Suddenly, the “magic” of tidying up has struck a chord with millions. In less than a year, Marie Kondo sold 2 million copies of her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
It’s clear that many people long to do something that seems simple – de-clutter, get organized, and enjoy the transformation. It resonates because most of us know that we have a constant need to de-clutter our external spaces.
I believe that our internal spaces must be given the same level of respect and attention. These include our perspectives, attitudes, and personal direction in our careers.
Over time, I’ve discovered that physically and mentally de-cluttering has unleashed opportunities I could not have imagined!
This is especially true if I am about to embark on a major transition. A few years ago, after a big initiative did not pan out the way I’d imagined it would, I decided to re-energize my career direction. My first step was to get organized; I found a wonderful professional organizer. Paige Trevor of Balancing Act, LLC, brought order, humor,and a relentless ability to purge to my office and home.
Great professional momentum ensued. Now, when I advise professionals in transition, one of the first questions I ask is, “How long has it been since you de-cluttered – your workspace, your home office, and your thinking?”
That may sound appealing to you if, right now, stacks of folders filled with action items lay on the corner of your desk. Or if, every few minutes, staffers with emergencies and questions flood your workspace, and your inbox is constantly filling up. By the time you reach lunch (if you even get to take it), you may be frazzled, your entire being encroached upon by stress.
In her book, Kondo lists principles to organize your life that can be applied not only to your personal life, but to your work life as well.
One principle is: “We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.”
What do you want to keep about your work today?
Many of us spend so much time identifying what we don’t like, that we forget to focus on the things that are already bringing us joy – or can bring us joy – at work. It’s true that what you focus on grows!
Below are tips to organize your life and to discover potential sources of joy all around you:
- Learning new skills, even (and especially) when things are challenging. Looking back on your career, haven’t you learned the most from situations or people who were difficult? Those experiences have made you more insightful and valuable.
- Building relationships with colleagues up and down the career ladder. Add partners, customers, and service providers to the list – these relationships can be win/win now, and a source of mutually beneficial opportunities in the future.
- Reminding yourself that you ARE advancing in your career and moving toward fulfillment by asking yourself questions on finding your purpose.
- Taking the time to really know your strengths and gain clarity on how to think about what you do best, how you articulate it, and how you offer it to your company, colleagues, and the world.
- Carving out times of reflection at the beginning of every day to de-clutter your mind and focus on doing what is most important.
- Finding 5 things to be grateful for in your life right now – these are the things you want to keep.
Stress at work can make us feel overwhelmed and lead us to focus on negative items, such as what we need to get rid of. The life-changing magic of tidying up your perspective can allow you to focus on what brings you joy in your work.
Of course, going through the process of tangible de-cluttering is essential and cathartic, too. Purging our workspace of paper and projects that we are ready to let go of opens us up for essential growth.
“Tidying up your perspective can allow you to focus on what brings you joy in your work.”