If you are like many Americans, you’ve already binged the first season of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and started decluttering your house. You might want to hold off, though, and skip straight to another, arguably greater, source of stress in your life: your office. This month on Instagram, Marie Kondo released a sneak peak of her forthcoming book, Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life.
Kondo has co-authored this book with Scott Sonenshein, a management professor at Rice University and author of Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less – and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined.
“As a business professor, I know too many emails, wasteful meetings and team conflict take the joy out of work.” Sonenshein told Forbes this month. “I’m excited to pair my research as an organizational psychologist with the KonMari method to give people the techniques, advice and inspiration to experience joy in all parts of their careers.”
With some of the highest rates of burnout in the medical field, many neurologists could do with a little more joy at work.
Our physical environments, at work and otherwise, can contribute significantly to our well being and performance. In her 2019 article, The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk, Elizabeth (Libby) J. Sander, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Bond University Business School, says, “Cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our stress and anxiety levels, as well as our ability to focus, our eating choices, and even our sleep.”
Clutter is also linked to procrastination. In this 2018 study, published in the journal Current Psychology, 350 young adults were surveyed about procrastination in relationship to factors like self-identity with possessions, clutter, and place attachment. Following a multiple regression analysis of the results, clutter was the best predictor of procrastination. The respondents also reported that increased clutter had a negative impact on their quality of life.
Another group of researchers wanted to dive deeper into the relationship between clutter, procrastination, and stress. In their paper, published in January 2019 in the journal Environment and Behavior, they reported that clutter was not only a cause of stress in the workplace, it was also a result. Their research confirmed the existence of a stress-procrastination-clutter feedback loop: Stress at work leads to exhaustion, which leads to delayed decision making (procrastination), which leads to increased office clutter, which in turn leads to more stress.
Marie Kondo would probably argue that getting a handle on the clutter would be the best way to stop this cycle of misery. Of course, that can feel pretty overwhelming.
“I suggest you start with your own desk and experience what a tidy desk can do for your work life,” said Kondo earlier this year in an interview with InStyle Magazine. “With the confidence gained from this experience, you can initiate a project to improve the office space and encourage everyone to join in.”
Kondo’s book comes out in the Spring of 2020, and it’s available for pre-order today.