Late last year, I set out to overhaul the way I conduct my time, both in my personal and work life. This manifested in a serious pursuit of what I’d call “disciplinary programs.” As someone who values self-improvement, I’m attracted to new ideas, tools, and mental models that might help me continue to evolve towards a more productive life. It’s been over half a year since I started this undertaking, trying to transform the decision-making processes by which I choose what to do, when, and how I do it.
As a result, I’ve installed of several systems of living - spanning the way I clean my room to the way I choose tasks to complete at any given time of the day. Did everything work out as intended? No, of course not. The results were expectedly unexpected. In this post, I cover one of the first systems, the KonMarie Method. In subsequent posts, I’ll discuss in no particular order: Getting Things Done, You Need a Budget, Atomic Habits, and various meditative practices. I do not claim to own any of this material. Any good ideas you find here may be attributed to to the depth of experience of others. I may simply repackage and re-express these ideas in different ways with minor additions here and there.
Living completely intentionally
To begin with, you might ask: why are you putting yourself through this, Justin? My first answer is that self-improvement is one of my core values. Secondly, I find myself consumed day-to-day with the distractions of a world which takes advantage of my internal reward systems and deprives me of headspace. This is my attempt to reclaim and manage my own headspace.
I don’t expect to derive happiness from the achievement of goals like the successful implementation of a productivity system. I believe happiness is a mindset that we can choose to experience at any time. Reclaiming my headspace means that I can fulfill my maximum potential and avoid the risk of burnout from pursuing too many things at once - of which I have been guilty in the past. It’s about being completely, utterly intentional about how I use my mind so that it cannot use me.
The help of friends and a life coach
I began this process after asking a friend to take me through his implementation of the Getting Things Done system. This friend turned into something of a life coach as we both began simultaneously pursuing other “disciplinary programs” such as KonMarie, You Need a Budget, and Atomic Habits.
While it is entirely possible for one to start these systems on their own, my recommendation is to find a friend willing to go through the process with you. You may bounce ideas for improving these methods off your friend, and if anything, this person will serve as an accountability-buddy.
My Testimonial for The KonMarie Method
Journal Entry 12/4/2019
Going through KonMarie and throwing away clothing now. Holy sh*t this is so much fun. Throwing things away is refreshing. Folding clothing is actually a joy now that I’m doing it intentionally with clothing I like. It’s the thrill and flow of making origami with quality paper.
Journal Entry 12/15/2019
My room has been totally clean for the last week now that I’ve adopted the habit of putting things back in their place and clearing out joyless items. The answer to the question “does the cleanliness persist?” seems to be yes right now. It feels uncomfortable not to tidy and put things in their place.
Pictures, not words
The rest of this post will be fairly short. My conclusion is that the only way to fully understand the Kon Marie method is to read the infamous book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
The method can be summed up in a single statement: Put things back in their place. This implies (1) things have a place in the first place, and (2) every thing has a home.
I’ll leave the rest of this post to pictures rather than words:
All my stuff before starting.
My room after finishing.
All discarded belongings to be donated or thrown out.
Edit (5/30/20): My room has largely remained clean. However, it is true: if you don’t put things back in their place, you will start to derail. For those who need more of a push, my recommendation is to schedule a twice-a-year check-in to go through the discarding process additional times if necessary.
Thanks for reading. If you find this useful, please let me know!