Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life – Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein Book Summary

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life – Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein | Free Book Summary

Joy at Work: Organizing Your Professional Life – Marie Kondo, Scott Sonenshein

New age minimalism for everyone.

Categorizing Everything

Make clear but simple categories that work for you. If you are a designer, maybe break everything down by client and then have a master admin folder for general bits. If you do a lot of ad-hoc work, maybe a date-type filing system would be best. Ask yourself: How do I approach my work, and how can I simplify how I obtain the things I need?

Pending Box

Regularly maintain a box – whether it be physical or digital – for things which are pending. This is your place to put things when they don’t have a place yet. Think new documents – do not just put everything here though! It is instead a short-term stop-off for documents.

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Email Personality Types

There are usually 3 ways we approach our emails: all of which can lead to problems.

1. Those who stay alert

These are the people who stay alert for inbound emails.Free book, podcast summaries

2. The spring cleaners

These are the people who purge their inboxes occasionally.

3. The accumulators

These are the people who let emails accumulate and then rely on the search functionality.

Taking control of Your Emails

To begin, consider the three questions we discussed above when deciding what to do with an email.

Delete anything that does not fulfill the criteria, and then begin organizing the remaining ones.

Have a reasonable number of folders, but not too many. Categorize the folders into different sections.

This should be done on a daily basis. Clean up your emails whenever you have a spare moment!

The 3 Traps: Overearning

It can be easy to fall into the trap of doing more work than we should. It can be so troublesome that psychologists have coined it “Over-earning”.

We tend to invest lots of energy into things that don’t really matter. We might originally undertake a task to achieve a specific objective, but we can lose sight of that we have achieved our goal and instead try to maximize whatever we can get.


The 3 Traps: Urgency

Instead of making time to dive into focusing on one task, we instead jump from one seemingly urgent task to the next. We work on auto-pilot and complete assignments based on what has been deemed urgent instead of important tasks. What usually happens is that most tasks become urgent when they are not, and it is no surprise that we feel overwhelmed and suffer negative consequences because of that.

The 3 Traps: Multitasking

Multi-taskers tend to be among the least productive people at work. Research suggests that by multitasking, you could be decreasing your productivity by as much as 40 percent. We can only think of a limited number of things at once; take on too much, and you are likely to end up doing a few things poorly rather than one thing especially well.

Taking Control Of Your Schedule

1. Identify your ‘core tasks’

These are your central, ongoing activities that justify your existence at work.

2. Identify the ‘project tasks

These are the kind of tasks that have a discrete beginning and end.

3. Identify the ‘developmental tasks’

These are the ones that help us learn and grow such as reading, training, and attending conferences.

Tidy Up! Decisions To Make

Most of our decisions are ones made with little effort or focus, however, other decisions can be high-stakes and require intense thought and then there are the medium-stake decisions which fall in between and are the ones we are likely to put off as they aren’t as easy to make.


When tidying your decisions follow this process: Forget about the small ones, organize the medium ones and reserve your energy for the large and important ones.

Important Decisions

Gather all the medium-stake and high-stake decisions that you currently or will soon face.

Look through your pile and put the high-stakes ones to one side. These must be kept!

Now you’re left with the medium pile. It’s time to find out what is worth keeping.


Again, ask yourself those 3 important questions.

In addition to this, you should also ask yourself: Is this something someone else can do better or cheaper? If so, delegate the task to someone else!

Also, think, does this need regular involvement and thought? If not, then try your hardest to automate these decisions!

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