Resolve to be successful

Set simple goals—one new thing each month—to re-energize your professional career.


The brilliant, messy desk. Courtesy: CFE MediaI’m frequently chastised at work for my messy desk and office. As I’ve pointed out to my co-workers several times, messy desks are a sign of creativity according to several reports, including one recently published by Fast Co. Clutter promotes creativity, confirmed varying research studies and highly qualified psychological journals. 

Several people would beg to differ. In another office environment I worked at many years ago, one employee was reprimanded for stacking papers, magazines, folders, books, and who-knows-what several feet high on his desk, floor, and any other horizontal surface he could find. While his workspace was technically a safety and fire hazard, it—and he—looked absolutely forlorn once he cleaned it up. It was like he’d lost his identity and mojo along with all of the treasures (or junk, if you like). 

Even in today’s nearly all-digital world, paper still seems to creep into our everyday work lives. Invoices, CAD drawings, event invitations, publications, building code books, notes scribbled from a meeting, product catalogs, and a host of other printed items keep adding to the pile to sift through. 

The start of the new year is a good excuse to clean up—clear off a desk, clean the cobwebs out of one’s head, or simply start fresh with new ideas. It’s also a good time to consider new business opportunities, engage with new partners, or begin a new venture like exploring new revenue options or even a different job. 

My resolution this year is to declutter my professional life. That includes staying on top of e-mail, reviewing written correspondence more quickly, and keeping track of deadlines more efficiently. 

The majority of New Year’s resolutions are broken after the first month. But this one is easy: I challenge you to resolve to do something new or different professionally at least once a month, and send me a photo or a short description of it. So clean off that desk, or go to an educational seminar, or partner with a different company than you did before, and share your success story. The best ones will be shared regularly at E-mail me your ideas or photos at 

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