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Joy at Work

Organizing Your Professional Life

By Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein
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Joy at Work by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein

Joy at Work (2020) takes the popular and life-changing KonMari Method of tidying up your home and applies it to your workplace. This new approach is aimed at cleaning up and organizing not just your desk and bookshelves, but also your computer storage and email inbox. As always, using the KonMari Method will also bring you closer to finding joy and rediscovering what’s really important in your life.

Key idea 1 of 9

Tidying up your workspace is about more than just being able to find what you’re looking for.

Are you constantly searching for important documents? Do you spend more time looking for your favorite pen than you do using it? Is describing your desk as “cluttered” putting it mildly?

Don’t worry. Having a messy desk or office is nothing special. But it’s also a bigger problem than just making you disorganized. In fact, in a 2011 survey, 90 percent of American workers saw clutter as having a negative impact on their motivation, productivity, and overall happiness.

The key message here is: Tidying up your workspace is about more than just being able to find what you’re looking for.

You may think that spending a little time looking for a misplaced document now and then isn’t a big deal. But it can be. Consider productivity: studies show that when we add up all the time spent looking for misplaced things, we waste, on average, an entire work week every year. And all that lost productivity means lost money. In the US alone, it results in an estimated $89 billion going down the drain on an annual basis.

So, tidying up can improve productivity and earnings. But a tidy workspace also has other, more personal, benefits.

It may not sound entirely fair, but people who appear tidy and well-organized tend to be viewed in a better light by their bosses. This results in a positive feedback loop that benefits everyone. When your boss thinks you have good character and are highly capable, your self-esteem and motivation levels will get a boost. That, in turn, leads to more hard work and even better evaluations from your boss.

That may sound like a good enough reason to tidy up, but it’s important to approach decluttering with the right attitude. When people get rid of clutter and make their space look well-organized just because they’re told to, then it’s likely only a matter of time before the clutter re-appears.

As we’ll see in the blinks ahead, Marie Kondo’s method of tidying-up – the KonMari Method – is about realigning yourself with your goals and purpose in life. So it’s not just about being more efficient or productive. When you follow the steps, your tidy work area will represent the place where your goals and aspirations come to life. This is why people who follow the method will continue to maintain a clutter-free environment long after they made their first changes.

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