Joyful Messes

Key Takeaways

  • Whether at work or at home, messes can create negative energy that make you feel powerless.
  • The Four Ds can help you unclutter your home and work life: Do it, Delay it (for later), Delegate it or Destroy it.
  • A messy desk is often a symptom of a cluttered mind or overwhelmed life.
  • Eliminating clutter will make you feel lighter, more productive and more joyful. 

***Marie Kondo’s best seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up can really help you tackle the messy details of life and work.

A few months ago, my wife and I were considering moving. We had to go through all of our possessions and mementos and figure out what to do with them. It was a mess. All those closets and rooms, plus our out building and everything else. That’s about the time I came across Marie Kondo’s best seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

What is a mess, really?

Think about messes. They create a lot negative energy and can make life miserable at times. Most of us like to put things in their proper place–out of sight, out of mind–so we can get on with life. This happens in the office, too, so I have two ideas I want to share with you:

  1. Tidying up.
  2. The Four Ds. When you pick something up, limit yourself to just one of four actions: Do it, Delay it, Delegate it or Destroy it (my favorite). More on the 4 Ds in just a minute.

In terms of tidying up–clothes, books and other things–Kondo wants you to consider the joy in the item you’re touching. If it brings you joy, then keep it. If not, then get rid of it. If you don’t want to throw it out and it’s in decent shape, you could donate it to charity or to your friends. My wife and I worked over two weekends to get through everything we’d collected over many years, and by doing so we made our house a lot cleaner and less stressful. Now, I’m not the kind of guy who really gets excited about the fine details of household organizing, but if you are, you’ll really love Kondo’s book.

The 4 Ds deliver at work

If you have a messy desk at work, it might not mean you’re sloppy or disorganized. It could mean things are really piling up in your mind. You want to clear stuff off your desk and clear your head. So use the 4 Ds approach. Either (1) Do it right now, (2) Delay it, which means you’re not ignoring a task, you’re simply putting it in a system in which it’s going to be done in the future, (3) Delegate it to someone else at your organization who’s better suited to the task or (4) Destroy it completely.


The 4 Ds work at home as well as at the office. Put life’s messes in their proper place. You will feel lighter, more productive and more joyful.

Enjoy Independence Day. Until next time!

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