Tidying Up Your Work Life

Susan Combs takes a business pulse check on the willingness to learn and grow during this unusual time in history.

Pandemic Pause Provides an Opportunity for Change

In June I gave a seminar on time management to 100 state of Michigan employees. Of course, the day of training was held on an online platform due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. As a way to take attendance so that participants received continuing education credits, we took three polls during the session. I used that opportunity to see how people’s perception of time has changed during COVID-19. Here are the answers and the percentages:

  • The days seem so long now. (37%)
  • No change. (30%)
  • Time seems scarcer now with the whole family home working and schooling together. (33%)

My question at the end of the session gauged their willingness to incorporate the ideas covered in the seminar. I wanted to get a pulse on people’s willingness to still learn and grow during this most unusual time in history. I was surprised that only 9% chose the answer “I’m worn out from all the COVID adapting. Try me next year.” The other 91% chose answers indicating they would incorporate the ideas presented.

So our “Great COVID Pause” gives us a rare opportunity to change and to tidy things up. As I was gleefully wandering around in one of our local bookstores (so, so happy to be back in a bookstore), I picked up the new book “Joy at Work.” The book is authored by Netflix star Marie Kondo and Rice University professor and author Scott Sonenshein, who share ideas and tips intended for the reader to not just have a neat desk but to discover what you value, why you work and what kind of working style you prefer. They walk you through how to have more joy at work. They have chapters on tidying digital work, tidying time, tidying decisions, tidying your meetings, tidying your teams and other areas.

This book is my summer read, and my summer project is to tidy up a much-neglected home office. It could be something to consider if you’re looking for ways to help you reset and refocus your work life. And we could all use a little more joy now after the past few months.

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