Book Review: Joy at Work by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

Book Name: Joy at Work

Authors: Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Genre: Non-fiction

Rating: 5/5

Book Blurb:

Find your focus – wherever you’re working – with Joy at Work.

Marie Kondo’s first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, sparked a new genre of publishing and became an international bestseller. Now, for the first time, you will be guided through the process of tidying up your work life. Whether you are unexpectedly working at home or if you have a dedicated work space or office, if you properly simplify and organize your work life once, you’ll never have to do it again.

Joy at Work
Picture Credit: Pan Macmillan

In Joy at Work, KonMari method pioneer Marie Kondo and organizational psychologist Scott Sonenshein will help you to refocus your mind on what’s important at work, and as their examples show, the results can be truly life-changing. With advice on how to improve the way you work, the book features advice on problem areas including fundamentals like how to organize your desk, finally get through your emails and find balance by ditching distractions and focusing on what sparks joy.

Like how the key to successful tidying in the home is by tackling clutter in the correct order, Joy at Work adapts the inspirational KonMari Method for your professional life, taking you step-by-step through your working day so that you can identify the most joyful way to work for you. Once you’ve found order in your work, you can feel empowered to find confidence, energy and motivation to create the career you want and move on from negative working practices.


Joy at Work consists of simple yet helpful methods that really work. Having read many such books, I was a bit apprehensive at first. I work in a very organising manner (or at least I like to think so) but my work desk resembles a fish market.

I use Monday, google calendar, and a host of other apps. I didn’t realise that half my time is being spent on organising the very tools and apps that should help me organise. So, I decided to put the methods depicted in Joy at Work to practise. They work.

“As a rule, don’t store anything on top of your desk.”

The book is written in an easy, conversational tone- this helps as excessive preaching kind of narration rarely works for such books. The book is divided into very section such as Tidying the Workspace, Tidying Digital Work, Tidying Meetings, Teams and Network.

“Research shows that clutter decreases the joy we feel at work for two main reasons. First, it overwhelms the brain. The more stuff we have around us, the more overloaded the brain becomes. This makes it harder for us to recognize, experience, and savour those things that are most important to us- the things that bring us joy.”

The methods in this book are easy and not some rocket science. You may already know about some of the methods but you never thought of implementing them. Joy at Work recommends three main types of folders for work: Current Projects, Records and Saved Work (documents from past projects). My desktop had umpteen folders and many word files, now I just have these three.

Since I work alone currently, I couldn’t test some of the methods such as Tidying Meetings or Network but I plan to utilise some of the methods when I shift back to the normal routine once the Covid lockdown ends.

This book is for everyone. Tidying is an art and has nothing to do with the amount of space at hand. You don’t need to build a bigger house to be more efficient at storing things. Bigger isn’t better. If you are someone who has tried many tricks and watched YouTube videos but haven’t perfected the art of tidying, then Joy at Work is the book for you.

A few years ago, I used to work with someone who considered himself a bit of a legend at organising documents and things. We called him F2F (Folder to folder) since his desktop had rows of folders. Each folder would have ten other folders and each, ten, another ten. To locate one simple document, this guy took about twenty minutes hunting inside his folders. Poor chap didn’t even realise that he was miserable at organising.

This book works and it is a very handy guide, especially now, when many people will be shifting to a work from home routine. Homes were not built for work and must be organised efficiently for maximum productivity.

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