“Does it spark joy?”
That’s the big question underlying Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo’s wildly popular decluttering strategy. Kondo’s first book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” introduced the "KonMari Method" to the world, and she developed a cult following for her simple yet transformative approach to oranization: Keep the items that trigger happy feelings, say goodbye to those that don’t.
Kondo recently came out with a follow-up book, "Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up," that delves into the emotional decluttering process that comes with a material purge. But does her method apply outside the home?
Career coaches weigh in on their favorite tips for sparking joy in the workplace.
Let go of what you can’t control
First and foremost, let go. “You can control things at home but that’s not so easy at work,” says Executive Coach & Strategy Facilitator Marguerite Orane. Shed the desire to change everything, and shift your focus to the areas where you have more sway.
Make the most of your physical space
It might be difficult to create a place of joy in a fixed workspace, but small changes can make a big difference. “Bring all the physical beauty you can into your space — color, photographs, just something meaningful that reminds you of happy times,” Orane says. And resist the temptation to stay chained to your computer. “I’m always surprised at people who never get up from their desks,” she says. “Go outside and replenish!”
Keep a tidy (and delightful) calendar
Career and Executive Coach Maggie Mistal recalls interviewing Deepak Chopra about his career. “When he got to work, the first thing he would do was review his calendar. If everything on there didn't bring him joy, he wouldn't do it,” she recalls. “I said how great that must be to have reached a point of success where you only get to do what you want. And he said, ‘How do you think I became this successful?’ It rocked my world. Now I tell this same story to my clients. It's life changing.”
Actively pursue joy
“Everybody has some dream that they’re harboring but afraid to go after,” Mistal says. Employees might not realize they have the capability to “job craft,” or slightly adjust their roles to play more to their strengths, skills and preferences. Be proactive and ask to do the tasks that bring you joy. Mistal encourages managers to perform “stay” interviews with employees, a sort of check-in to get a better grasp on employees’ passions and career goals. “Managers can’t read people’s minds, so create the avenues to have the conversations.”
Celebrate other people’s joy
Every person has different needs, goals, and desires, Mistal says, and negative competition among coworkers does nothing to bolster joy. Be happy for your colleagues when they experience joyful moments. “The communal aspect is huge,” she says. “Supporting each other helps us all get what we want.”