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Can You Really KonMari Your Calendar?

Speaking of the KonMari method in terms of my ugly couch, Forbes from time to time presents the idea of KonMari-ing your calendar.

The point, it seems, to saying no is that it frees you up to say yes to what you really want to do (vs. what others want you to do).  And that’s great but… what about not filling up the calendar at all?  Like what about saying no so you have an empty space in your calendar and then not filling it with anything that needs to be written down on a calendar and is tied to a certain block of time?


I decided to do this with my calendar.  I left off work engagements because I enjoy work AND it doesn’t really matter whether or not it sparks joy.  I still had a considerable number of promises on my calendar, but I immediately ran into the problem that the author addressed in the article:

So last spring I decided to analyze my calendar and, using the KonMari method, ask whether each commitment brought me joy. I believe this is why Kondo has become a guru to many Americans at the end of their proverbial ropes. She doesn’t ask if things are necessary or useful. She asks if they spark joy. Joy! That is a high bar, especially if you are using it as the filter for socks or a trip to the DMV.

I would say about 50% of my commitments sparked joy.  I genuinely enjoy the volunteer work that I do with teaching coding to kids.  I’m helping advise a new nonprofit on their social media strategy, and it’s a lot of fun to apply what I know and dream big.  But I also do a lot of things that I don’t really like at all because they’re obligations.  They’re part of living in a community.  They’re part of giving back to the world.  They’re necessary for our family to run.  It’s not that I’m so busy; I just don’t enjoy a bunch of ways I’m spending my time.

So… I dropped pretty much nothing.

I find KonMari great in theory and terrible in practice.  I can apply it to one or two things — clothing, for example — but I can’t apply it to most items in my house.  And I certainly can’t apply it to the intangibles and have the ideology create a life-changing impact.  Grab me back an hour, sure.  Grab me back full afternoons so I can read a book or take a class?  Not quite.

Instead, it felt worse to say to myself, “This doesn’t spark joy… but you have to do it anyway.”

I take ownership of my calendar.  I know I’m in control of setting my own boundaries.  I know how much is on my plate and how much I can reasonably take on and not make myself miserable.  Sometimes those facts control my calendar.  Sometimes there are other elements that are more powerful that take over my time.

Do you think you could KonMari your calendar and really achieve a difference in the way you spend your time?


1 a { 03.15.17 at 7:55 am }

Well, I am a bad person to ask, because I think the whole concept is ridiculous. Then again, I don’t hold on to much that isn’t useful. Or, if I do, it’s because I don’t collect a lot of stuff in general, so I can spare the space. Anyway, as to the calendar, I guard my time jealously, like I’m going to be able to cash it in at the end or something. I don’t understand why people overschedule themselves. I hate taking my daughter to things after work, but I do it occasionally. I make sure that doesn’t become my default, though, because it would be exhausting. But life is full of stuff that must be done and less full of stuff that brings joy. Or maybe I’m just misdefining joy – maybe I’m supposed to get joy from making socks clean or having the insurance adjuster evaluate the hail damage on my car. Mission accomplished and all that…

2 Nicoleandmaggie { 03.15.17 at 9:08 am }

I would say I’m a time minimalist but I would also say in the current political environment I’m spending a lot of time doing things I truly hate because they’re the right thing to do. I hate politics so much but maybe if I’d done more before and people like me had done more we wouldn’t be in this mess now. So…

3 Sharon { 03.15.17 at 12:43 pm }

I agree that KonMari is great in theory and terrible in practice. I felt so inspired when I read the book, but I quickly realized that I lacked adequate time to put most of her advice to action.

My calendar kinda “KonMari’d” itself when I had my twins 5 years ago. There’s no better excuse for not doing something — whether it’s volunteer or social obligations — than “I work full-time and have infant twins.”

In the early days, I wanted to spend all my non-working hours with my sons. As they’ve gotten older, I have worked toward more balance, trying to do at least one thing a week on my own, without them, besides work. . . but I still find I say no to anything I don’t truly enjoy.

4 nicoleandmaggie { 03.15.17 at 12:46 pm }

… did not mean to silence everybody…

5 Ana { 03.15.17 at 12:47 pm }

I’m not particularly over-scheduled. I guess some people are? Of course not everything brings me joy, but I have to go to the dentist on occasion. I actually read the KonMarie book and she said things should bring you joy or be useful (which may bring you joy in another way?). What are all these things people are filling their calendars with that aren’t fun or necessary?

6 Chris { 03.15.17 at 1:05 pm }

Other than work, which well, is a must, I don’t overschedule myself. If anything I under schedule myself because while going and doing things with friends brings me joy my husband is about the biggest introvert you’ll ever meet, and he works a really wonky schedule which means my going out interferes with his sleep so…I limit it. Personally, since I work from home I’d go out a lot more because there’s not enough joy in this political climate….

7 Working mom of 2 { 03.15.17 at 1:25 pm }

Well there are a number of things that must get done whether or not they bring joy. So unless you’re iv.anka trump you can’t really decide not to go grocery shopping etc.

And like nandm, I now feel the need to attend rallies etc. which pisses me off bc I’m already stretched thin.

8 Click { 03.15.17 at 4:13 pm }

I can’t KonMari my diary because I have so many things that just have to be done, regardless of whether or not they ‘spark joy’ in me.

The theory of KonMari is nice in principle, but I know I couldn’t possibly apply it the way you’re supposed to. It is cathartic to have a good clear out every so often but I’m just not designed to be a minimalist sort of person.

9 loribeth { 03.17.17 at 7:38 pm }

“I find KonMari great in theory and terrible in practice. ” You’ve summed up my feelings perfectly — thank you! 😉

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