Chances are, you’ve joined the legions of new Marie Kondo fans clearing away clutter this winter. But are you doing it with your work too?
Since Marie Kondo’s hit show debuted on Netflix, millions have been following her “KonMari” method: looking critically at their possessions, wondering if each item was bringing them joy – and if not, letting it go.
Which leads us to ask: have you KonMari’ed your marketing yet?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Kondo’s book, has been a bestseller since its 2011 Japanese publication. Sequels and translations later – and January’s hit reality show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo – everyone you know seems to be following the KonMari method:
- Gather together all of the items in one category.
- Take only at one category at a time.
- Look at each item in that category and decide whether it’s worth keeping, if it’s useful and pleasing – in KonMari jargon, if it “sparks joy”.
- If it is, keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it, and let it go.
- Remove everything you’re not keeping.
- Now, and only now, organize what you have left.
The process honors items that might not be useless, but have simply served their purpose. And it focuses less on decluttering or organizing, and more on becoming more available for what DOES “spark joy.”
It’s editing. Thoughtful, intentional editing. And it’s almost always helpful. Including – maybe even especially – at work. So we think it’s time to take Marie Kondo out of the cabinets and closets and into the office.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you walk up to each colleague, grab them by the shoulder, gaze critically into their eyes, and let them know whether they spark joy in you. Although, if you do, please send video, because that would be amazing.
We do, however, suggest you can take some Marie Kondo principles to work. Here are some questions and suggestions to help you get started.
- Which newsletters do you delete every week? Who are you following on social media that makes you roll your eyes? How many emails do you have that you’ve been telling yourself you’ll get back to? How big are your files from three jobs ago? It’s probably time to let all of those go.
- It isn’t just items that can be KonMari’ed – processes can be too. What are you doing on autopilot? This might include getting reports on outdated measurements. It might include doing the same rote things without even getting measurement reports to see if they work. Or holding the same weekly hour-long meeting you’ve held for six years. Thank those things for how they served a purpose in their time – and let them go.
- With that new office space, file space, brain space – now you can sort out what’s left. Moreover, you now have the room to start to think about where you feel your passion for the work light up. Which to-do’s are you always excited for? Maybe there’s a particular project you’re happiest to work on. Which colleagues are you always happiest to spend time with? They’re probably the ones full of insight and new ideas. And what successes do you wish you could replicate? Spend your time in these places. They’re probably not only where you’re happiest, but where you’re most effective, too.
Trust us … once you start to KonMari, all that lovely peaceful space can feel a bit addictive. And so can feelings of calm and productivity.
Go forth. And may the KonMari be with you!