Can pinning down joy help with productivity? You bet!

Inspiration from reading other authors.

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I got curious about this book on tidying because I'm a bit of a tidy freak and because Marie Kondo Spark Joy book is often linked with my books.

How cool! I love the idea of Joy and this concept is absolutely brilliant!

Imagine looking at everything you own, people in your life etc and asking yourself a simple question: Does this bring me joy?

Wow - here's what happened when I applied this concept to my work desk.

What I kept:

  • daily affirmations calendar
  • solar powered rubber plant
  • solar powered pink flamingo with black shade from Tiger
  • my scented markers
  • pack of PostIt notes
  • my paper journal
  • fresh large plant I rescued
  • vase of fresh flowers
  • scented candle
  • Tibetan scented sticks
  • a scroll of large white paper to write and draw on.

What went

  • large pile of books to review and read
  • even larger pile of newspaper clippings and work folders
  • magazines to read
  • books I thought I needed for 'quick' reference

It may not seem a big deal but trust me it truly was fantastic! For the last week I am super excited to find myself at my desk and my productivity is higher also. Of course I'm pretty lucky. One of the big things that always gave me joy working at my desk is being able to overlook a big green. But even this took time to find. Initially I used to work in the kitchen before I realised that my old kitchen table served much better as a desk in the living room overlooking the park. But considering what gave me joy and what didn't was vital for finding my workspace energising. You see those piles just made me feel overwhelmed and tired simply through their sheer height. At least an hour got wasted rearranging the piles instead of doing actual work. Now all that way gone.

I cleared the piles from my desk. Put the books onto a shelf nearby and made a designated space for books I am to read or review. As I now approach my desk in the morning, I am simply asking what would bring me joy to work on right now and the answer appears with clarity straight away. If it's correspondence I'm on it. If it's a project, I bring relevant information into my work space. When I'm done, I put it away with - you guessed it - joy!

So Marie has gotten me off to think about how to apply the Joy principle to my Grid framework.

In the Grid, I help people pay conscious attention and develop skills in four areas: work, life, career and self-care so they can stay holistically productive overtime instead of burning out. But now I'm thinking about joy and the difference this could make. In a way I already have been applying this principle with my 1:1 clients but not consciously. Every time we work on a career change, or examine specific relationship, of a work goal, we are checking in with the logic and the heart of it. So we are indirectly checking in the level of joy. But now I'm going to get bolder and probe for joy directly.

How might that look? Here's 4 questions to help you give it a go.

  1. What in your life gives you true joy?
  2. What joy can you find on your own?
  3. What connects with joy in your work?
  4. What brings you joy in your career or would?

It seems to me that staying with these questions and pinning down specific answers to them will go a long way towards helping us all face something I have been finding out in my work for a while: what we think makes us happy - often doesn't and what does we often neglect.

So I invite you to give this exercise a try and if you want to try the Grid framework why not check out the 30 day goal setting course on this platform. In there, you will get my weekly motivating videos and a daily exercise to help you create a more thriving life, more time where you refuel, more results and a better career.

Thank you for reading and please get in touch with questions or if you want to find out more about my work through

As for me, I'm applying Joy to my wardrobe.

Until next time, Magdalena

Magdalena Bak-Maier

Author, Guide, Magically Real Heart & Mind Connector, Make Time Count ltd

Magdalena Bak-Maier helps people connect and align their heart and mind in service of their ‘big agenda’. Her writing, teachings and models clearly show that the secret of success, wellbeing and joy resides in our nervous system and how we use it. Trained neuroscientists and coach to world’s elite performers, Magdalena teaches her tools and approach to all those interested in learning about it. So far this has included top NASA engineers, NHS doctors, emerging global leaders, coaches and wellbeing experts across the world. She has been also sharing her work with Psychologies readers through NowLive events and for those living in London you can catch her at the School of Life. Magdalena’s first book, Get Productive! (Capstone, 2012) includes 36 thought-provoking exercises and practical advice to empower readers to become masters of their own time, and achieve exceptional results continuously. Get Productive! received very positive reviews from customers and press alike, and quickly became a bestseller in the personal development arena. The Get Productive Grid (2015) her second book, is a no nonsense practical tool called the Grid for achieving life, work and career goals whilst making time for critical self-care. Having studied burnout at work (The Times, 2013) and working with people who struggle to realise their aspirations, the Grid conditions focus, effective habits of goal setting and progressive realisation steps towards results. If you want to achieve results whilst feeling you absolutely love who you are let Magdalena be your productivity guide.