Suddenly, the “magic” of “tidying up” has struck a chord with millions. In just four months, 2 million copies of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up have sold.
One thing is clear – many people long to do something that seems simple – de-clutter, get organized, and enjoy transformation.
It resonates because all of us know we have a constant need to de-clutter our external spaces.
But I believe that our internal spaces must be given the same level of respect and diligent attention as the external spaces. These include our perspectives, attitudes and personal direction at work and in our careers.
The guidance author Marie Kondo offers can be applied in your internal spaces – your attitude, perspective and mindset in your work today.
Over time I’ve discovered that physically and mentally de-cluttering has unleashed opportunities I could not have imagined!
This is especially true if we are about to embark on a major transition.
A few years ago, after a major initiative did not pan out the way I’d worked toward or imagined, I decided to re-energize my career direction. My first step was to get organized and I found a wonderful professional organizer, Paige Trevor, of Balancing Act, LLC, who 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, home office, and your thinking?”
That may sound appealing to you, if right now, stacks of folders lay on the corner of your desk filled with action items. Every few minutes, staffers with emergencies and questions flood your workspace and your inbox is constantly filling up as more work continues to pile on your plate. By the time you reach lunch (if you even get to take it) you may be frazzled and your entire being encroached upon with stress.
Instead of running to an online job board seeking new opportunities, think about how just one principle of “tidying up” your perspective will bring joy today in your current situation.
In her book the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo lists great principles that can be applied to not only your personal life but 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. The life changing magic of tidying up can bring joy at work that can spill over into your daily interactions.
It’s true that what you focus on grows! Here are potential sources of joy all around you:
- Your relationships with colleagues – some of the most important business and personal relationships are happening right now, and you can find joy in cultivating those – up and down the career ladder. Add partners, customers, service providers you work with to the list – these relationships can be win/win – and the source joy now and of mutually beneficial opportunities in the future.
- Joy in 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.
- Joy in reminding yourself that you ARE advancing in your career and moving toward your purpose – and you can only know that if you continue to seek it out – by checking in with your assumptions and asking yourselves questions on finding your purpose.
- Joy in the magic of 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. With just 20 minutes and $10 you can benefit from the Strengthsfinder assessment that has helped 12 million people discover their strengths.
- Joy in the epiphanies and transformation that come through carving out times of reflection at the beginning of every day to de-clutter your mind, and focus on doing what is most important.
- Joy in the simple act of 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 focus on negative items, such as what we need to get rid of. The life changing magic of tidying up your perspective can bring joy at work by allowing you to focus on the reality of what does bring you joy in your work:
Relationships with people you can learn from, and the satisfaction and intrinsic rewards of gaining new skills – and intentional gratitude – it’s all in how you look for it.
Wherever you are on your career ladder, you will benefit from this occasional de-cluttering – focusing on what is good and brings you joy instead of what you don’t like.
Of course; going through the process of tangible de-cluttering is essential and cathartic, too. Purging our workspace of paper and projects that are ready to let go opens us up for essential growth.
It has a powerful effect of clearing the way for greater clarity and action. The same is true for letting go of negative perspectives to clear the way to find what we appreciate – it is there, and it, too, will lead to positive action and outcomes.
“The life changing magic of tidying up” can bring joy at work, we just need to take a step back and examine each aspect of our work life and discover or re-discover what and who gives us joy. Then we will be able to thrive!
What brings you joy at work?