My takeaways from the show on Netflix (she also has books you can read) have been to take stock and evaluate everything systematically. Does it bring you joy? Do you want to take it into the future?
With your clothing, Marie asks you to make a giant pile on your bed. You are then visually confronted with all of the clothes you own. If we did this will all of our service efforts, I bet we would be confronted with a similar shock and awe. How long have you been on that particular committee? Is it time for a change for you, and the committee? What service brings you joy? I know colleagues who have worked with department heads to better streamline their service efforts.
|Imagine this pile of clothes is your research agenda, service activities, curriculum offerings, |
or books from your office. How do we tidy up our professional lives?
Oh the books! Some people flipped out when Marie said 30 books is about right for her. Do we need the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th edition of that desk copy textbook? Are those the books I want to take with me into the future?
I realize we need to keep student papers and some records for a set amount of time, but where I tend to find bulk is multiple copies of a handout stuffed in a folder. Digitize it, or make a master-copy binder with clear protector sleeves, and recycle the extras. For student work product and tests your institution wants you to keep until a certain date, place them in a folder with a destroy date front and center. On that date, destroy it!
Curriculum should be on the tidy up list, too, to keep us current and offering what students today and tomorrow need. Try using a prop to represent each course you teach in your department. Place it on the conference room table and go through them one at a time, without considering the professor who LOVES to teach that course. What purpose does the course fulfill? Could it be updated or re-tooled? Does it fit your department's goals and the university's mission?
I have just started my tidying up, and would love to hear your thoughts on applying Marie Kondo's principles to academia.