processes is a really worthwhile exercise.
“Start by streamlining your email system by creating folders and setting rules that automatically send emails to those folders for you to check at an appropriate time,” Samantha suggests.
She also suggests unsubscribing to automated newsletters that are no longer useful but are taking up space in your inbox.
Another ‘quick fix’ is to turn off the social media notifications that pop up on your smart phone. “This can be a really significant step for people who find themselves constantly checking their phones,” says Samantha.
Your body (1 hour)
While you probably can’t achieve your peak fitness in half a day, you can do some serious planning, says award winning fitness specialist Jen Dugardm author of the book How to Love your Body as much as your Baby. She recommends starting with a bit of an audit.
“For fitness I would look at both enjoyment and actual level of commitment i.e. how often is it really getting done? Ask yourself how many days a week do you plan to have free, and lock exercise into your routine,” she explains.
Similarly, Jen suggests assessing your diet, a good place to do that is your kitchen, she says. “Open the fridge; is it full of fresh food? Or is it empty and the freezer and cupboards filled with quick fix meal options?” she explains.
Now for the planning. Jen suggest putting exercise time into your diary in the same way that you would record a doctor’s appointment. “Make it a solid, non negotiable arrangement that you only change if you absolutely have no other option,” she advises.
In addition to this, Jen also notes that it is a good idea to make arrangements with other people. “Organise to meet a friend for a run, join a training group or work with a personal trainer,” she suggests.
Planning is just as important when it comes to improving your nutrition. Jen suggests stocking up on fresh food and researching delicious new healthy recipes to try.
Your future (1 hour)
Spring is a great time to make some plans for the future. This will involve setting some meaningful goals.
Career coach Bev Ryan has extensive experience with career transition and re-skilling. She notes that for some people goal setting is easier said than done. For those that are unclear about what changes they want to make, Bev suggests the following process:
“Ask yourself how you want to feel in six months or twelve months, and you will know the answer. The next question to ask yourself is: what do you need to be experiencing in order to make this a reality?”
Bev says that answering these questions will open up a really useful thought process that will help you identify some big goals. Another way to assess where you are at is to take an online quiz.
Of course you wont be able to tick off any big life goals in half a day. But you can take the first step! This could be as simple as enrolling in a course to learn a new skill or identifying a list of people you can call on for advice.
So, you’re now equipped with how to give your life a refresh in just ½ a day! So what are you waiting for? Today is the best time to start.