How Marie Kondo’s Making WFH Work (While Homeschooling Her Two Kids)
Like many parents, when California schools shut down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, organizing guru Marie Kondo found herself taking on a whole new role: homeschool teacher. The mom of two made a name for herself streamlining people’s homes worldwide through her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, but now, she's looking at her own home in a whole new light.
Over a Google Hangout with her interpreter, Marie Iida, the expert shared how her routine’s changed—and how her upcoming book, Joy at Work (out April 7, though you can preorder it now), has helped her work, teach and play from home. The key? Keep it simple—and budget in breaks for yourself, too.
“I recommend this to readers in the book, but I myself also wrote down all the tasks that I do during the day when I’m working, and how much time I’m dedicating to each,” Kondo says. “For instance, sorting through emails: Now I like to dedicate a time to it so I can do it all in one go.”
It’s helped focus her attention, cutting out some of the unnecessary time sucks that’d eat up her day.
With her two toddlers at home, Kondo and her husband have been trading off caring for them throughout the day. They stick to a basic schedule to give their kids some structure to their day: “When we wake up, we eat breakfast, but we take some time to enjoy our breakfast as well,” Kondo says. “After I do the cleaning and tidying, they have a bit of a playtime—a brief playtime—followed by art class or drawing, followed by reading time, then we’ll have lunch together. After lunch, there will be a little bit of a nap —relaxation time—followed by some outdoor play, then TV— a little bit of screentime—and then dinner together.”
When she’s focused on working, keeping a “pending box” nearby has also helped her stay productive.
“A pending box is sort of like a to-do box,” she explains. “Any documents that require attention that you haven’t gotten around to yet, I like to keep them in one place. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tray or a box. The point is that you have a designated spot for them.”
The box keeps asks big and small from falling through the cracks, since they’re all right in front of her. Beyond that, her home office setup is pretty simple—and, as you might imagine, streamlined. (It’s no wonder she’s also launching her own line of joy-sparking home office supplies on her website, konmari.com.) She keeps her laptop, a charger and her tea on her desk, as well as a “relaxation item.” On her personal desk, it’s a clear crystal. On her husband’s, where she often takes video calls—it has the best wifi in the house—there’s a zen egg. “You sort of roll it around in the palm of your hand and it’s supposed to relax you,” she says.
Kondo also budgets in regular breaks throughout the day to prevent burnout—a key finding she learned while researching her latest book. “Also, when I’m taking a break—for instance, when I’m drinking tea, I don’t do it while I’m working. I try to dedicate a time to genuinely take a break and I find that to be much more effective,” she elaborates.
In these stressful times, we’ll take every bit of advice we can get to spark joy at home—and while working from home.