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Stories from Inspire

A Day in the Life of Doctor-turned-KonMari Consultant Dr. Aparna

by Voices Wellness 30 Aug 2021
Photo: Aparna

We chat with Aparna to understand how the simple act of tidying can help us declutter and uncover our true intention in life. By SAMANTHA FRANCIS.

As a young girl, Aparna’s love for organising sparked her lifelong desire to help others simplify and find intention in their most cherished spaces. The former medical doctor shares how she found her purpose as a KonMari Consultant, as well as tips for decluttering and living minimally. 

What’s in a day’s work for you?

As a planner, I like knowing my schedule before a new week starts. My work schedule is flexible, and I plan it around my children’s school hours. Mornings are spent on client sessions or completing admin tasks, while the afternoons are for my kids. They are in bed by 8 pm so I work until 10 pm before calling it a night.

What inspired you to make the transition from doctor to KonMari Consultant and Montessori Parenting Coach?

After working in the corporate healthcare industry for eight years as a medical doctor and becoming a parent during that time, I did some soul-searching to realise that I loved working with parents and teaching them to use positive parenting techniques. Thanks to my lifelong love for organising and newfound passion for parenting with Montessori positive discipline principles, I knew I had found my calling in life.

What is the most fulfilling part about your job and what’s the most challenging?

I love that I have found my ikigai as a KonMari consultant, ever since simplifying and parenting with positivity became my life purpose. It doesn’t feel like work as I wake up feeling blessed to do what I do. One of the most challenging things I’ve had to face as an entrepreneur is navigating social media. It can get quite overwhelming at times and I’m slowly learning how to draw healthy boundaries and be intentional with how I use each platform.

With WFH (work from home) being the default for most of us, how can we make our homes a more inspiring place to live and work in? 

Decluttering not only removes visual clutter but also clears the mind to stay focused on the task at hand. When we work in a clutter-filled environment, we stress ourselves out as it reminds us of unfinished tasks and brings down our morale. Tidying using the KonMari method helps us reach lifestyle goals that align with our values and priorities.

How can we attain a work-life balance when working from home? How can we set better boundaries?

I personally prefer using the term work-life harmony as balance seems unattainable and stressful to achieve. Putting self-care at the forefront of your work-life integration is important. However passionate we are about our jobs; we need to establish boundaries based on how we feel. It’s okay to say no when something is out of our comfort zone. People will learn to accept us when we are authentic with our expectations.

Photo: Aparna

How do you stay productive while working from home? Especially with two kids.

I prioritise three time-sensitive or urgent things that I need to complete for the day and if I can get anything more done, that would be a bonus. I don’t hold myself back if there are incomplete daily tasks because I look at the big picture tasks for the week instead.

You’re passionate about minimalism and a low-waste lifestyle. What sparked that change in your lifestyle and this love for living sustainably?

My children and I were doing a project together in 2018 and we stumbled upon an article in National Geographic magazine about plastic pollution. This prompted us to read more about the subject and we then decided we could start making low waste switches at home to reduce our family’s waste production. From using reusables, purchasing less, eating more vegan foods, to raising awareness on the low waste movement on my social media, we are working towards being kinder to the Earth.

How can we live more minimally? What are the benefits of doing so?

Minimalism to me is being intentional and enjoying abundance rather than scarcity. When you surround yourself with intention—be it belongings, people, or how you spend your time, you make room for what matters the most to you, helping you live a purposeful life.

Could you share some beginner tips for decluttering one’s space? Especially for those new to the whole idea.

The KonMari tidying method encourages you to envision what you want your ideal space to look like. This includes intangible aspects such as how you want to feel in your parenting, hence serving as a motivational tool to helps you progress in your tidying efforts.

We then move on to tidying our homes using five categories in this order: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental items. Categorical tidying helps us keep a bird eye view of how much we own and to be intentional with what to keep.

Once we tidy, then we organise what we love and discard everything else with gratitude. This last step is vital to understanding who we are and aligning our present and future belongings to our values.

What are three things that spark joy for you at home? And why?

My husband, children, and parents. They are my anchors as they inspire me to be a better person every day and are the reason why I do what I do.

What does wellness mean to you and why?

Wellness to me is a state of working towards being the best version of myself so I can show kindness to myself and others authentically. It is a way to “fill my cup” before I can give wholeheartedly to others.

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