Right now, I’m a little obsessed with #KonMari. If you don’t know what that hashtag means, I’d strongly suggest looking it up. The main stem is from Marie Kondo, professional organizer and brilliant mind behind the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. There are tons of videos about how to utilize her technique to declutter closets and drawers for those of us who struggle with staying organized (case in point, my file cabinet at work, which I will be cleaning out this summer). She herself has a great Authors at Google talk on the subject – which I watched and recommend.
Last weekend, I tried #KonMari on my accessories. It actually worked! I sent four huge bags of stuff to Goodwill, and as freakish as it sounds to pile up all your stuff on the floor, appreciate the splendor of the pile, then hold each piece in your hands and figure out whether or not the piece “sparks joy,” then thank it for its service if it doesn’t and let it go sounds crazy, but it really does work.
This weekend I am going to take on my closet. (Please keep the good vibes coming, because this won’t be an easy task.)
However, I’ve also been thinking about whether or not this technique might work on…our careers. Seriously! When was the last time you stopped, pulled out a blank sheet of paper (or two, or more) and literally piled up everything you do in your daily work in one place?
I haven’t in a while. So, here’s how I’m going to #KonMari my own career when the summer semester at work starts. Will it work? I don’t know, but it is certainly worth a try!
5 Steps to #KonMari Your Career
1. Pile it up – This is the crazy part, but you’re going to need to list out everything you do professionally in a pile. Everything. I’m not just talking about the day job, either. So many of us are doing so much more inside and outside our day jobs than our original job descriptions. A friend recently had to list out everything she did at work, and the list was 5 pages long! If you want to do this right, set aside a day or at least half a day, and keep a running list of everything you do at work.
2. Appreciate the pile – Much like the pile of clothes out of the closet, I’m certain that all of us can appreciate the splendor of our blossoming careers after step 1. I’m guessing there is a huge percentage of professionals out there, like me, who are not doing anywhere near the job they were doing when they first started their gigs. As well, you need to appreciate what it is that you do OUTSIDE your daily paid full time or part time jobs. Why are you doing them? There’s a reason. Which leads me to step 3….
3. Take each task on the pile, hold it, and decide if it “sparks joy” – I can tell you right now that many of us (myself included) get paid to do things that do NOT spark joy. Some of us even do things that we do NOT get paid to do that also do not spark joy. So, then, why are we doing them? Do we have to do them, or not? Conversely, if there’s something we are doing that we are NOT paid to do, that in fact does spark joy – how might you get more of that into your paid gig(s)? This leads me to:
4. Keep it or dump it – If something does not spark joy – can you find someone else to do it? Can you get help? Can you shift your focus to more of the stuff that DOES spark joy in your day job? On the flip side, let’s say hypothetically you serve on a non profit board for free, but love your service there. Is there a way to take that spark of joy and drive it into something you do in your day job – like, start a board of your own for your day job company, or start a volunteer program at your company? If you love it, figure out how to do more of it in order to get more joy in your life. If you loathe it, time to try your best to let go of it–read on in step 5 on how:
5. Set up a #KonMari appointment with your boss – See if you can set up a #KonMari appointment with your boss. Literally, use that term on the calendar with him or her. That will begin the conversation of–what #KonMari is, what technique you ran through–and now, how you’d like to propose how to #KonMari your job at work. This is where you come in with a plan on how to keep and develop the tasks that spark joy for you, and propose ways to manage/get rid of/or let go of stuff you hate to do, or things that no longer spark joy for you. (And noting, that while you appreciate that you’ve done tasks in the past that no longer spark joy, you were grateful for them in your life at the time you did them…also a #KonMari principle.)
While you may not get everything on your list, 1. you tried, and 2. you may get something off your plate that makes you unhappy – and even one thing was worth the appointment, in my mind! JUST MAKE SURE you roll into your #KonMari appointment with a PLAN – don’t just back up the dump truck of unjoyful stuff and unload on your boss. That won’t be welcome or appreciated.
That’s it. This is my own plan this summer for my closet clean out of my work. And, the tricky part for me is that I have several bosses, one of whom is myself. But, if I learn nothing else from the assignment, it will be to appreciate the pile o’ stuff I do!
I hope you can #KonMari your closet. Or your job, or even your life! This will be a big experiment for me, and I hope you view it as something potentially helpful for you. If you try it, let me know how it worked.
Cheers – and here’s to sparking more joy in your gigs!