Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, you’ve heard of Marie Kondo. You’ve probably already binged watched the entire season of her new show on Netflix and have considered decluttering and tidying up your own home.
But while Marie Kondo believes your home should spark joy, I believe the same goes for your career. Sure, every day at work, no matter how amazing your job is, will not feel like a romantic walk in the park. But, you shouldn’t start every day dreading work either.
So, here are a few questions to help you start thinking about how you can tidy up your own career and turn it into one you’ll love.
1. Does it spark joy?
This, of course, is the ultimate Marie Kondo question you must first ask yourself when thinking about your career. If you can honestly say your current position does not spark joy, you need to take a moment to think about what does. What projects give you the greatest joy? What clients do you enjoy helping and working with the most? Which challenges get your adrenaline pumping? When do you feel most fulfilled at work? Hint: Your answer should not be “when it’s time to go home.”
When you’re scrolling through LinkedIn fueling your comparison issues – let’s be honest here, what about other people’s jobs excite you the most? What would feel most fulfilling to you if you had the opportunity to do it?
2. Are you an expert at what you love?
A few years ago, when I was at a job I no longer loved and realized I wanted to be more creative than my position allowed me to be, I started looking for ways to be creative wherever I could. Did it take more work? Yes, sometimes it did. Were my colleagues surprised (maybe even confused) by my constant desire to help on more creative projects? Yes, a few were. But eventually, co-workers and senior leaders started tapping me for this expertise and I became the go-to person for client presentations, creative deliverables and creative perspectives, which ultimately changed how I spent my days at work for the better.
While tidying up your career, look for ways to strengthen the skills you do love. Take active steps to get better at your craft. Talk to your boss about what most excites you and start positioning yourself at work as the go-to person for what you love to do. This will also give you more leverage to prove to your future employer that you’re the asset they need for the role you desire to transition into next.
3. What do you wish you could do less?
This is probably the easiest question to answer. We’re so used to saying what we don’t want and what we don’t like, so this should be a no brainer. But, get crystal clear on the specific things you wish you could do less of at work. Are you overwhelmed with deadlines from multiple teams? Do you dread doing research and data analytics and prefer focusing on strategy and planning? Assess what doesn’t bring your joy. Then, see if there are other people around you who love doing those things or who would be willing to do those things, and delegate.
If you’re not in a position that allows you to delegate tasks to others, start placing those things at the top of your to-do lists so that you can get them out the way quicker and spend more time at work on the projects that interests you the most.
While you’re job hunting for new roles, you also want to be sure to nix any roles that require these less-than-joyful tasks as primary responsibilities so that you don’t end up spending most of your time on these duties in your next position too.
4. What’s your timeline for your next career goal?
Part of tidying up your career, sparking joy and getting clarity is knowing what’s next. You may already know the next step for you. Maybe you want to transition to another company or change industries altogether, but when do you want it to happen? Applying to jobs after a few bad weeks at work may make you feel better, but if you really want to make a career change you need to put a plan in motion and add a date to it.
Yes, life would be easier if your dream job could just fall out of the sky and into your lap overnight, but getting a new position takes time and while your job search is in full swing you still have to show up to work and make the most out of each day.
Tidying up your career and getting clear on the best ways to start enjoying your days is a great start.