Life can get messy.
And sometimes that messiness can permeate your work life, no matter how hard you try to keep it contained.
Your desk gets messy; your email gets messy; your desk mate’s desk gets messy; your life ends up becoming one big mess. This disorganization is how some people thrive–as Time points out, “The more disorganized your brain is, the smarter you are,” but it doesn’t work for everyone. Smart people are organized too, and clearing the clutter from your work life can help in more ways than one.
Enter Marie Kondo.
For those eschewing from all things pop culture, Marie Kondo is a tidying expert, bestselling author, founder of KonMari Media, Inc., and star of Netflix’s Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Under the guidance of Marie, people on the show eradicate their lives of all things that don’t spark joy.
So why not apply those methods to work?
Clutter exist everywhere, but in the workplace, it can lead to some negative outcomes that can affect your life outside of the office. That’s where the spark joy method can come to the rescue.
Here are some lessons we’ve learned from Marie Kondo that can help you at work.
1. Visualize before doing
Before you start tossing out random things and deleting all your emails, think about what you want to accomplish. Are you tired of a cluttered inbox? Does it take you way too long to respond to emails? Do you use a to-do list or do lists stress you out? Whatever it may be, plan ahead before jumping into it. If having a full inbox doesn’t spark joy, then organize your emails and pick a certain part of the day to focus fully on just responding and organizing your email. Cleaning and purging your inbox each day will alleviate some of the stress that’s induced when you sit down at your desk and see double-digit email notifications. This visualization can and should be used before any type of tidying, which, in itself, is a tidying up of what you have going on in your head.
It’s time to hop off the Hot Mess Express and streamline your daily tasks. Like Kondo and her team do for clients, organize your desk and tasks in different categories: things that need immediate action, things that can wait, and things that are more long-term and less time sensitive.
In other words, organize your projects from least important to most important. By doing so, you will be able to focus on what needs your attention first and what can wait. This can apply to things that are physically on your desk and digital as well.
3. Focus on your feelings
One of the most important parts of the KonMari method is being honest about how you feel in your environment. In an office setting, emotions aren’t always encouraged, but you need to be aware of them to make sure your career is fulfilling. If there’s a project you’re working on that doesn’t spark joy, it might be a good indicator that that’s not the path for you. Your career development can be kickstarted once you realize what it is that sparks joy for you.
4. Prioritize your needs
It’s easy to become inundated by the messes that surround us. Your coworker’s desk, the company you work for, and the finger-pointing that comes with most workplaces can easily distract you from your own feelings and what you need. Don’t focus on those messes: prioritize taking care of yourself and your messes. If, because of your personality-related factors, the clutter of others trickles into your life and throws you off, just focus on the things you can control and let your coworkers deal with their disorganization however they please.
5. Make your power spot
In Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, she says any space that is comfortable to be in can be your “power spot.” Fill your power spot with items that spark joy; it could be anything from a picture of you and friends to a local newspaper article you cut out and pinned at your desk because it features a picture of your dog, to a picture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or Celine Dion giving you a thumbs-up with a bedazzled “BOSS” hat on. Making a power spot can help remind you that this is your space and you have the power to make it whatever you want.
So, now’s the time to ask yourself, what sparks joy for you? What helps you be the best version of yourself? What can you do to make your workflow more efficient and have a good time while doing it? Let us know in the comments!