Joy at Work. Organizing Your Professional Life by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein published by Little, Brown Spark in 2020
I didn’t think I’d enjoy this book as much as I did. It was an easy read with lots of examples and references back to Marie Kondo’s methodology of organizing and de-cluttering. Scott Sonenshein also had some good ideas. The book focused on examining how we work and evaluating the tasks and items we surround ourselves with to see if they spark joy.
There were five ideas from Joy at Work that provided me with AHA moments. Some were obvious and are covered in many organizing books but a few were new. It’s making me reflect and think about work differently.
The obvious but still important
- Sort papers into categories and be ruthless about what you keep. Get rid of as many papers as possible, keeping only those you need. Ouch – that’s a tough one for me.
- Keep and scan only the most important.
- Store papers in vertical file storage not paper stacks – ooops…I use a mixture and yes, shuffle through the stacks to find that one piece of paper I was looking for.
- Reduce the amount of digital files you have, especially on your desktop.
- Tidy (delete) your email inbox on a daily basis.
My AHA Moments
The AHA moment or the “Maybe I should spend more time thinking about this” ideas:
Individual AHA Moments
1. Tidy your workspace – it will make you look and feel more professional and polished and will save you time finding items. Once you’ve done this task (which can be momentous) if you find yourself falling into the same old patterns reflect on your perfect work life. Use that mindset (and vision) to help keep you on track.
2. Find your values through tidying your workspace. Are you really going to read that business book you bought 2 years ago but really can’t bring yourself to crack open the cover? Maybe you just aren’t interested in the topic? If that’s the case maybe you should reflect on what you really are interested in.
Examining our past history of purchases shows us what we found interesting and relevant. But is it still? This could change how you view your work or job.
3. Tidy your decisions. Wow – that’s a thing? Well yes, we have tons of decisions we make on a daily basis. Write down some of the many decisions you make and categorize them into high, medium, and low stakes decisions. For low stakes decisions ( which label size do you use) create a streamlined task or decision so you don’t have to think about that again – Example : “I use the xyz label that I order from x”.
Do you want to be making higher level decisions or should they be delegated or outsourced?
By writing down the decisions we make/have to make we put them into perspective and once we decide how we want to deal with these decisions we stop ruminating and agonizing about them.
Team and other AHA Moments
4. Tidy your network. Remember going to networking events or conferences and getting a ton of business cards and then adding the people you met to your LinkedIn network or your database? How about thinking about your network as a group of people you actually will interact/refer/use/collaborate with and let go of the rest? I’m still debating this one…
5. Tidying teams – have shorter more impactful meetings (standing meetings mean that meetings are shorter and usually more to the point). Look at the purpose behind the team and consider the purpose of the team. Does the purpose make sense and are the team members on board with the purpose? Don’t create messes for your team mates. This was an interesting concept. Teams so often are started with good intentions but often priorities shift but the basis of the team doesn’t. By evaluating the purpose every now and then you can really evaluate the impact each team member can have on the team’s outcomes.
All in all I found Joy at Work Organizing Your Professional Life a good read with some good ideas that will bounce around in my head for a while and will likely change some of the ways I work.
Top 5 Takeaways
- Tidy your workspace
- Find your values through tidying your workspace
- Tidy your decisions
- Tidy your network
- Tidy your team
Have you read it? Did you find it useful?
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