Ever since Netflix started streaming the show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, the innovative home cleaning process has stirred up the global population. The show is based on the chartbuster book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by the famous author Marie Kondo.
Now, cleaning the home and managing the stuff apart, there are many life-improving lessons we can learn from the process. The book’s approach is the minimalist style to possess the things and look at the stuff you hoard and get rid of what you should not. The method is named KonMari.
What is KonMari?
According to KonMari, divide the stuff into 5 categories—clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous stuff, and sentimental items—and then pick each of them to find if that piece sparks joy in you. If it stirs a sense of joy, you keep it else discard.
Not quite if you find a reason sufficient to stick to each of your stuff.
KonMari differs from other tidying up methods, which suggest starting from a room or discard those things that have not been used in the last six months. Kondo ideates to begin from a category of similar objects, not rooms and declutter all at once. Starting from the simple stuff like clothes and ending with sentimental objects like photos is the strategy.
Now, if I start asking my shirt to spark joy, it is bound to throw a tantrum. Well, I don’t find much of the clothes enticing any happiness because none of them can make me look slim. Face-palm!
So I spared my wardrobe to get KonMari-ed.
Kondo’s lessons can be applied to work and personal life too other than our clothes and books. After all, if it can free up the clutter from our wardrobes, why not try it for other essential aspects like relationships and work?
“Tidying, in the end, is just a physical act. The work involved can be broadly divided into two kinds: deciding whether or not to dispose of something and deciding where to put it. If you can do these two things, you can achieve perfection.”-Mari Kondo
Isn’t it what we really need to understand, cling to the important and remove trivial?
Cleaning up Your Professional Life
Start to unclutter your professional life from the minuscule angle—your desk at work. Whether you sit in heat-reflecting glass offices that add to global warming or just cozily perch in the corner of your home, your workplace needs decluttering. Dismiss things like documents, mugs, and decorative pieces if you don’t feel a connection with them. Of course, if they are necessary, you can’t get rid of them.
And not just your tabletop, slay the drawers as well.
Easy enough to do in ten minutes before you close your day, isn’t it?
Same is the process of KonMaring laptops and mailboxes. Wait, don’t delete any tool that although you dislike but need to have—the must-have tools. Try to learn them and make yourself familiar with a few tricks and shortcuts; the internet is full of hacks, go dive.
I was uncomfortable using Gmail being accustomed and happy with the desktop mail clients like Outlook and Lotus Notes. So I tried to find a workaround. Setting up all my Gmail accounts into Outlook helped, and now I am happy to see my emails from the various account over the desktop client. It also aids skimming through old emails without an internet connection.
Well, work is not always a joy, right?
What you need to ask yourself is, if the processes, tools, people, emails, tasks—all work-related aspects—are driving value? If so, they should stay. KonMari develops a grip on your decision-making skill too.
People and Processes
Now, many aspects of the work are unavoidable whether they are joyous or cringe-worthy such as your next cubical neighbor who annoys you by singing in a nasal voice, the appraisal process that sucks at the bell curve, and the actual work that is mundane and has no challenge. Those tedious processes we are bound to follow are never delightful. We cannot only remove them. Hence, we have to make amends.
List the tasks you do and highlight those which do not generate joy. Find a workaround for dull tasks. See if you can exchange the job with a colleague for some time, automate the tedious task, or just skip if escapable. Or perhaps, doing it first thing in the day when you are fresh and energetic will help.
Kondo not only advocates of simple clutter-free living but also promotes the idea of tidying up our mindset.
You are surrounded by unavoidable people who never entice even a small fraction of happiness in you. Some are those with whom you just can’t strike a chord. But there will be pals too who would often synergize you to do more and better. Surround yourself with the second category of people and try to be lesser around the former. Keep the interaction limited with the first category. It would be nice to make the bond amiable by talking and knowing such persons a little more over a cup of coffee. That wouldn’t harm.
Did I hear you talking about an annoying boss?
Well, I have no words; either just learn to cope up or jump the boat. You know what I mean.
KonMari-ing your relationships
All of us must have had faced a bad relationship, be it love life, a relative within the extended family or a not-so-coveted friend. It is not easy to discard a person completely like a scarf or a shirt but perhaps ignoring the person from your life who has proved toxic to your emotions would lift your mood and ultimately remove some negativity.
Sever all the connections with an unapologetic and heartbreaking ex—all connections on social media—stop following them, delete their contact from the phone, and let all the gifts go. Anything that does not induce joy should disappear, and for sure, any footprint of your ex at present is anti-happy stuff.
An attachment to the past or a fear for the future—says Kondo—are the only two reasons, we can’t let things go.
If your attachment is painful, let it go.
Any relationship that is painful and not contributing towards your joy needs to be tossed out of your life. Instead, concentrate the same time and energy into a relationship that sparks even a tiny spark of joy. There is no point missing a pal who has turned hostile.
What KonMari brings in for you?
By now, if you have understood the idea of cutting the stale bonds, you would know the benefits.
You would learn to let go and solidify your decision-making skills without guilt. Trivial things wouldn’t bother you much as the spotlight shifts from the meager to significant. You harvest happiness by doing what you truly cherish.
I KonMari-ed my decade-and-a-half long not-so-interesting IT career and seized the joy of my life—Writing.
How would you use KonMari in your life? For actual cleaning up the materialistic stuff, for improving your professional life or for the betterment of relations?
Or all of them!