You might have heard of Marie Kondo, the organisational wizard who has changed the game when it comes to tidying thanks to her Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.
In that show, she talks about ways you can change your approach to tidying your home, simplify your life, and be more productive. It works wonders in the home, and can also have a positive impact in the workplace, too.
Below, we take a look at some tips that are straight from the Marie Kondo playbook that’ll have you working productively in a comfortable, tidy space.
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Visualise the Working Space
Before you can figure out which route to take, you need to figure out where you’re going. Before you dive into the work required to transform your office, take a moment to think about what you want your working space to look like.
To come up with the space that works for you, you’ll need to consider what contributes to you working your best.
Do you like to have a calm working environment?
Do you like to have a view?
Do you like to have nothing whatsoever to look at, so you can just concentrate on your work?
Whatever it is, think it through. If you can visualise your ideal space, you’ll stay on track when it comes to transforming your office.
You know how quickly clutter can materialise in your home. Unless you’re actively staying on top of the number of goods you have in your home, in no time you’ll find that you’ve got many more goods than you ever planned to have.
The same goes for your office.
On your first day, everything was simple and conducive to working well. Over time, this began to change. You kept acquiring item after item, and now your desk space is a shadow of its former self!
Fortunately, there’s a simple action you can take to remedy this problem. You can throw out those old goods that no longer contribute to your work.
Of course, there are some things you’ll need to keep. But do they have to be at your desk?
It’s better to get a filing system, or a desk with integrated storage, and keep all those loose pieces of paper there instead.
Even better would be to scan those papers, and just keep in digital space.
Organise by Category
Most of us have a pretty sophisticated approach when it comes to organisation. There’s some sort of method to how we do it, but it’s not necessarily what works best. We organise best on aesthetics, mostly, so that everything looks good.
The wrong approach, at least according to Marie Kondo. Instead, it’s much better to organise by category.
You’ll work much more productively — and prevent yourself from getting in a tangled mess — if all relatable goods are kept together.
It’s a bit like in the home — you wouldn’t keep one cup in one cupboard, another cup elsewhere.
It’s all good and well taking an actionable organisational approach to your office, but if you haven’t got to the heart of what caused the mess in the first place, then you’ll end up back at square one eventually.
As such, look at implementing new systems that’ll keep those issues at bay.
For example, you could make a policy of scanning and then discarding any new pieces of paper that come to your desk.
Sparks of Joy
There are some items that you’ll need to have at your desk, purely because you use them so often. Many times, people make the mistake of conflating “simplifying a space” with “ensuring nothing is there.”
An empty space isn’t simplified — it’s just empty.
To simplify, you may need to change how you feel about certain objects at your work.
You need to see how they “spark joy.” Yes, a stapler or pen can spark joy, who knew?! It’s about your mindset. They’re not inherently interesting or enjoyable, but they allow you to work. You couldn’t write a memo to yourself with that pen. If you see the item in positive terms, then it sparks joy — it should stay.
On the other hand, there’ll be items that don’t spark joy.
They should be thrown away.
Germs at Bay
Remember, it’s not just those material items like paper and pens that make our desks untidy. There’s also those little germs and dust bunnies causing problems too.
If you’re going to tidy up your office space, then make sure you go deep, and wipe up all those germs and little dust balls frequently.
They’ll help to keep your desk feeling fresh, and in better condition of a long period, too.
Let’s be honest: the idea of showing gratitude to your office will seem a little ridiculous, especially at 8am on a Monday morning. But if you resent your office, then you’ll find it difficult to see it positively, and to make an effort needed to keep it tidy and organised.
So change how you see it.
That office has made it possible to work well and have the lifestyle you wanted. It has done a lot for you.
Be grateful — a lot of good can come from showing gratitude.
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Staying On Top
Finally, make sure that you’re not just using the Marie Kondo’s methods once, and expecting long-lasting results. Keep them at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll have a desk space that serves you well in the long-term.
It’ll only take a few minutes at the end of the day, yet you’ll arrive at work the following morning feeling good and ready to work.
We’re beginning to understand more and more about the positive role that decluttering and organisation can play in all areas of our lives, including our working life.
By taking the tips above and figuring out what works best for you (everyone’s answers will be different), you’ll be on your way to living a more organised, more enjoyable, more productive life at work.