How to KonMari Your Career and Find Joy in Work Again
Ever since the January premiere of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix, it seems that everyone has Kondo fever. You’ve been getting Snapchats left and right of your pals organizing their dresser drawers. Your mom keeps calling you to ask if various items in your childhood closet still bring you joy (because if they don’t, she’s going to thank them and then promptly toss them). You’re just itching to take control of the seemingly thousands of random utensils in your kitchen because — let’s be honest — you’re not even sure what most of them do. But the applications of Kondo’s now famous “KonMari method” aren’t limited to just your home life: The concepts behind it could be just as useful in your career. MrOwl CEO Arvind Raichur has felt especially inspired to apply KonMari at the office, and he offers six specific suggestions to help you do the same.
1. Seek opportunities that spark joy on the job. The concept of “sparking joy” is a hallmark of Kondo’s brand. You may find it hard to believe that these bursts of happiness are possible in a professional setting — but guess what? They are. Raichur encourages you to think about the tasks and responsibilities that you most enjoy, then be proactive about meeting with your manager to let them know that you’d love the opportunity to take on more of those tasks and responsibilities. “You can determine if it’s possible to adjust your role to incorporate more of the things that you enjoy into a deeper part of your overall position,” he explains. “This becomes a win-win scenario for both the company and yourself, because it plays to your strengths and keeps you engaged and feeling satisfied as an employee.”
2. Set your personal milestones. Kondo talks a lot about the importance of visualization, so it’s time for you to visualize your ideal work life. How do you want to feel when you walk into the office? How do you want others to see you as a professional? How do you want to grow in your career? Use the answers to these questions to brainstorm — and physically write down — your goals as a reminder of what true success will look like. Then break the goals into small pieces so you can celebrate incremental wins.
3. Declutter your inbox. Apply the KonMari method to your email. Create folders and subfolders to archive old messages you want to keep so that your inbox will only house emails that actually require action on your part. For the emails you can get rid of, take a moment to appreciate the effort it took for the sender to compose each message before you discard it. Revisit any mailing lists that you’re currently on and consider unsubscribing if you always immediately trash the emails. Even if you don’t quite get to inbox zero, you’ll feel more in control of said inbox.
4. Maximize appreciation. “At work, you may not be talking to your items and thanking each object for serving its purpose the way Kondo suggests, but you can apply the same principle toward your colleagues,” suggests Raichur. “Sharing gratitude at work will encourage others to mimic a similar behavior.” Start small by verbally acknowledging coworkers who bring their strongest game to a meeting and sending thank you emails to those who help you with a project or assignment.
5. Tidy up your digital life. Streamline desk clutter by scanning documents and organizing them as PDFs on your desktop. Step up your digital organization by revamping the directories and subfolders on your computer. When you have a designated system like this, it will be easier to determine what you can actually get rid of.
6. Commit to the minimalist life. “Applying the KonMari method to your professional life should empower you to eliminate distractions and focus better on your work tasks at hand,” Raichur encourages. Get minimalist on the job by stashing your devices during working hours, staying off of social media until it’s time for your lunch break, and asking your work bestie to resist the urge to ping you with office gossip at all hours of the day.
(Photo via Getty)