Those of you that know me, know that I’m mildly obsessed with Marie Kondo and her method of organizing stuff. After reading her book a couple of years ago, I organized my closet and I can tell you, I thought I was organized before. But after using her methods, I can definitely breathe easier. You see, I used to walk in to my closet on autopilot as a process of simply grabbing stuff to wear. But now, my closet is a thing of joy. It’s weird. I know. Yes, I actually get a spark of joy when I go to grab something from there.

Her method around organization comes down to one simple question…

Does it Spark Joy?

It occurred to me that the same principles of making space in your closet apply to making space in your schedule and in turn, your life.

So here are the 5 steps to “Marie Kondo’ing” your schedule so that can get out of the overwhelm and create more sanity for yourself:

1. Get committed to tidying up

Your schedule, that is. You have to take responsibility over your time and own it. There are certain life choices you’ve made that have led you to this moment. For example, yeah, I’m busy with kids, but I chose to be a parent. I may get crazy busy with work, but this is the job I applied for and accepted. So let your ego go and make the decision that your schedule is no longer going to own you. You’re going to own it. The more you own it, the more you can empower yourself to change. And it all starts with getting committed to making that change.

2. Give yourself permission to imagine your ideal lifestyle

Because, seriously, no one else is going to give you permission. Ask yourself – Is my life truly joyful right now? What’s truly important to me? What are my priorities in life? Or am I just in autopilot or doing stuff because I think I should or because this is the way my family, my culture, my industry peers have always done it? Then, once you’ve imagined your ideal life…

3. Declutter by category

List out on paper all your work obligations, home/family responsibilities, volunteer tasks, entertainment/relaxation/self-care time and other things that take up your time. Ask yourself, “which ones are essential and truly spark joy?” For example, in your relaxation time, you might binge watch Netflix or scroll through Instagram. If that block of time truly serves to relax and fulfill you and it’s meaningful to you, go for it. But if you’re like, “I actually feel nothing afterwards”, think about that. Consider doing something else or pick something else to watch. The key is to become conscious of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and to remove yourself from autopilot.

When you have your lists, cross out anything that no longer serves a real purpose in your life. If it’s not essential or adding to your life in some way, if it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. And yes, there are certain things that don’t necessarily spark joy, like “sitting in carpool” but consider that it’s likely joy to have the ability to provide for your kids and drive them to school safely (and if that doesn’t resonate, I’ll create a whole other mindset video for you around that 😂).

What I’m really getting at here is – stop doing stupid stuff! Discard what isn’t working. In this process…

Stop people pleasing. Just like when you’re decluttering your home, you eventually find a way to part with that ugly trinket your great-aunt gave you, so too, stop holding on to things or doing things just to please others. If you keep trying to live up to other people’s expectations of you, you’ll find yourself overcommitted and without time to serve those you really want to serve. You know what the #1 regret of the dying is? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

4. Add back in to your schedule only what is essential and sparks joy

Because spaciousness feels so good!

5. Fall in love with the time you have

If you love a certain piece of clothing, you treat it with respect. If you love someone deeply, you respect them. In the same way, respect your schedule. Pay attention to your calendar. Just like you can end up with a closet of clothes and nothing to wear, so too, if you’re not paying attention, your schedule can become filled with things that are no longer essential or meaningful to you. If you don’t pay attention to it, it will find a way of getting your attention.

To get started on these five steps, I encourage you to start with a simple commitment. Right now, in this moment, pen a day in to your calendar dedicated to creating what you want to create in your life and to following the above steps. Once you’re done, I’d love to hear how it went!

For a free tutorial on how to optimize your calendar so you get more of the right stuff done, check out my post here.