If you have Netflix and/or have seen the chatter on social media, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo’s new show Tidying Up. The key to controlling your home’s chaos? According to her, if it doesn’t bring you joy, it has to go. You literally go through the contents of your closets one by one, hold each item to see if it sparks joy, and if not it goes into the donation/recycle/trash bin.
What you might not know is that Kondo has had a cult following for years, with her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (2011). She even has an army of certified consultants around the world who you can hire to help you get your life (or at least your house) in order!
Whether or not you believe in her method for home organization, I think there is something we can all learn about removing unwanted clutter from our lives. Of course, there will always be things that are not entirely joyful. For example, I absolutely adore my children but when I’m up against a mid-aisle temper tantrum at Target because I’ve declined to purchase the latest L.O.L. doll my daughter so desperately wants, joy’s the last thing on my mind.
However, there are things you can do to increase joy in your life … and you can start with your job.
Applying the KonMari method to your career can help give you clearer direction, focused intention and a better understanding of what you want today and in the future for your work. You’ll never have a job that’s all joy all the time, but you should have a job that brings you joy more times than not. Here are some ways to transform your work inspired by the Marie Kondo approach.
Review for joy:
Which facets of your job do you like and which ones make you cringe? Just like going through your overflowing T-shirt drawer, go through each aspect of your job and see if it sparks joy. I recommend writing them down for easy reference. While it’s unlikely you can get rid of the negative tasks, there is an opportunity to try to focus more on the tasks you enjoy. How can you regularly include more of those activities? Can you volunteer for more projects in these areas? Make sure to express your interest to your supervisor. If you’re still stuck, think about what you like outside of work and note parallels in your job and try to embrace those.
Once you’ve sorted your joyous and not-so-joyous work tasks, be conscientious with how you schedule your day. While you may be tempted to push the activities you don’t like off, try instead to schedule them first. By getting them out of the way, you won’t have the mental drain of knowing in the back of your mind that those are looming, which steals joy from the activities you do like. So get the crud done early and then schedule the rest of the day to focus on enjoyable tasks. Honor your calendar and try to stick to your schedule and you might be surprised how much this impacts your job satisfaction.
Acknowledge the good:
Your day-to-day to-do’s aren’t the only things that impact job satisfaction. Take time to reflect and appreciate things about your work that aren’t so obvious, such as great coworkers, short commutes, a nearby park, a super comfortable office chair and even those yummy snacks in the break room. One example for me that I really appreciate is the ability to walk the skyways in Minneapolis over lunch to get exercise and chat about life with colleagues. Not an advertised perk of my job, but something I really value. What’s something about your job that you really enjoy that has nothing to do with work?
Just because it’s work doesn’t mean it should feel like all work all the time. Ultimately if you find more dread than joy in your life, maybe it’s time for a job search. When searching for a new position, pay special attention to the responsibilities and whether they fill your joy requirements. Do the same for interviews. That way your next job will pass the Marie Kondo test.