The Life-Changing Magic of Applying the Kon-Mari Method to Your Research Environment

Anita Cloutier - RA student and CARA member

  

As Research Administrators, we are often needed to perform clerical tasks for our professors, managers, and PIs. Applying principles of Marie Kondo's breakthrough book (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-life-changing-magic-of/9781607747307-item.html) can help improve the efficiency of your project space or laboratory, as well as keep project costs down.

One of the principles of the Method is that of gathering similar items together in order to take full stock of one's possessions. Applied to research administration, this could mean collecting all project assets in one location, such as a drawer, shelf, or supply cupboard, which not only tidies up your work area, but gives an accurate inventory and ease of location. Supplies scattered about the office results in needless, extraneous purchase orders.

Reducing paper items may sound antithetical in a business obsessed with records, data, and publications committed to wood pulp, but there are opportunities for streamlining print materials. An expectation for institutions entails that archiving and data storage policies are to be followed at different phases of a project. Perhaps it is time for a "Spring cleaning"?

Additionally, printed forms and recruitment materials may be ready to be shredded (if containing sensitive information) or pulped via a recycling bin (if benign content) especially if research activities render the pre-printed content out-dated or no longer required.

If the evolution of your project has moved data collection to another phase, perhaps artefacts of its original discoveries are no longer needed. Aside from mandated storage compliance, perhaps scans or photographs of essential content could be saved to a secure digital location. This will clear up your file cabinets for the next phase's primary data, without losing access to archival material.

I'm certain that research administrators can benefit from reading this book—meant to apply minimalism to one's home—and see if its "magic" can't improve your research environment!