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4 Tips for Working From Home During Quarantine from Marie Kondo

Spark joy at the home office.


Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her revolutionary book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up based on her philosophy that one’s physical environment should “spark joy.” And now, her latest work, Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life ($16.78, Amazon) teaches us how to spark joy in our careers by reorganizing our workspace. 

In a recent Good Housekeeping interview, Kondo was asked about the best ways to adjust to working life during quarantine. Luckily for us, she revealed some helpful tips and best practices to make the most of working from home. Here’s what she had to say:

Designate your workspace.

Whether or not you have a whole home office, creating a space that’s designated for work will keep you motivated and organized. “No matter where you work, it’s important to create an environment that helps you focus,” said Kondo. “If you don’t have a home office, identify the items that are crucial to getting your work done and designate a clear spot for them – a box or portable carrier will do.”

Have a starting ritual.

Kondo says that doing something each day that marks the beginning of work can help your mind understand that it’s time to buckle down and get focused. “Before you begin working, take a moment to center yourself,” she says. “I strike a tuning fork to purify the air around me, a practice that helps me to focus and feel calm. I also diffuse an essential oil or spritz a mist — such as peppermint — that is stimulating and signals the start of my work day.” 

A tuning fork emits a sound, while diffusing essential oils emits an aroma. What both these practices do is use the senses to draw your mind and body into the present moment, which helps you focus and feel better

Keep your space tidy. 

One of the key principles of Kondo’s philosophy is keeping your space neat, and this applies to your work-from-home space as well. “My advice is to dispose of anything that doesn’t fall into three categories: currently in use; needed for a limited period of time; or must be kept indefinitely,” she said. 

Kondo believes that papers should be stored in a way that prioritizes your work properly while making your space look tidy. “I recommend storing most items, including papers, vertically for two reasons,” she says. “First, if you stack things, you end up with what seems to be inexhaustible storage space, which makes it harder to notice how much you’ve accumulated. Second, things at the bottom of a pile essentially disappear — they recede out of our awareness and we put off dealing with them.” How smart! Check out these vertical paper organizers from Rubbermaid: $13.97, Amazon

As always, spark joy.

According to Kondo, your work space shouldn’t be a place you dread to sit down everyday. “When it’s time to work, move all unrelated items off of your workspace and add one thing that sparks joy when you look at it,” she says. “I always keep a crystal or small vase of fresh flowers on my desk.” Setting up your workspace with things that inspire you will help you feel uplifted throughout your day! 

We hope these tips help you make the most of the quarantine!

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