Now that working from home and being stuck with our family 24/7 at home is the new norm, it can get a little bit chaotic when everyone is at home at the same time, especially for those who have children.
Our homes have turned into an all-in-one workspace, classroom for kids, a gym and more, as we try to go about our normal daily lives in this not-so-normal pandemic situation.
You’ll probably find dumbbells on the floor, along with toys strewn across the living room and things left around haphazardly in most homes, as we figure out how to accommodate each other every single waking hour of the next few weeks or even months ahead.
At this point, if there’s one person that can bring order into our messy home situation, it may be decluttering expert Marie Kondo and her ‘spark joy’ concept — not that I believe in the hullabaloo, but some organising tips would help while we’re cooped up within these four walls.
Her new book, aptly titled Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life, talks about productive workspaces and making your workspace more functional. She also shared tips with Time on how to “make your home into a space that sparks both joy and productivity”.
Here are some things we can apply during our “circuit breaker” month.
Separate workspace and living space
To draw the line between workspace and living space, Kondo suggests “keeping all the tools that you use for work on a little tray and store it away so that you only bring them out when you need to.”
This helps you to define work and rest more clearly, and it also helps to keep your workspace tidy, especially if your work desk is also your dining table.
She added: “I like to have a ritual, whether it’s meditation or chiming my tuning fork, that allows me to shift gears in my mind and let my body know that I am entering work mode.”
For some of us who don’t have a tuning fork, I guess sticking to a routine closely will help you keep focused at work and be less distracted and tempted to laze in bed or play your favourite video game.
Sharing a workspace
On sharing workspaces, Kondo said: “It’s very important that we’re aware of our family members and partners’ work schedules for the day so we can complement each other, support each other and align our priorities.”
When it comes to understanding one another, Kondo likes to write down her goals for the day and share it with her husband, taking time to explain what they need of each other.
And if your spouse is someone messy and likes leaving things around, Kondo brings out her nifty tray trick again. She said: “Put all of your partner’s work tools on a separate tray and put it away.”
Decluttering work that doesn’t spark joy
Kondo explains three ways things can spark joy: “The first category is things that directly allow us to feel joy. The second is functional joy, things that you use frequently that make your daily work easier. And the third is future joy, things that will contribute to your future plan for your career.”
Using invoices as examples, or compiling claims and keying it into a system for my instance, she said it may not spark joy, “but it is what allows you to get payment in the future, so in that sense it sparks joy.”
So if anything that falls into those three categories, you can go ahead and keep them as long as it’ll make you happy, even if it’s in the near future.
Keeping a peaceful mind
Most importantly, we need to keep our minds at peace to be effective and productive at work. Kondo suggests meditating in the morning or night before going to bed, or it could be something as simple as spraying incense or fragrance in the air just to end it with positivity and gratitude.
This article was originally published on AsiaOne. Text: Melissa Goh