In Joy at Work, KonMari method pioneer Marie Kondo and organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein will help you to refocus your mind on what's important at work, and as their examples show, the results can be truly life-changing. With advice on how to improve the way you work, the book features advice on problem areas including fundamentals like how to organize your desk, finally get through your emails and find balance by ditching distractions and focusing on what sparks joy.
Like how the key to successful tidying in the home is by tackling clutter in the correct order, Joy at Work adapts the inspirational KonMari Method for your professional life, taking you step-by-step through your working day so that you can identify the most joyful way to work for you. Once youâ ™ve found order in your work, you can feel empowered to find confidence, energy and motivation to create the career you want and move on from negative working practices.
Marie Kondo's KonMari method of tidying through putting serious thought into what "sparks joy" has become very popular in revent years, to the point that I have noticed animated shows that I watch have started referencing it (shows such as Family Guy). From the little bits and pieces that friends had mentioned, or that I had seen referenced in modern media, I had come to the conclusion that the KonMari method was a form of minimalism; a system that I follow myself. It was, therefore, something that piqued my curiosity when I saw her latest book, 'Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life', was being released.
'Joy at Work' is a title that is co-authored between Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshan, and feels like a Kondo is simply partnering up for the sake of justifying being able to apply her method to other areas of life; previously home life, now work life. As the book progresses, it becomes immediately apparent that there is absolutely nothing new in this book. I haven't read any of Kondo's previous titles, and yet I feel like I could explain them with absolute certainty what the contect would be. I couldn't even make it through the first chapter without the same concepts being repeated again and again. The book is split into several chapters that cover various parts of work life; emails, meetings, workspace, digital storage, mobile phones, etc., and every chapter explains the exact same process; separate into categories, sort the easy things first, and put serious thought into what items you need (i.e. what sparks joy). The only difference is that every chapter simply adapts the definition of what "sparks joy" means.
After 3 chapters, there was so much repetition that the book became a chore to read. Despite having two weeks to read the book and write this review, it has now been 18 days and I ended up skim reading the final chapters to finish it. I could count on one hand the number of lines of text in this book that gave me a different perspective. This makes the book a very hard sell for me, given how monotonous and repetitive the book felt, and how much it costs. As far as the structure of the book goes, it often feels like the authors are making baseless assumptions throughout, but do note that the book has notes in the back that reference where they get their information from. It would be much more informative if they referenced the notes on the pages, but it is a positive thing that the book has any notes at all. It shows that there is at least some scientific basis to what they are trying to say.
What was odd, was the choices in anecdotes used. The majority of these anecdotes involve a person cleaning until they realise what sparks joy, and so they quit their job and start doing something else. New Zealand is a small market (even smaller during a global pandemic and recession), so quitting a job and finding a better job is not always a viable option. So to, again and again, have stories mentioning how somebody cleaned up, figured out their prioirities and quit their job...it is not ultimately a very useful process for the New Zealand market. The book doesn't tell us how to make our own workplaces enjoyable and sparking joy, but it pushes us to find another workplace that does.
There is a chapter about scanning documents that did give me pause, as well as a section on how removing unnecessary things focuses on the negative elements, whereas keeping things that sprk joy focuses on the positive elements. Apart from those aspects, Marie Kondo's Joy at Work, did not spark joy for me. So in following with her guidelines, I'll be grateful that I now understand her process, but recognise that it is not something that I need, and will soon be removing it from my life.
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