The “KonMari” method has been buzzing about the zeitgeist for some time now, born of one Japanese organisational consultant, Marie Kondo, whose first of four books, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, bred a worldwide army of feather-duster wielding ‘Konverts’, and saw many a dwelling scrutinised, culled and ordered into tidy compartments.
The overcrowding stuff of our lives, however, extends far beyond bulging closets and crammed kitchen drawers. Consider, for example, how some of your commitments and, let’s be honest, certain people, are cluttering your time. What good is an immaculately ordered living room, we say, if you haven’t a spare moment to sit on the couch? So we’ve tailored the KonMari method to your calendar. Ready to clear some space?
Visualise your perfect life
Firstly, think about what your ideal week would look like. Do you cook at home, or read a little more? Do you take a dance class on a Sunday afternoon? Perhaps you sleep in on a Saturday… or go to the beach more often. Obviously, work is a tough one to budge, but could you negotiate some more flexible hours, or work a day from home once in a while? Get your dream life clear in your mind and then turn your attention to that calendar.
When choosing who and what to keep in your calendar, take an honest look at each thing and person you spend your time on and ask Marie’s signature question: “Does this spark joy?”
If you look at the contents of the next 365 days, you’re going to run and hide. So make like Marie and de-clutter by category (she goes for the clothes, first, then the books, and so on). Break your commitments down into family, friends, work, health, chores… what have you, and consider just one at a time. Be sure to introduce a ‘down time’ category if there isn’t already one there.
Does this “spark joy”?
When choosing who and what to keep in your calendar, take an honest look at each thing and person you spend your time on and ask Marie’s signature question: “Does this spark joy?” That friend who one-sidedly rants at you over coffee, we’re guessing, does not, while that hour on your yoga mat or brunching with your partner might see sparks fly. Be brutal here. That pottery class won’t spark joy if it takes you an hour in traffic getting there.
Marie likes to “thank” the things she gets rid of (like, she literally says “thank you” as she tosses them in the bin), but when it comes to your calendar, and cancelling on people, appointments or things you’ve committed to, you might want to say something more along the lines of, “Sorry, I don’t have capacity at the moment.”
Once you’ve only got the things that you truly love and need in your week, you’ll have the energy and time to invest in them – and reap the benefits
Take your time
Marie’s method is aimed at improving your overall lifestyle, so don’t make de-cluttering your calendar, itself, a stressful task. Also be wary that it’ll take a while to cut back on your contact with certain people (who should soon start to take the hint). Marie allows up to six months to get your house in order, so don’t expect to de-clutter your calendar in a weekend.
Once you’ve only got the things that you truly love and need in your week, you’ll have the energy and time to invest in them – and reap the benefits (a restful weekend, for example, makes you more productive at work). And now that you’ve identified what sparks joy, you’ll also find it easier to decide how to spend your time, and will readily say “No” to obligations that swallow half your Saturday, and “Yes” to that weekend getaway.