After binging the very popular Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo throughout winter break, I realized that my own room needed a serious revamping. I spent days rummaging through my closet, throwing out all things too small or too tacky and asking myself, “does this spark joy?”
Marie Kondo’s five-step organizing process to find joy through decluttering – dubbed KonMari – became so wildly popular that many use it as a verb now. While her method is usually applied to homes, KonMari-ing our professional lives—visualizing, decluttering, seeking joy, and expressing gratitude—can reap numerous benefits.
Visualize your goals
The first step in the KonMari process is visualizing your dream end destination. Marie emphasizes the importance of making concrete goals for your lifestyle and physical space.
Think about what you want to accomplish in the upcoming semester—like landing that internship, making a 4.0, or going to your professor’s office hours more often. Then, find a way to remind yourself of these goals daily. Personally, writing my goals down on index cards and taping them to my mirror helps me visualize what I want to accomplish. Creating a mood board to hang up on your wall, writing in your planner, or talking with a friend are other great ways to keep your aspirations at the forefront of your mind.
Rid yourself of the clutter
When we think of tidying up our professional lives, we immediately think of throwing away notes from a class we took semesters ago or taking a Clorox wipe to our dirty desks. However, tidying up our oral and written communication to remain concise is equally as important.
Focus on like, eliminating filler words found literally everywhere in your, um, oral communication. These phrases are unnecessary and are perceived by many professionals as unintelligent. Also, eliminating expressions similar to “I should…” or “can’t…” and replacing them with “I choose to…” can assist us with taking authority of our goals!
Make sure to be conscious of lengthy emails and assignments as well. They are not only a waste of your time, but your client’s or professor’s time while they sift through your ponderous papers trying to decipher the point of the project.
Marie also focuses on what makes you happy – and urges you to get rid of things that do not. She lives by the mindset that if you are surrounded by negativity, you will eventually become it. While we are not able to rid ourselves of an annoying peer or pesky professor, throwing away old papers and projects can assist us in generating more positivity in our personal and professional spaces.
Through the KonMari method, she urges you to physically pick up your items, and notice how they make you feel. If holding your accounting textbook makes you feel squeamish, consider why these emotions arise. Is it that you are in the wrong major, or following the incorrect career path? Reevaluating objects and projects that make you feel uncomfortable can help you refocus on where you truly want to be professionally. It may take a change of major or a switch of an internship, however you will feel more motivated and joyful when you find yourself in the correct career.
Lastly, Marie expresses gratitude for the home and the objects that inhabit it. While it may seem silly to thank your favorite spot on the fifth floor of Cooper or your desk in your room, these spaces are vital to your professional and personal success. They are the special spots where you studied all night for your marketing exam and aced it, or the places where you submitted a killer lab report—earning you a compliment from your professor.
Remembering to be thankful will also help you better recognize that which you already have. Gratitude aids us in remaining resilient when we receive inevitable rejection or a horrible grade.
Clearing up your personal and professional spaces will give you the extra room you require to succeed in this next semester. Good luck—and happy cleaning!