How to Spring Clean Your Mind, According to Philly Business Leaders

Five local executives explain why decluttering your mind this season is just as important as decluttering your home.

Business leaders explain how to spring clean the mind. L to R: Matt Bergheiser; Matthew Stitt; Meegan Denenberg; and, Brian Selander. Not pictured: Rachel Zimmerman.

Spring is officially in the air, and while the longer days and warmer weather are welcome, the stress of tax season, a new quarter and all the clutter you accumulated over the winter might still be weighing you down. It’s the norm to Marie Kondo your home when these months roll around, but have you ever spring cleaned your mind to declutter those heavy thoughts and refocus? BizPhilly asked local business leaders how they clear out the mess to stay charged for the season ahead.

Matt Bergheiser, president, University City District

To declutter my mind, I challenge myself to read a book that has absolutely nothing to do with anything in my professional life. Right now, I’m reading “The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal” by David McCullough. It’s a tale about making the seemingly impossible real through vision and collective human will.

Meegan Denenberg, co-founder, Little Giant Creative

Since March and April are when campaigns, events, and the schedule accelerate, I like to use this time to strategize our annual objectives and compare them to our long-term vision.

To get rid of any distractions from the year before, I hone in on our core missions and values, review our papers, and confirm the relationship of our programs, cementing them to our commitment to our social impact agenda.

Matthew Stitt, chief financial officer, Philadelphia City Council

For many finance executives, spring is budget season — our busiest time of year. Over eight or more weeks, I’m constantly juggling requests for projections and analysis while knowing that if we miss our rock-hard deadline approximately 25,000 hard-working city employees won’t get paid. It has a way of forcing the mind to concentrate on what needs to be done.

In ideal circumstances, I would have time to get out and play basketball every other day to declutter my brain and help me focus. However, since I’m lucky to catch the first half of the Sixers game most nights, I use Messenger and GChat help me to balance work with my colleagues and local sports $#*%-talking.

Brian Selander, president and COO, Ownable

Because the change of seasons overlaps with the change of quarters, running a company actually offers the perfect chance to spring clean your life. As you’re building and tracking goals for your teams heading into the next season, you can do the same for yourself. As I work through what practices would best be left behind and what’s working, I take the extra step of doing it for the nonbusiness parts of my life.

Rachel Zimmerman, executive director, InLiquid Art + Design

I tidy my mind by walking and spending as much time outside as possible. When I can, I schedule my meetings so that I have enough time to walk instead of relying on transportation.

I especially love to walk through Society Hill and Old City. There are so many little parks and quiet alleys scattered throughout these neighborhoods that offer a small respite from the craziness of the day.

Also, by my desk at home I have a few select works of original art I have collected from local artists that I know. I find that I use them as points of reflection while working.