I spent last Saturday working in my yard, planting, potting, pruning, in general giving our backyard living space a much-needed spring cleaning and freshening-up. Last night, however, I noticed that my hydrangeas were a bit sorry looking and the tomato plants were a bit droopy. The problem with potted plants? You have to remember to water them!

The same can be said for one’s professional life. It needs to be tended to and watered on a regular basis in order to grow and to flourish. We have written on some of this before which includes items such as networking, re-connecting with former associates and taking classes to stay current. But first take a step back to prepare the ground of your professional garden.

Weeding: This can easily be an all-day project so first pour yourself a cool glass of lemonade.

  • Start with your desk. Go through that ever-growing pile of paper, those miscellaneous newspaper articles that you have set aside to read, the receipt from the business lunch from three months ago, your child’s second grade school photo (never mind the fact that he is in middle school now). Take the time to take read, file or trash each of these items.
  • Now tend to your contacts. This is where it’s a bit more difficult to distinguish a weed from a flower but begin to prune email and phone contacts. Delete duplicate contacts and ones that that are no longer valid or relevant.
  • Social media: Take a fresh look at your social media landscape and weed through who you follow, who follows you and determine if you need to trim your network.

Planting: Now that your work garden is prepped now it’s time to plant a few seeds.

  • Reach out to a few new contacts
  • Join a networking group or professional organization
  • Listen in on an industry webinar or attend an event in person

Nourishing: To keep your garden in good shape, give it a little love each week

  • Weed on a regular basis: don’t let that desk get out of control again
  • Add a little fertilizer: subscribe to a new magazine or industry journal or take a continuing –ed class
  • Don’t forget to water: check in on your progress weekly if not daily, you don’t want any leads to dry-up or contacts to wither

Harvesting: In a few weeks, you’ll begin to see the product of your efforts start to take shape and can begin reaping the rewards of your hard work!