HOW-TO: 3 Marie Kondo Tips To Optimize Your Workspace & Boost Productivity
Mostly tidy or completely chaotic, people’s work spaces are a wonderful expression of their personalities. Sometimes, however, a little bit of order must be imposed, whether it comes from a Clean Desk Policy on high or your own inner Marie Kondo craving for order. This is a good thing, because it turns out that a shambles of an exterior experience can make your mind messier, too.
Princeton University’s Neuroscience Institute found that when your environment is cluttered, the chaos limits your ability to get things done. Physical clutter competes for your attention and wears down your mental faculties—a little like the effect of attempting to order food on the phone while your terrier yaps nonstop beside you.
If you’re reading this from behind mountains of notebooks and Diet Coke cans, never fear: cleaning up your act (and your desk) is a breeze with a few office organizing tips from Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo. These tips are directly from her bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Step 1: Visualize a workspace that works for you
Keeping an area clean and organized might serve a functional purpose, but it shouldn’t be your ultimate goal in tidying up. For some people, optimum work environment includes a little bit of creativity-signifying askewness. And that’s okay. After all, Kondo writes, “the whole point in both discarding and keeping things is to be happy.” Your aim should be to create a space that improves your well-being, your way.
To do this, organize your workspace in a way that feels natural to you. Sort through your items and evaluate them on usefulness. Pick them up, examine them closely, and ask yourself: “What is this item’s purpose? Does it make me happy?”
Letting go of items you no longer need can be therapeutic. The best part is that as you do it, you’re making space for bits of your ideal life to fit in.
Step 2: Deal with your past to find your ideal future
When you’re cleaning up you’re bound to find relics from your past. If you stumble upon a piece with sentimental value, examine it. Ask yourself: does this correspond to my current wants and needs? Does it have a place in my ideal future?
Documents, for example, rarely make the cut. All those warranties and manuals you’re keeping for a rainy day have probably outlived their use, and you’ll feel better once they are out of your space. The same goes for old course materials. After all, you took the course for the knowledge and the experience—not the pieces of paper that came with it!
When you’re done discarding the non-necessities, take a long, hard look at the remaining items in your workspace. They might actually illuminate something about yourself and your ideal future. One of Kondo’s clients had this realization; all the books she kept had to do with social welfare, so she went back to school, quit her job in IT, and went on to start a successful babysitting company.
Step 3: Fill your space with things you truly love
You might think your six shelves of books are fostering an atmosphere of intellectualism, but the truth is that they may be putting you off. Sort through them and discover the ones you’re truly passionate about, and you may soon find yourself becoming more passionate about reading in general.
Don’t be afraid of discarding a book when the time isn’t right to read it. If you feel a pang of regret as you give it away, remind yourself that you can always get another copy—maybe even a digital one that won’t require a new round of tidying up!
Find more tips for re-imagining your spaces from Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
P.s. Check out post author’s Caitlin’s desk for some cool, calm organised space inspiration.<3