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How to Apply the KonMari Method to Your (Nursing) Career

Have you heard of the KonMari method?

Maybe you've seen or heard of the recent Netflix special involving families piling their belongings in heaps in the name of joy?

Has the "Life-Changing magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo changed your home life?

Tidying up became a popular past-time this year when people learned throwing out the old and unappreciated could make room for gratitude and happiness in their lives!

You can reinvigorate your nursing career (or any part of your life) with KonMari principles and I am going to show the step-by-step process to career transformation!

Spark Joy! - Marie Kondo

Two simple words, one simple method, boundless joy!

Many nurses struggle to find joy in their work.

They feel tired, burnt out, disillusioned, helpless, and stuck.

There are moments of joy that keep them going - the joy of getting blood from a difficult vein; helping a family through a tough transition; seeing the birth of a healthy baby and the happiness of the mother,

I've adapted the principles of the KonMari method to show you how you can "Spark Joy" in your nursing career!

1. Give Thanks to the Place You Call Home

Marie Kondo starts every de-cluttering by getting onto her knees and saying a small prayer of thanks to the home or office or other space requiring some TLC.

First appreciate where you are.

Whether you are in nursing school, in your first nursing position, in the ranks of nursing management, or between work take a moment to acknowledge your career space.

2. Break down aspects of your career into categories (and subcategories)

In the KonMari Method belongings are separated into categories - clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous and sentimental items.

When looking at your nursing career it is important to break down aspects as well.

Clinical, leadership, research, education, and sentimental.

Sentimental may be the aspects of nursing that you are holding on to or were socialized to believe about nursing, but may no longer serve you.

You may chose to break down these categories further.

3. Brain dump everything into your categories

For each category ask yourself the following:

a. What are the things you are currently doing in each category? For example, what is your current clinical role, involvement in leadership, research, education and so on?

b. What would you like to to that you are not currently doing?

c. What would you not like to do?

4. Ask: Does this spark joy?

It's time to get honest and specific.

Look at each item you've listed and ask yourself - "Does X spark joy?"

Seeing a new mom's face light up - sparks joy.

Giving an immunization to a fussy child - doesn't spark joy.

Relieving pain and suffering - sparks joy.

Giving care you perceive as futile - doesn't spark joy.

Teamwork - sparks joy.

Shift work - doesn't spark joy.

(The above are examples only and don't necessarily represent my personal feelings to the above items)

5. Make a new list with only the things that spark joy

You may wish to further refine your list once you've been through the process.

Maybe you left something on your list because you felt a touch of shame or sense of pride about it.

Shame and pride are not "joy".

You may be surprised and overwhelmed and intimidated by the direction this exercise takes you in.

You may go through the stages of grief - shock & denial, pain & guilt, anger & bargaining, depression & reflection, testing and finally acceptance!

If you follow it through you will experience post-traumatic growth!

6. Design Your Career Accordingly

Now that you have an honest list of things you enjoy, you can design and grow your career with joy in mind!

With all of the noise removed you can see what you truly enjoy.

After all - it's not work when you love what you do.

For you - a career filled with joy may be providing health education to female refugees, working night shifts only so you can spend more time shopping when stores are empty, or developing cutting edge new health technologies.

Know someone who could use some more joy in their nursing career? Share this article with them!

Need help to create your new career? Reach out and get career coaching from a nurse who has found joy in their career!

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