Design Yourself 45: Marie Kondo Your Business

Host Sharon isn’t afraid to admit she loves a good organizing fest. Ever since she was a little girl, she’s been famous (erm, sometimes infamous) for her love of taking everything down off the shelves so that she could pick it back up in a new and improved order. So you won’t be surprised that when organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up hit stores in 2014, Sharon began playing with these principles in her own life. Today’s episode uses the KonMari method as a jumping off point for discussing how and why to find focus in your work. Learn about the problem of stretching our efforts too thin, common reasons we do this anyway, and a 5 Step KonMari-inspired process for bringing focus to your own work.



We are scattering our efforts on the many at the cost of what making anything truly great. Over and over and over again.

It doesn’t come from a bad place

  • We may be risk averse so we place lots of bets 
  • We may not be ready to make the decision about where to focus

We have natural limitations

  • Multi-tasking doesn’t exist 
  • We can’t remember more than 4 things in our heads at once


Step 1: Name the thing that motivates you 

Start by naming the thing that motivates you. If you close your eyes at night feeling exactly the thing that you want to feel, what would you call that feeling? Joy, happiness, peace, fulfillment?

Let your answer shape your guiding question: Does this bring me joy? (or peace/fufillment/happiness etc)

Don’t forget that there is a lot of beauty/joy/peace/fufillment in FUNCTION. 

Step 2: Get clear on what you really want to do in your business

What one thing do you really want to do? Maybe not forever, but at least in this season of your work life.

To set this horizon for the longer term consider: What do you want to be known for? And consider your baseline. What is your reputation right now?

Step 3: Audit your current focus

List out everything you have on offer. All the services and products. Marie Kondo would have you put them all on the floor. I want you to make physical representations of each thing. If it’s something tangible, perhaps use the thing itself. If you offer services, write them out using pen and paper. If you have multiple divisions or arms in your business, you may want to segment your focus into those – or other natural buckets. 

Step 4: Determine what brings you “joy”

Take each thing in turn, hold it and ask your guiding question. “Does this bring me ______?” Notice your answer without judgement.

Step 5: Let go of the no’s

Determine what emotion will steward you in this process. Take steps to strengthen that muscle.