Whether you’ve read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or watched “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix, you’re probably familiar with the KonMari method.
If you don’t know it, the KonMari method of tidying is done by searching for items that “spark joy” and is done through category instead of by room. For whatever items you choose to discard, you thank them then let them go. Marie Kondo explains that beyond being an extremely effective method, it also “places great importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking”.
While KonMari and the rest of Marie Kondo’s methods work well for the home and personal items, you’re probably wondering how you can apply it to your career and work life.
Well first things first, ensure your job sparks joy.
One of Marie Kondo’s key teachings is to “discard everything that does not spark joy.” While a simple method when it comes to possessions, it’s a little harder to use when it’s about your job. But think about it like this: We get 24 hours a day and we rest for 8, play for 8 and work away the other 8. Is your life really worth wasting on something that sparks no joy while eating away a third of your day? If the answer is no, then it’s time to start working on a plan to change that.
De-clutter your workspaces and, in turn, your mind.
Let’s face it – whether it’s your desk space, your email inbox or all the files on your desktop, mess is overwhelming. The fear of possibly needing something in the future makes getting rid of anything at work difficult. But Marie explains that you should “dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must keep indefinitely.”
Thanks to technology it’s now much easier to tidy your electronic documents into those three categories and get rid of everything else. Email archive features means that the days of having to permanently delete files is no longer necessary. When it comes to your desk, you should employ a similar filing system to organise the paperwork you feel you need to keep. This organisation will help clear your workspaces and mind, as according to Marie: “when a room becomes cluttered, the cause is more than just physical. Visible mess helps distract us from the true source of the disorder.”
Use your personal power spot as starting point if you feel lost.
Beyond the pile of unread books and never-ending stacks of files, you’ll likely find an array of personal items on your co-worker’s desks. This is because every desk has their “power spot” – the area with the items which spark the most joy. These personal touches are a way of adding joy to an area that doesn’t normally have much naturally. Some choose photos of friends or notes from colleagues, while others opt for a couple of desk plants or a painting from their child.
Regardless of what goes into one’s power spot, there’s no doubting that these items are important. But you can use your power spot to start how you declutter and refocus your working space. “To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose,” Marie explains. So by having your power spot, you can easily see what you no longer need.
And start to thank things for making your job easier.
One of the main principles of KonMari is thanking things for what they’ve given us before disposing of them. However, when it comes to the tools you use to help you with your job, we often only recognise the negatives. For example, any time our laptops crash we tend to voice our anger over how old and incapable the machine is instead of recognising how much it has serviced us.
The equipment we use undoubtedly makes our jobs easier and 90% of the time work perfectly, but we never acknowledge that. Instead we choose to focus on the 10% of the time that the equipment failed. Marie Kondo explains that there are items that can inadvertently spark joy as they help you every day. “They are making your days go by – meaning, you have not realised that they are making you happy.” Marie says. “They are sparking joy to you, subconsciously.”