Courtesy of KonMari Media, Inc.
First, she won us over with her best-selling book, The magic that changes the life of storage, then a popular Netflix series, encouraging families to eliminate the clutter in their homes. Now world renowned organizing expert Marie Kondo is back with Joy at work: organize your professional life – a new book which extends its new KonMari method of organizing items by category rather than specific pieces of office space. In addition, she has released a collection of minimalist office supplies, ranging from notebooks to desk organizers, to add style to your workspace.
Kondo’s book, which is co-authored with organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein, explores how to “spark joy in your career” by keeping a desk tidy, taking control of your digital data, managing your time well and by committing to maintain only professional relationships that are precious to you. When all of these areas are covered with the KonMari method in mind, Kondo believes that you will be more productive and more satisfied with your work.
Here, Kondo explains what readers can get out of Joy at work, even when we work at home.
What is your opinion on “joy at work”?
When we ask ourselves what triggers joy, we reconnect with our inner selves and find out what is really important to us. This approach can be applied to all aspects of life – from your home to your career.
My co-author Scott Sonenshein and I wrote Joy at work to offer advice and tools for a joyful career. Tidy up the workspace – as well as our tasks, meetings, emails, etc. – can help us become more organized, get better results and find joy at work.
Now that most people are working from home given the coronavirus epidemic, what advice would you give to setting up a home office?
No matter where you work, it’s important to create an environment that helps you focus. If you don’t have a home office, identify the items that are crucial to doing your job and designate a clear place for them – a box or portable carrier will do the trick. When it’s time to work, move all unrelated items out of your workspace and add something that makes you happy when you look at it – I always keep a crystal or a small vase of fresh flowers on my desk. I also suggest doing something that marks the start of your work day. I hit a tuning fork and diffuse essential oils to signal my body that I’m changing gears.
Are there easy organizational tips that can have a lasting impact and increase productivity?
The KonMari ™ method is to choose what to keep in life depending on whether or not it elicits joy – then assign each of these items a designated place in your home. It’s simple but it changes your life! Once done, the maintenance of your workspace or office is no different from anywhere else in the house.
Paper and books are two problems in offices. How do you approach them?
As far as papers are concerned, my advice is to dispose of everything that does not fall into three categories: currently used; necessary for a limited period of time; or must be kept indefinitely.
I recommend storing most items, including paper, vertically for two reasons. First, if you stack things up, you end up with what appears to be inexhaustible storage space, making it harder to notice how much you’ve accumulated. Second, things at the bottom of a pile essentially disappear – they move away from our consciousness and we postpone processing them.
The real purpose of a book is to be read. When deciding which books to keep, forget if you are going to read them again or if you have a handle on the information inside. Take each book in your hand and decide if it touches you or not. Keep only the books that you will just enjoy seeing on your shelves – the ones you really like. When it comes to the number of books you need to keep, there is no fixed number. The amount that looks good differs for each individual.
Do you have a favorite way to organize the top of your desk?
I prefer to keep the top of my desk as clear as possible, but if storing items on your desk is fine, that’s fine! I like to keep some joyful items on my desk – usually a small vase of flowers, a crystal and my zen egg.
What is the best tactic to handle an increase in emails and video calls?
Before you start working, take a moment to refocus. I hit a tuning fork to purify the air around me, a practice that helps me focus and feel calm. me too spread an essential oil or spritz has fog– like peppermint – which is stimulating and marks the start of my work day. These are simple ways to take care of yourself during a stressful day with an overwhelming amount of messages and calls.
For emails, I recommend setting aside time at the start and end of each day to browse through them, rather than constantly checking throughout the day. When it comes to tidying up your meetings – virtual or otherwise – prioritize the invitations that are essential to doing your job and ensuring a prosperous future. It is good to say no – politely – to calls and meetings where you are not strictly necessary.
What are the tips for making decisions and maintaining a strong network?
Regarding your decisions, organize them into three categories: low, medium and high stakes. Many low-stakes decisions can be automated – President Obama only wore gray or blue suits to reduce the number of decisions he had to make in a day! Sort your decisions with medium and high stakes and isolate those that are essential for your work. Give priority to these and – as much as possible – automate or delegate the rest.
An effective network does not have to be large. Make your network a joy – lots of people you enjoy spending time with, who care about your development and success, and who are comfortable asking for advice and guidance.
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