By now, you’ve probably seen the Netflix series “Tidying up With Marie Kondo.” If you have, there’s a good chance you’ve gone through your entire closet and every drawer and pantry to remove the items that no longer spark joy within you.
Kondo’s method has made it easy for so many of us to declutter our lives. However, as you’re sending bags full of clothes and knickknacks to the local charity shop, you’re missing out on another benefit that could come with her organizational tricks.
Applying those same principles to the rest of your life can make it just as pleasing as that closet you just emptied.
Here’s how to do it:
See if Your To-Dos Spark Joy
Mental clutter can be just as stressful as the physical, home-based kind. That sprawling list of to-dos will also cause you to feel dread, anxiety or even panic.
Whatever’s fogging your mind should get the same joy-sparking test Kondo has made the centerpiece of her show. Typically, Kondo suggests you hold items in your arms to see if they spark a feeling of warmth or joy. If not, she suggests discarding them.
You can’t do this with everything in your life. You have to work, you have to go to uncomfortable dentist appointments and you have to reckon with finances.
However, nonvital to-dos can come under the microscope — and you don’t have to be afraid to say no to the activities or actions that make you feel unhappy when you think about doing them.
In fact, doing so can make you more productive over time, so learning to turn down the events or tasks that do not spark joy can seriously change your state of mind.
If you can’t cut all the unpleasantries from your daily schedule, you can make them as enjoyable for yourself as possible. For instance, some have found a productivity boost by merely cultivating a small plant — or even an indoor garden — near their workspace. You can’t get out of work, but you can find ways to make it spark some level of joy.
Consider How Your Feelings Incite Action
Marie Kondo uses her sparks to fuel her day, whether she’s decluttering or taking a close look at her mental health. She starts each day by writing down the emotions she’s feeling. Then, she comes up with a way to improve or maintain each one, depending on if it’s positive or negative.
Let’s say you wake up in the morning feeling tired, and you know you need to be productive for the rest of the day. To fight exhaustion, you might write down that you will go to bed earlier and set a bedtime reminder — that way, you won’t wake up so sleepy the next day.
On top of that, you can come up with an action plan to make yourself more productive. Perhaps you’ll reorganize your desk so it gives you the vibe you need to get work done. This might include purging clutter or improving your filing system for easier, quicker storage.
Once you have an action plan, the last step is to figure out when you’ll put it into practice. Pencil your ideas into your planner, so you know exactly when they’ll come to fruition. Once they’re written down, you will be more likely to follow through — and reap all the benefits of your joy-sparking action plan.
You Kondo It All
Mental clarity is just as essential — if not more so — than decluttering your home. Pinpoint what sparks joy and get rid of whatever doesn’t. Once you have a plan, stick to it. Soon enough, you will be thanking yourself for all your hard work, especially when you realize you Kondo it all.
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