Joy at Work by Marie Kondo

Joy at Work

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo

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Marie Kondo’s latest book is full of advice and organizational tips that will help you find joy in work. Our jobs take up a big portion of our days, and we should strive to make them as stress free and satisfying as possible. This book at a lot of good advice, I summarized below some of the chapters, but there is a lot more I did not mention. If you like what you see below you should read the full book.

Why you should read Joy at Work

Marie Kondo’s first book made people realize how much happiness a clean environment can bring. A messy and disorganized house clutters the mind and stresses you out. The same idea can be applied to your desk at work.

Joy at Work explains that if your personal space at work is tidy, the more others see you as an ambitious person. Studies show that tidy people gain others trust more easily and are more likely to be promoted. Marie mentions a phenomenon called the Pygmalion effect. This means that if other expect more of you, you will rise to those expectations. Cleaning your desk can accomplish that in 3 ways.

  • A tidy desk will result in higher evaluation if your capabilities
  • This will raises your self esteem at work
  • Then as a result you work harder and your performance improves

Tiding can be good for your mindset at work too. It gives you an opportunity to go over everything you do and discover what you value at work. If you find what bring you joy at work, you can put more focus on that aspect, and as a result have a happier career. Or it can give you the push to begin a new career that does bring you joy.

Papers are stored in the third drawer. They should be stored upright, in folders or boxes

How to tidy your workspace

In Joy at Work, tiding your workspace involves categorizing you possessions the same way as she taught us to do in our homes, but minus clothing. You work on one category at a time by putting all your belongings into a pile and sorting through them one by one. The categories for the office are books, papers, and komono (sentimental items). To help you decide what to keep and what sparks joy you need to ask yourself these questions.

  • Books: Do you want to read it again? Does it motivate and energize you? Does it keep you updated on the latest information? Will it help you preform better? If you didn’t have it, would you still buy it now?
  • Papers: Marie’s rule: discard everything. Otherwise categorize your papers into: pending, save because you want to , and save because you have to. How does she recommend we store paper? Store each category upright in a cabinet or file folder. For your pending papers, make a pending box on your desk.
  • Komono. This category involves many things. Divide your stuff and tackle each of the following separately (office supplies, electrical, personal, and food) and only keep what you need. Which means don’t keep 10 pens and a stack of 5 notepads. Put all of your supplies away in drawers. If getting rid of sentimental objects is difficult for you, try to take a picture of it before you throw it out.

Once you decide what to keep, Marie has a few tips for storage. She suggests designating a place for each category, and always put things back immediately after you use them. To organize your desk drawers Marie suggests the following: business cards and stationary go in the top drawer; electrical, personal and food in the second; and documents and paper go in the third. Just like she suggests for the home, it helps to use boxes inside your drawers to keep things organized and upright so you can see everything at a glance. I took this advice from her last book in my house and it makes a huge difference. My drawers all look so much neater when I put small boxes inside to store small items. The last piece of advice? Don’t store anything on top of your desk. I feel like that should be in caps. Otherwise you desk will slowly become a mess again. A plant or a picture frame is fine, a personal item that sparks joy, as well as your pending box.

How to Tidy Digital Work

Your digital work is all the things we store on our computer and phones. These devices can become just as cluttered as our physical workspace, which makes it hard to find things. The categories for digital work are: documents, emails, and phone apps.

Start by organize your computer at work. Marie suggests deleting all the documents stored on our computes unless they follow these rules:

  • They get the job done
  • You need them for guidance for future work
  • Or they spark joy (praise, or positive review)

Once you have your list of documents reduced, the next step is cleaning up your folders. With the ability to search for files its better to minimize the amount of folders you have. The basic folders you should require are:

  • Current projects. Plus sub folders for each project.
  • Records. This will hold any documents that outline procedures, or polices you have to remember.
  • Saved work. This is where you store documents from past projects, but only if you think that it will be useful to yo in the future.

Your desktop should stay empty, and only hold pending documents that you are currently working on.

Transform your desktop into a place that helps you get your work done, and sparks joy

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

How to Tidy your Email

This is another place that can quickly get cluttered and messy. I have the habit of keeping all emails and never deleting anything. The authors suggest we only keep what will be needed in the future. To help you decide what is important, ask these questions: Will you need it in the future? Will it provide you with knowledge inspiration or motivation? Does it spark joy? The following are some ways to clean up your email.

  • Folders: Just like your computer folders your email folders should be kept to a minimum
  • Inbox: this is a temporary space for email that are waiting to be processed. Try to empty your inbox before you leave for the night
  • Attachments: Don’t keep emails because they have important attachments. Instead save the attachments and store them in a folder on your computer.

It will be easier to stay organized if you keep your incoming emails to a minimum. Unsubscribe for any lists or newsletter. And moving forward when you send emails, only send them to those responsible for an action or who need to be consulted or informed. Hopefully if others in your organization see you doing this, they will follow.

Using blocks of time for email will also minimize distractions and allow you to focus on the work that matters most to you

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

How to Tidy your Time

Marie Kondo is joined in this book by a second author Scott Sonenshein, he describes activity clutter as a result of all the things we do that take up time and sap our energy but don’t make a meaningful difference to our personal or professional mission. The easiest way to gain time is to make sure we are not taking on more then necessary. He calls this the Over-earning Trap. This happens when our effort is wasted on goals we don’t value.

To get our best work in the least amount of time you have to learn to prioritize. What he teaches in this part is very similar to the advice given in the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I summarized here.

It is important to understand the difference between urgent and important tasks. Urgent tasks must be done by a certain time, or cant be done at all. Important tasks have big positive outcomes or negative consequence if you don’t do them. When prioritizing your to-do list, the first priority should be tasks that are urgent and important. Second, do important but not urgent tasks. These are the tasks that are often forgotten because they are more difficult. But in the long term if you miss these you are not doing the work that really matters to your career and your company. Don’t be tempted to tackle urgent but not important second just because they provide a quick and easy win.

Think of all the things you do in a day and write down all your tasks and evaluate them. If something doesn’t fulfill these requirement you should stop doing it. Try delegating it to a coworker, or requesting to be removed.

  • It is required to keep my job or for me to excel at it
  • It will help me create a joyful future
  • It will result in an raise, or provide anew skill.
  • It Sparks joy and work satisfaction.

Don’t trade an activity you’d love to pursue, for a reward you don’t value

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

How to tidy your meetings.

No one likes to spend hours of their day in meeting where nothing was accomplished. Poor meetings are one of the greatest obstacles to productivity. Keep only your necessary meetings, that result in the best work and bring the greatest satisfaction the the participants. Meetings are for discussions and decision making. So if a meeting is purely informational, it might be better to send an email or slides. If the meeting purpose is not relevant for learning or contributing it time to stop going. Here are some tips to make meetings productive and enjoyable

  • Have a agenda presented before the meeting
  • Don’t invite to many people. The right people have unique information, authority to take action, or make decisions
  • Set a timeline
  • Take the time to read the agenda and come prepared to the meeting
  • Be present and engaged
  • Put away your phone
  • Listen more, and talk less
  • Speak up if you have unique information, a different perspective or can advance the conversation
  • Don’t blame, interrupt or come with a bad attitude
  • Give a recap at the end, and explain why the time was well spent and the progress that was made.

Instead of being only about cleaning your workspace and keeping it tidy,

provides good advice on how to make going to work an enjoyable experience, by organizing all aspects of your job. By the end of this book if you take some of the advice, your time will be well spent and you will find work more enjoyable.

If you Liked this Book..

Try some of these other books, that have advice for keeping your life and home tidy and organized.

Marie Kondo’s first book is full of tips to keep your home organized. I still use what I learned from this book today.

Written by a professional organizer, Organizing from the Inside Out, tackles different spaces in your home with practical advice on organizing. It may be a little outdated, but still features good advice.

This books includes everything you need to know about moving. It goes beyond organizing your packing to make the whole process easier.


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