How to Marie Kondo Your Work Life
It is 2019, and we are all Kondophiles. Marie Kondo’s ethereal presence and understanding smile has taken Netflix by storm, with viewers inspired to embark on epic de-cluttering in the name of saving marriages and sparking joy. So put your marigolds down and get your work hat on as we take you on a journey towards clean working.
There’s something distinctly wholesome about watching the KonKari method in action, perhaps in part due to the show airing in the new year. Mantras about turning over new leaves are emboldened by her gentle guidance. It’s not quite as imposing or didactic as a self-help tutorial - yet feels infinitely more productive than binging eight episodes of ‘Instant Hotel’.
So, with our houses organised and our garages purged, what now?
In reality, most of us spend many more hours at the office than we do enjoying that newly exposed kitchen worktop space. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to reinvigorate your work life; eliminating ambiguity, rethinking communications, going paperless, optimising data capabilities and safeguarding your systems. As these missions can’t be executed through sheer determination alone, we’ve identified the innovative enterprises pushing things forward, enabling meetings, presentations, internal communications and data systems to finally spark joy.
Step 1: Eliminate ambiguity
No-one likes wasted time, particularly when you have a drawer of freshly rolled t-shirts to smugly gaze at.
Work management tools tackle ambiguity by ensuring that everyone on a project or in a team has access to a clear plan, with tasks and timelines allocated visibly so everyone knows who needs to do what, by when.
It eliminates pointless status meetings (which never, ever, spark joy), but also an easily avoidable yet common frustration: realising your colleague is half way through the same task as you. Crucially, Asana encourages transparency and accountability across all levels. Clarity and productivity are likely to rise as a result– all big ticks in Marie Kondo’s book.
Step 2: Rethink Communications
Gone - or, at least, going - are the days where output and effort are judged on the hours spent glued to your desk chair. Culture change and a focus on flexibility is fantastic, so long as tools are in place to ensure that communication isn’t neglected. Slack’s mantra, ‘work hard and go home’ is in many ways synonymous with the Kondo mentality; the technology, as with a Kondo’d sitting room, provides a space aspiring to make life simple, more pleasant and thus, more productive.
Founded in 2008, the global collaboration hub aims to eliminate unnecessary activities that interrupt workflow, instead fostering a cooperative environment that cultivates productivity and simplifies communication. The integration of over 1500 apps – including Asana and Prezi – saves professionals valuable time, forming an accessible hub from which any necessary tool can be used. Teamwork is simplified through online channels, encouraging flexible working without sacrificing the benefits of collaboration. Further, Slack’s ‘Do Not Disturb’ option ensures that although it provides the freedom to work any time, from anywhere, it isn’t encouraging burnout or crazy hours – quite the opposite, in fact.
When it comes to meetings, pitches and presentations, Prezi is a platform that brings back joy (yes, really) to you and your audiences. Founded in 2009, Prezi is based on the premise that the medium used to present content very much impacts message retention and audience engagement. Prezi is different from other tools in that it provides an open, zoomable canvas that has been scientifically proven to be more powerful than linear formats, such as slides. In fact, Harvard researchers found Prezi more organised, engaging, effective and persuasive than either PowerPoint or oral presentations. This is particularly important at a time when people's attention spans are evolving and visual content with a strong narrative is required to capture - and retain - an audience's attention.
At the core of Prezi’s appeal is its inherent flexibility. Prezi’s interactive format lets presenters move freely between topics and adapt on the fly, without having to flip through slides. This conversational presenting approach allows presenters to focus on what interests their audiences most, a method that is proven to be more engaging and effective.
Perhaps, then, it is time to join Prezi’s 100 million users and revitalise your presentations to leave a positive and lasting impression with your audience.
Step 3: Go paperless where possible
The KonKari method is inherently orderly. Every tidy up goes as follows: clothes, then books, then papers, then Kimono (miscellaneous), then mementos. By the time we arrive at the mementos, we’ve become used to deciding whether an item truly sparks joy. We are now more apt at emotionally detaching from dusty swimming trophies, and are finally able to repurpose drawers stuffed with old birthday cards - these are the lightbulb moments of the show, delighting thankful homeowners and viewers alike.
Yet it’s not all happy tears and giving thanks. Cleverly nestled in between the more captivating elements sits Step 3: Papers. This section is often glazed over in the filming. We know it’s happened, but literally nobody gets emotional over yellowing electricity bills. Although watching other people sort through their mess is surprisingly addictive, there is a limit - and it turns out this is it. However, this doesn’t make Section 3 any less vital, at home or at work.
Attempts to go paperless at work are undoubtedly well-intentioned. We all know the benefits of ditching the mounds of paper; more room for snacks on our desk, and slightly less guilt about environmental footprints. However, many of these attempts are ill-advised - taking notes on paper still feels easier than weird iPad pens, and tech meltdowns in the office are commonplace. Shoeboxed, however, have nailed this transition. Currently used by over 1 million businesses, the app turns your receipts into data - digitizing and archiving them in an accessible, secure location. For accounting, book-keeping, creating expense reports, and tracking mileage, there’s no simpler tool. And if you’re one of those who scrambles around on expenses day for that frustratingly losable proof that Wednesday’s lunch definitely was client related, Shoebox eliminates that stress. Winner.
Step 4: Optimise everything by enhancing your data crunching and thinking capabilities
It’s still hard to drink at any pub in close proximity to office space without hearing someone in a suit proclaim loudly that “data is the new oil”. Yet, oil is useless unless it’s being extracted and sold. Alteryx is for every knowledge worker that uses data in spreadsheets or forms, and wants to find more answers, quicker. This data analytics platform allows anyone to really work with their data and become their own analyst: Discovering deeper insights faster. Data blending from disparate sources at pace may not sound like a traditional marriage saver - but who knows what the thrill of arriving at an answer rapidly can trigger in a jaded brain?
In the digital economy the smartest, fastest players win, and by working to the best view of reality, and finding the most trends faster, an knowledge worker (and isn’t that all of us?) can add more value to their role, their business, or even reinvent a whole process if they crack the codes hidden in their data.
Step 5: Safeguard your systems
If the state of our homes is linked to our state of mind, then it’s little stretch to assume the same for the security of our business. For those who desire a tidy-up, the urge to protect is also strong: Nothing sparks less joy than attackers destroying your cyber presence or stealing your funds. Since 2011, Crowdstrike have been on a mission to address a fundamental pain point when it comes to modern technology; the capacity for precious data to be weaponised by malevolent actors.
The aim is simple: To stop breaches, and protect against even the most sophisticated attacks. Credit should be given when due, and Crowdstrike’s Falcon platform is so forward thinking that it allows adversary activity to be detected before an interloper has made any changes or removed any files. Should peace of mind be on the wish list for 2019, you’d be hard pressed to find a safer option than looking to stop breaches.