5 Work From Home Lessons From Marie Kondo

May 20, 2020 Edward Rivera

Remote work certainly has its perks, but for many of us, it also has its challenges. In this blog series, we’ll focus on the home office, discussing ways to adapt and conquer—both as an employer and an employee. This is post 15 of the series. You can follow the rest of the series and read our past posts here.


It’s January 2019. The year begins as most do: cold weather, extra holiday weight, and the annual invigoration to abide by a New Year’s resolution to better your life. The only difference this time around is decluttering-sensation, Marie Kondo, debuted with her Netflix series and gave the world a blueprint to follow those life-altering goals we’ve set for ourselves. The result was a viral phenomenon that influenced many, helped some, and transcended past the neglected closet in the back of your home. We even used her method to help blog about touching up your professional self.

Fast forward to May 2020. The weather is getting pretty nice, holiday weight has turned into shelter-in-place weight, and we’re spending 24/7 in the places that Kondo specifically urged us to declutter. Given the circumstances, it feels physically impossible to even contemplate trying to attempt to siphon through our daily surroundings.

But fear not! Because where there is a Kondo, there is a way. On her recent promotional tour (virtual, of course) for her book “Joy At Work”, she shared her wisdom on how to manage the home/workplace duality during this unusual time. Here are 5 lessons to help stay fresh and sane of mind while working from home:

Start your day off with a small ritual

A normal morning ritual for most involves a trip to the office kitchen for some coffee and small talk. Even though your new office kitchen is your home kitchen, it’s good to establish a morning routine to get you in the working mindset. If it’s as simple as a coffee and toast to start the day, so be it. If it’s going for a brisk walk or quick run, by all means. Kondo recommends creating a task list for each day. Start the day by writing out your plans and how much time you’ll spend on each. The satisfaction of doing this goes a long way and sets the foundation for a productive day. 

Set boundaries

Don’t work where you play and don’t play where you work. It’s that simple, right? Wrong. Not everyone has the luxury of having a designated workplace in their home that is separate from places where they spend their leisure time. For a lot of people, their kitchen/dining room table is their work desk. That is perfectly fine. Just remember to set boundaries. Kondo references a toolbox of sorts. If your table and desk are one and the same, once you’re off the clock, pack up your work things and put them aside. Do not let the cluster of your “office” overtake your home.

Have an item in your workplace that sparks joy

At the office, the easy “joy sparker” would be pictures of your family/friends or a souvenir of sorts to remind you of life beyond your desk. But what do you do at your home where your pictures and memorabilia are all designed specifically for you? Try and find something with fond memories of what life was like before all of this. A seashell or postcard from a trip is a go-to for many people. If you long for the days of being in the office, use an item that reminds you of the normalcy of yesteryear when sitting at your desk for 40+ hours a week was your biggest concern.

If you have kids, create a schedule for them (and let them know yours)

Easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot. With two months into the quarantine, it’s quite possible you’ve already established a schedule with them. If it’s working for both parties, keep it up. But if you haven’t really established a possible schedule or what you’ve been doing has lost its luster, then switch it up. Kondo specifies mixing both solo and together activities. Whether it’s coloring on their own or making lunch together, no one knows their child better than their parent, so observe and adjust accordingly to the needs of both you and your little ones. Read also: Advice For Working From Home With Kids During COVID-19

Be kind to yourself

Kondo emphasizes that productivity levels will fluctuate and advises professionals not to fret if you’re feeling stressed about working in current situations. Forgetting a password because it was saved on your desk PC or not getting an immediate response from a coworker/supervisor can be a common and frustrating occurrence for us all.  But remember, we’re all in this together and a lot of people are dealing with the same exact issues. Like Kondo says, “At the end of the day, try to focus on and appreciate what you did accomplish rather than what you failed to accomplish.”

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