Yasss I’m back with another ‘How to Kondo Your …’. If you missed my How to Kondo Your Finances, give it a read here.
In case you’re wondering what the hell I mean by Kondo, I mean Marie Kondo. She wrote the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which went on to be a literal life changing success for hundreds of thousands of people. I apply her principles of ‘what brings you joy’ to things like money, life and finances.
If you follow me on Instagram or read this blog, you probably know I love a bit of self reflection. I’m a sucker for self help books, love a mindset worksheet and getting to the nitty gritty of why we feel the way we do.
This weird limbo lockdown period has provided a serious amount of brain space for so many people. Even those of us still working are probably finding a few small pockets of time that would otherwise be spent going through the motions of reality.
And it’s one of the very few times in our lives – in fact, probably the only time – where we’ve been able to take a proper extended step back from our careers, daily routines and sense of repetitive normalcy.
Side note: nurses, doctors, healthcare workers – I’m sorry for that sweeping statement. I know you’ve been working your little butts off with zero let up, and you have my ultimate respect for that.
Stepping back from something, either via not working all together, or working from home like so many have been doing, gives you a rare sense of clarity that you just can’t get when you’re in the thick of it.
Step 1: establish if something needs to change
The first step to Kondo-ing your career, is to establish whether anything needs to change.
If you’re concerned about life returning to ‘normal’, ask yourself why that is? Are you just a bit anxious about change – that’s very normal. But if there’s something specific that’s really eliciting a sense of dread, then maybe that’s something to lean into.
To establish if something needs to change at all, firstly sit with the thought of what life would be like if as of Monday, COVID-19 was fully eliminated. Everything would be normal, as it was before.
How do you feel?
Write down bullet points or journal a longer form stream of consciousness about how this makes you feel.
Start with filling in this sentence: It’s Monday morning, and as of today life will resume as though COVID-19 never existed. Today I am going to ………………………….. and that makes me feel …………………………….
From here, you’ll probably get in the flow of other feelings pouring out. Focus on your job and career first and foremost – as that’s what we’re Kondo-ing – and you can also look at your personal life for more reflection if you’d like to.
Step 2: establish what brings you joy
If the career aspect of your response was anything other than ‘I’m going back to work today and I’m so hideously excited and I’ve missed every single aspect of my job’, then proceed with this next step!
Now you’ve unlocked some of your more unconscious general feelings about work, it’s time to Kondo.
Write out how that first day – or week, if you’ve got some time – would look.
Start from the beginning, like:
I wake up at 6 and take the dog for a walk.
I get dressed into a suit and get the train to work.
I walk into my office and say hello to everyone.
I answer my emails and then I have a two hour phone meeting.
That kind of thing.
Then, go back through and rank each thing you wrote down on a joy scale of 1-10.
1 being very low joy value, and 10 being high joy value.
If you love dressing smart for work and your suit makes you feel powerful and put together, then that action would rank higher on your joy scale than someone who wishes they could wear sweats to work.
If you hate your train commute because it’s overcrowded and you get motion sickness (me), that action would rank lower on your joy scale than someone with 3 kids who loves their commute time as it’s their own peaceful hour to sit and read the newspaper and watch the world go by.
Step 3: reflect on what brings you joy – and what doesn’t
Once you’ve ranked each thing on your joy scale of 1-10, go back through and lean into what you’ve ranked high and what you’ve ranked low.
Then use this to write out a statement about what a joyful career would look like. You can use this to benchmark your future career moves and decisions, because you’ve established what you do like and what you don’t like about where you’re at now.
Example: if your high joy ranking actions were having a meeting with your team, making morning coffee with your coworker, working on a campaign and wearing a power suit, and your low joy ranking actions were taking the train, packing a lunch and joining a two hour conference call where you didn’t say a word, your intention statement might look like this:
A joyful career for me looks like an environment where I’m working with others who are around my age and have similar interests, getting stuck into big projects as a team, having an interactive working approach with my peers, and socialising with my colleagues. I’d like to work close to my office with a short commute, be able to buy lunch out sometimes without ruining my finances, and be able to optimise my time rather than wasting it on wider team conference calls.
Once you have this benchmark intention statement, assessing whether other career opportunities in future are for you becomes much easier. You may also be able to use your intention statement to negotiate new working conditions with your employer when you do return to the office. Perhaps they can trust you with working from home two days a week to offset your long train journey, or maybe you could establish a lunch allowance for meetings to avoid you having to meal prep so much.
By using the Kondo career method to get clear on what you want, you get to know yourself better and build a stronger sense of self upon which your career can flourish.
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