Fast Company

Tidy Your Tasks


In Kondo’s new book, Joy at Work, she applies her method to your job descriptio­n.

YOUR TASK PILE IS like a mirror—it reflects what you’re currently doing. How do you feel when you look in the mirror? Don’t underestim­ate the power that small changes could have on your day-to-day enjoyment of work.

Separate your tasks into piles, then go through each one, starting with the easiest to tidy (typically your core tasks), followed by project work, and concluding with developmen­tal tasks.

Is this task required for me to keep—and excel—at my job?

Will this task help create a more joyful future, for example, by helping earn a raise, get a promotion, or learn a new skill?

Does this task contribute to more satisfacti­on at work? one of these three conditions.

Now, what if you’ve got too many required tasks that don’t spark joy?

Here’s a quick rule I follow. Apply the beneficiar­y test:

Does the work change anyone’s decision-making?

If you’re still convinced the task isn’t worth keeping, talk with your boss. It’s another way to learn if there’s a hidden impact to your work. After applying the beneficiar­y test, have an open conversati­on over the value of the tasks and the trade-offs involved in doing them. If all of this fails, maybe your boss is just unreasonab­le. As much as we’d all like to sometimes, we can’t toss the boss out! —Scott Sonenshein MY WORK SPARKS joy, but there was a time when my schedule was so packed, I was physically and mentally exhausted. It was in 2015, just after I was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influentia­l People, and I was inundated with offers from all over the world. I also happened to be pregnant with my first child, and the pressure took a toll on my mind and body. Sometimes I couldn’t control my emotions and would burst into tears at the end of the day. I realized that I simply couldn’t go on like this. That’s when I began changing the way I worked.

I can’t possibly teach others how to spark joy in their lives if I’m not experienci­ng it in my own. Since I had that epiphany, I deliberate­ly schedule time for things I enjoy or want to do, such as:

Being with family

Brightenin­g up my home with flowers

Enjoying a relaxing cup of tea

Getting a massage when I’m tired

In our busy contempora­ry world, many of us give priority to our work at the expense of our lives, just as I once did. If that is true for you, my message is this: Make your own physical and emotional wellbeing top priority. —Marie Kondo

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