Joy at Work Book Summary - Joy at Work Book explained in key points
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Joy at Work summary

Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein

Organizing Your Professional Life

4.3 (165 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

Joy at Work by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein is a guide to decluttering and organizing your workspace. It offers practical tips and tools to improve productivity and find joy in your work.

Table of Contents

    Joy at Work
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    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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    What is Joy at Work about?

    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.

    Joy at Work Review

    Joy at Work (2020) by Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein provides practical advice on decluttering and organizing your professional life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offering a fresh perspective, it combines Marie Kondo's famous KonMari method with Scott Sonenshein's research to bring innovative ideas for a more organized work environment.
    • The book emphasizes the importance of intentionality and joy in our work, helping us create a space that fosters productivity, creativity, and a positive mindset.
    • With compelling case studies and relatable examples, it showcases how decluttering can lead to improved focus, reduced stress, and overall work satisfaction.

    Best quote from Joy at Work

    The goal of the method shared in this book is not just to have a nice neat desk but to begin a dialogue with yourself through tidying…

    —Marie Kondo & Scott Sonenshein
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    Who should read Joy at Work?

    • Anyone with a cluttered workspace
    • People who dread going to work in the morning
    • Struggling workers who’d like to feel excited about their jobs again

    About the Author

    Marie Kondo has been passionate about tidying up since she was a young girl. After taking on a few clients while in her twenties, she soon turned her passion into a career. As the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (2011), she shared her own process, known as the KonMari Method, which combined decluttering homes with self-realization. Since then, she’s become a world-renowned author and television personality.

    Scott Sonenshein has a PhD in organizational behavior and is currently a Professor of Management at Rice University. His research is focused on finding ways for people to become more creative and resourceful, and thereby find more satisfaction and meaning in their work and their lives. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, and Fast Company. He is also the author of the best-selling book Stretch (2017).

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    Joy at Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Joy at Work?

    Find joy in your work by applying Marie Kondo's tidying principles to your professional life.

    How long does it take to read Joy at Work?

    The reading time for Joy at Work varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Joy at Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Joy at Work is worth reading as it provides practical ways to cultivate joy and productivity in the workplace.

    Who is the author of Joy at Work?

    The authors of Joy at Work are Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein.

    What to read after Joy at Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Joy at Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Marie Kondo's Kurashi at Home by Marie Kondo
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
    • The 3-Minute Rule by Brant Pinvidic
    • The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
    • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
    • Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte
    • Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
    • Pillars of Wealth by David M. Greene
    • Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
    • Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin