Book Review: Joy At Work

If you know me, then you know I’m a huge fan of Marie Kondo. Her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is one of my favorite books, one of my recommended reads, and a book that changed my life. I also really enjoyed both her Netflix series, and watch them when I need a push to start decluttering my life.

I know this book came out two years ago, but honestly, reading it now has made a bigger impact on me than it would have two years ago. The differences between 28-year-old Michelle and 31-year-old Michelle (my 31st birthday was yesterday), are significant, and I view work a lot differently than I did back then.

When I was in my twenties, I didn’t see being happy at work as a big deal. After all, work is something we have to do in order to make money and live decent lives. Also most jobs suck when you’re in your twenties, so why focus on our feelings when they don’t matter?

When I worked at the grocery store, I was miserable most of the time, and it showed in the way I interacted with customers and co-workers. There were so many aspects of the job I hated and it showed. Near the end of my time there, I felt I was being disrespected and wasn’t being appreciated for the hard work I put in. Overall, I just wasn’t happy there anymore, so I left.

Admittedly, I do have still my days where I wish I wouldn’t have left because it was a stable job with stable hours and pay, and sometimes working from home is more stressful than leaving the house to work. But then someone reminds me of how miserable I was working there, and I know that leaving was the best thing for my mental health.

Well after everything I’ve been through in the past 2-3 years and with now being in my thirties, I realize that being happy at work matters just as much as the job itself. Marie touches on this and much more in the book, using real-life clients and examples to prove her very valid points.

Here are some of the most helpful tips I took away from this book (the others you will just have to read for yourself):

  1. Keep a clear and tidy desk.
    I know as a writer this one seems impossible because we have books, pens, notebooks, and other supplies on our desk so we can easily grab them when we need them. But having a clear and tidy can make it easier to find what we need without risking an avalanche of items falling on us! I always try to keep my desk clear and neat because I can’t stand clutter, but I do fail at this sometimes because I’m only human (and I’m a writer).
  2. Create a balance for what sparks joy and what doesn’t.
    We all say yes to something when we really want to say no. There are several reasons why we might do this, but at what cost? For me, I’ve realized putting my time and energy into things that don’t make me happy deplete my energy faster than anything else. Yes, some of my freelancing work makes me miserable because I’m not fond of the topics. These are the moments when it’s most vital for me to make time to do things I do enjoy, like working on my own writing, reading a book, or watching something I enjoy. So by creating a balance for what does and doesn’t spark joy, we are allowing ourselves a better chance at maintaining better mental health.
  3. Have the right network/Grow the relationships that matter most to you.
    It’s easy to gain hundreds or thousands of followers on platforms like Twitter. But out of those hundreds or thousands of people, how may do you actually know or care about? While having the numbers might seem great, it’s not. By having a close network of people, you have a better chance at succeeding because these are the people who will genuinely root for your success and help you when you need it.
  4. Take time for honest self-reflection.
    With the million things we have to do each day, it might feel impossible to make time for ourselves. But Marie’s husband Takumi does this and has a fantastic work and personal life balance. Every two weeks he sets aside about an hour or so to reflect on his work and prioritize tasks. I feel this is something I need to start doing in order to achieve my work goals, mental health goals, and other goals as well.

Have you read Joy At Work? What did you takeaway most from this book? And if you haven’t read it, do you think you might in the future? I would love to know your thoughts! I hope everyone has a great week!



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