Do you remember a few years ago when Marie Kondo was everywhere? If you don’t, she’s a Japanese organizing expert who became hugely famous for her “KonMari” method. The idea is to tidy and organize your home by gathering all your belongings, one category at a time, and going through them one by one. Things that “spark joy,” you keep. Anything that doesn’t spark joy, you discard with gratitude (…yes, there’s a connection to time management and productivity here—stick with me!) .
This concept really struck a chord with people, largely because of the gratitude piece of her method. Most of us weren’t accustomed to bringing that kind of mindset to the act of throwing things away.
Even if you haven’t tried it, or it sounds totally silly to you, you can probably imagine how this method might make it easier for people to let go of things they no longer need. Instead of focusing on regrets, the KonMari method kind of forces you to learn from past experiences and move forward with a positive perspective.
For example: imagine that while you’re cleaning out your closet, you pick up a shirt that no longer fits you.
- You could focus on “I’m sad this no longer fits” or “I wore this twice, what a waste of money, I shouldn’t have bought it.”
- Or, you could think, “I deserve to have clothes that fit me well.” Or, “I want to be more careful about impulse purchases the next time I’m shopping.” Then you can donate it, knowing that it no longer serves you and taking something positive from the experience of letting it go.
The KonMari Method, Time Management and Achieving Your 2024 Goals
Mid-January is the perfect time to lean into the idea of being really intentional and positive about giving things up. This is the time when you can be setting yourself for a really fantastic year. January’s when you need to get the time management routines in place that let you get all the most important stuff done all year long. If you can create those habits and that momentum now, incredible things can happen for your business this year. And, you’ll be able to create the space you need for everything that’s most important to you on the personal side.
Part of setting yourself up for that kind of peaceful productivity is thinking about what you’d like to release or let go of for the year ahead.
Some of the habits and activities and commitments that took your focus last year might not serve you well now. Being really thoughtful about what you need to cut loose lets you move forward with more time and energy to give to the things that matter most.
Now’s the perfect time to do that, while last year is still fresh in your mind. You can probably call back memories from times in 2023 when you felt like you were wasting time spinning your wheels and weren’t practicing good time management. Reflecting on recent experiences lets you get really clear about what you want more of in the future—and what you want less of.
Want to boost productivity, waste less time and feel more like you’re in control of your own time? Here’s a simple exercise to try!
- First, take a minute to think about your goals for this year. Make sure you’re really clear and specific about what feels most important for you to achieve this year, both on the business side and the personal side.
- Next, think about 1 to 3 activities or experiences that you’d like to “keep” from last year. Maybe you joined a new mentoring group, or really enjoyed a particular hobby, and want to get even more involved with those this year. Maybe you expanded your business and reached a new group of clients that you can’t wait to do more business with. In other words, what are the activities or experiences that you want to lean into even more this year?
- Next, think about 1 to 3 things you’d like to release. Another way of thinking about this might be: what’s making your life harder than it needs to be? What are the tasks and activities that consistently take time and focus away from your more important goals? What activities could you delegate to someone else?
- Figure out what the steps are to actually release those things. For example, let’s say you’d like to step down from a time-consuming committee you’re on. Think about the play to do that. Who do you need to notify first? What’s your timeline for pulling back? What can you do to ensure a smooth transition for whoever replaces you?
Then there’s the optional final step: expressing gratitude for the things you’re releasing. If you want to get the full KonMari experience, take a moment to think about what lessons you’re taking from letting go of things that no longer serve you.
3 Questions to Figure Out What You Want to Release This Year
- What would the people closest to me say I should let go of? If you asked the people who know you best (your partner, kids, work team, mentors, etc.) to suggest things you should quit or spend less time on this year, do you already know what they would say? (If not, consider asking them yourself!)
- What would you be relieved to let go of? Is there a monthly board meeting you always dread? A difficult client whose calls you avoid, or some other major stressor you’d like to get out of your life?
- What could you afford to delegate to others? Some of the things that you’d like to release this year might not actually be feasible. Certain tasks have to get done, and have to get done by you. So think about what the recurring tasks or responsibilities are that you could theoretically delegate to someone else. They might be things you don’t really mind doing. But, making them someone else’s responsibility would free up more time and energy that you could use for the things that you’d like to be doing the most.
Need more support with goals, time management or productivity?
Everyone’s wired differently, but that’s hard to remember when you’re struggling with goals, time management and productivity. Stop comparing yourself to other professionals who seem to have it all together, and let’s get to the root of the specific issues that are holding you back. I want to help you make this the most lucrative, joyful and fulfilling year yet. Your first step? Schedule a no-cost Strategy Session. We’ll talk about what’s possible for you and what the next best move is to help you take control of your time. Click here to request a Strategy Session.
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