Try this 5-step exercise to clear your calendar for spring

You can use this tried-and-tested calender reset to make way for a new season.
A new season ahead.
A new season ahead.
Photo: Cris Toala Olivares (Getty Images)
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While spring takes a little longer to reach me in Detroit than in other parts of the country, it’s about this time of year when I’m hit with the spring-cleaning spirit. And I’m not just talking about clearing out an overflowing junk drawer or rearranging my home office space. I also look to dust off my calendar and clear out unnecessary work rituals that are no longer serving me.

I most often run this Ritual Reset play with teams, but it is just as effective of a tool when seeking to disrupt your personal work schedule to create more space for what matters. If your day-to-day would benefit from thorough cleaning, try this 35-minute personal ritual reset.

Step one: Prep

Open this Trello template for the personal version of Ritual Reset. If you want a break from your screen, you can also use a pad of paper or sticky notes. Create 4-5 columns or headers and label them with increasing time intervals from left to right (like daily, weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, and quarterly). Then create a new table or group of lists and label them “Keep,” “Change” and “Remove.”

Step two: Audit

Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down all your individual work rituals. Look back at your calendar and emails from the last few weeks or months to jog your memory. As you jot down a ritual, label it with “Owner” or “Participant” to signify your role.

Step three: Evaluate

Think hard about each event and determine what you’d like to do…

  • Do you want to keep it as is?
  • Do you want to change it up? (That could include consolidating multiple rituals, or changing their frequency, duration, timing, or outcomes.)
  • Do you want to remove it?

Step four: Add

Take 5 minutes to consider if you need to add new rituals to help you be more productive. Things like a daily lunch break, focus time blocks on specific days, or start/end day times. It’s not always above removing things from your calendar that can help you feel more productive.

Step five: Take action

For the rituals you own, make the changes on your calendar before you complete the reset. Change the frequency of that 1:1. Add focus time chunks to your calendar. Remove that meeting you no longer need to attend. For the rituals you attend, capture the actions you need to take to fix these moving forward, talking with the meeting’s owner.

I recommend running this play at least once a quarter. Take a look at your calendar now and block 35 minutes to run this play. There’s nothing quite like that lightness you feel after dropping off a bag of old clothes and goods at a donation center. Why not give yourself the gift of decluttering in your work life as well?

Mark Cruth is Atlassian’s resident Modern Work Expert. Focused on practice over theory, Mark spends his days coaching both Atlassian and customer teams on new ways of working, then sharing what he’s learned at events around the world.