Don’t stop at your bookshelves
The life-changing magic of tidying by Marie Kondo
One day last winter I was messing about on Twitter when I came across a link to Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying. I watched her video and was hooked. I devoured her book end to end on my Kindle that very afternoon (the life-changing magic of Amazon…).
If you’ve ever tried decluttering, you’ll know that before you reorganise, you should get rid of the stuff you no longer need. And you’ll know that’s not easy. I fell for Marie Kondo’s approach because of the way she tackles getting rid of stuff.
The KonMarie Method
It’s so simple. Does something give you joy? No? Out it goes. Feeling guilty about throwing out things you bought? Thank them for the joy they gave you, and release them to give joy to someone else. Guilty about throwing out a gift? Remember the joy the giver had in giving it, and let the gift go.
Kondo suggests you tackle an entire category of things in one go, and I started with my books. 14 bags of them to the charity shop, and no more double stacking on my shelves. Then clothes. Oh the relief of finally getting rid of items I never wore, and feeling guilty about how much I paid for them. Then shoes. Bags. Crockery. Pots and pans. Those mysterious boxes on top of the wardrobe. Everything out of the cupboard, on to the floor. Did it bring me joy? No. Out.
Then things got serious.
I looked hard at my job. Did it bring me joy? No, it didn’t. So out it went, creating space to study something new, rediscover a career I thought I’d lost forever, and do work I love. Life-changing magic, indeed.
How business consultants are a lot like tidying consultants
It occurred to me one day, when I was preparing for a process mapping workshop with a client, that my craft and Kondo’s — they aren’t so different. I work with businesses to bring out their ways of working into the light. Together, we lay their systems and processes out with paper, pen and sticky notes. Then we sort through everything, get rid of unnecessary work, fix broken things, and organise what’s left.
Going through this with a mindset of ‘does this bring me joy?’ might feel odd. What does joy have to do with your accounting process?
But why shouldn’t our work bring us joy? There’s something deeply satisfying about finding the best way to do something, where every step and every tool is perfect for the job in hand. That’s the joy of running your own business. You can do things your way, with the systems you like best. If something is irritating you, you can change it.
So if there’s some activity you keep putting off in your work, maybe try looking at it like Marie Kondo would. Tidy it up until it gives you at least a teeny bit of joy.
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