Book Review: Kondo's 'Joy at Work'
In the past few months I’ve enjoyed the extra time I’ve had to read. I just finished reading Marie Kondo/Scott Sonenshein’s new book ‘Joy at Work’. The majority of my organizing work is in home and business offices, so I was really curious to see their approach to organizing and increasing productivity in the workplace. I was skeptical of how the highly structured approach presented in ‘The Magic Art of Tidying Up’ would be applied to the workplace. There are many things in the workplace that don’t spark joy but are necessary and much that is not completely within our control. I’m happy to say that I found this book full of practical advice, much of which I impart to my clients.
The basic premise of the book is that joy at work sparks joy in life. We spend a lot of our time and energy at work so work should be a source of joy. Being organized is one of the important steps to making it a pleasant experience. I definitely see a lot of stress caused by lack of organization in our work life.
Let me start by addressing the term ‘tidying’. It bothers me because it sounds out of context…I have visions of cleaning. Instead, I like to substitute the word ‘organizing’ and then it makes sense to me. Kondo addresses the term ‘spark joy’. She says if this doesn’t click with you, substitute it with whatever words translate to a positive impact, perhaps ‘Does this make my company prosper?’ or ‘Does this motivate me?’.
According to the book, the place to start is to visualize what your ideal work life would be. This helps to provide you the motivation to get organized. Starting with your workspace and desk, the author walks you through organizing and streamlining your digital data, email, time, tasks and commitments, decisions, networks, meetings and teams. This is a very thorough discussion of all the things that directly affect your work life. It’s not just your desk, papers and files that need to be organized…it’s all the systems that interact to make up your work experience.
The book concludes with a discussion of the importance of sharing your organizing habits with others around you at work to demonstrate the benefits, inspire others through your accomplishments and encourage a shift in culture. It also addresses the importance of creating an environment of respect and gratefulness toward those you work with – a very good reminder to all of us.
The cost of clutter is lost productivity. The added benefit of being organized is that it helps us find clarity and purpose to make impactful changes in our life. Kondo’s vision is to become organized in order to find more joy in life. Who can’t use more of that?