Behind the Scenes: ‘Joy at Work’

Since publishing her bestselling first book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie has been sharing the KonMari Method™ with people worldwide. Throughout this time, one question has come up again and again: How can I tidy my workspace and have a career that sparks joy? Her new book, “Joy at Work,” provides the much-anticipated answer.

Marie collaborated on “Joy at Work” with professor Scott Sonenshein, a doctor of organizational psychology whose bestselling book “Stretch” – about the science of resourcefulness – piqued Marie’s interest. Curious to learn how Scott’s research related to tidying, she invited him for a visit. A long conversation about how to tidy work ensued, and their collaboration took off!

On the Job

As a tidying consultant, Marie worked out of clients’ homes, but she’s no stranger to an office. Her first job was at a sales company – and while the work itself didn’t spark much joy, it eventually launched her career as an in-demand tidying consultant. Inspired by Marie’s neat and tidy desk, her coworkers asked for her help in tidying their own workspaces. Soon, Marie was so busy with tidying lessons – before and after office hours – that she decided to quit her sales job and focus on tidying full time.

“In the end, the real goal is to discover what brings you joy in your work so that you can give it your best.”

— Joy at Work

Tidier Together

To create the book, Marie and Scott worked across disciplines – and languages – to explore the ways in which their fields supported each other. For Marie, seeing the data from Scott’s research – like conclusive evidence that clutter reduces productivity and can lower self-esteem – was powerful. “Scott’s work backs up the intuitive theories that have shaped my tidying method,” she says. “Our different approaches are really complementary – mining the intersections was fascinating!”

“It was important to me that I show how Marie’s methods for physical tidying are supported by organizational psychology,” says Scott. “And it was important to Marie that I develop methods for tidying work activities – like time management and decision making – that readers could put into practice right away.”

Making Space for Work That Matters

Both Scott and Marie have felt anxious and out of balance in their careers – experiences they mined when devising solutions for eliminating the clutter that leads to dissatisfaction and overwhelm.

Their solutions use the joy-centering KonMari Method™ as a framework, with necessary adjustments made for a professional setting. The aim is to remove clutter from all areas of your career – from extraneous papers to unnecessary meetings – so you can focus on the work that matters. This doesn’t mean deleting all your files and ignoring invites – rather, the strategies are designed to help you get in touch with what you really want and show you what you need to change.

Tidy It Forward

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Tidying – at work and at home – is a way of expressing gratitude for all that supports you. A compelling piece of data in “Joy at Work” shows that giving thanks to coworkers makes them feel happier and more fulfilled – yet only 10% of us are in the habit of doing so. “Being on the receiving end of gratitude makes people more engaged – and more likely to jump in and help out their colleagues,” says Scott. “It’s a win-win!”

Marie agrees. “Tidying attunes us to the objects, experiences and people who are vital to our success and wellbeing,” she says. “Working from a place of gratitude makes it easier to radiate joyful energy, which has a positive influence on everyone around us. Tidying – and the joy it brings – is infectious!”

Tidying your work can help you to find more joy in your environment – and give you a valuable sense of purpose. By identifying what sparks joy for you at work – and what’s necessary for you to thrive – you can align your job with your vision of an ideal career. Just ask Ariel Kaye, Founder and CEO of Parachute, who put Marie’s findings into practice. Marie helped Ariel tidy her office at the Parachute HQ, where they celebrated Ariel’s new book – the culmination of a career focused on creating a comfortable home. Joy at work, indeed!

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