Prather’s Pick: A book about tidying up
“Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life,” was written by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. Kondo is a tidying expert, founder of the KonMari Method, bestselling author and Emmy-nominated star of Netflix’s hit show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.” Sonenshein is an organizational psychologist, Rice University professor, bestselling author, and keynote speaker.
The book isn’t just about tidying up the physical aspect of a person’s life; it’s also about putting the nonphysical aspect of life in order. Also included is information for tidying up digital data, time, decision-making, networking, and recognizing aspects of our life that give us joy.
The book is divided into eleven chapters, with each author contributing half of the writing. Besides that, the reader will find “boxes” within the chapters with hints from each of the authors.
The book begins as Kondo discusses reasons for getting rid of clutter. Did you know that (according to a study by scientists at UCLA) “being surrounded by too many things increases cortisol levels, a primary stress hormone”? High levels of cortisol can result in depression, mental disorders, heart disease, hypertension, and others. And if we have too much clutter around us, it’s difficult to focus on work-related tasks so it’s bad for business, too.
Using her KonMari Method, Kondo takes the reader through the tidying process—what to discard and what to keep. The “to keep” items are those that bring joy for us, functional things, and things that will bring future joy (like papers about a project that might become part of a dream). Kondo claims that tidying in this manner will help a person realize an ideal work life, one that sparks joy.
Getting down to the tidying process, which Kondo suggests might be more effective in the early morning, begins by putting items in categories and then working on one category at a time, such as “books.” Books should be gathered in one place and studied as to which motivate and energize, make a person happy, or help in the job—such as manuals. Kondo maintains that tidying books is a “powerful means of self-discovery.”
Other categories include papers, office supplies, electrical objects, job-specific materials, personal care supplies, and food. Tidying also includes digital work, such as emails. For each category, the book includes suggestions for storing the items a person keeps.
According to Sonenshein, tidying the workplace also involves such nonphysical things such as decision-making. He reports that a worker makes thousands of decisions each day, many of them without awareness. He offers suggestions for tidying up decisions. He also offers tips for dealing with meetings and networking. There’s a lot to this book!
“Joy at Work” is published by Little, Brown Spark, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company (2020). The hardcover book costs $24.00.
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