Envision your office -- most people see a cluttered, cramped and claustrophobic space. But as soon as you reorganize and rearrange a few vital elements, like the computer and telephone, your chaotic space will begin to evoke the response of productivity. Such a reformation is important in a generation of over-achieving entrepreneurs who see the office as home and the home as a vacation space.
Darrin Zeer, author of Office Feng Shui (Chronicle Books, 2004), says applying the principles of feng shui in the office will create an organized space for an organized mind.
“A clean, organized office space with everything in order allows energy to flow and frees you up to calmly mastermind your projects,” Darrin says.
Darrin explains the Chinese believe energy, or ‘chi,' surges throughout all spaces and by applying the art of feng shui they can capture it, thus increasing their productivity. Natural energy is always flowing around us but it's often caught in a gridlock of disorganization and cannot be utilized. The principles of feng shui open a space up and allow this chi, like airways and light, to move through the environment, re-vitalizing it.
This 5000-year-old “art of placement” is extensively used within business environments, even moguls such as Donald Trump incorporate it into their work philosophy.
But your credit card doesn't require a Trump signature to ‘feng shui' your office. The mystical art is simple and inexpensive to put into practice.
Ideally, you should start by releasing most of the clutter from your environment. According to Darrin this will bring clarity and allow natural energy to enter and circulate through your space.
“Clutter creates stagnation, reduces your effectiveness, and leaves you feeling lethargic and confused,” Darrin says. “Instead of tackling the mess all at once, you may find it helpful and therapeutic to take little organization breaks at various points throughout your day."
Clearing the clutter, Darrin says, represents order and whenever we bring order into our lives we allow more space for opportunity. This cleansing also clears up space for additions and changes that you may wish to make to your office space. He suggests adding symbolic items like a Buddha or religious icon for inspiration. Other feng shui accessories you can try are moving objects like water or chimes, as they create natural energies that can be utilized. For example, wind chimes and water create calming noises that facilitate a meditative state of concentration and this will help you focus on your work.
A cloth in red (the Chinese colour of prosperity) placed under the phone will help activate communication energy and get, Darrin says, the phone ringing with positive opportunities. It also adds a splash of colour to brighten your space and evoke an emotional response.
Take control of your associate's emotional reaction by placing an index card with words of inspiration on your phone as a reminder to be friendly and attentive during your conversations. Or, Darrin suggests setting a small welcome mat at your cubicle or office entrance. This will encourage people to pause and announce themselves thus limiting unannounced disturbances and increasing your focus.
It's also important to recognize the problems that are specific to your personal workspace. Rodika Tchi, founder of Tchi Consulting in Vancouver, B.C., suggests that you start by asking yourself questions like: Are you happy in your office? What area of your desk is most disorganized? Why? Is your space sterile and stuffy? What is your relationship with each and every object in your office?
Once you recognize the problem areas you can begin to re-organize your workspace. By making some basic feng shui adjustments to your office, Rodika says you can derive emotional satisfaction and professional growth from your career. Here are a few of her feng shui tips:
1. Always sit with a solid wall behind your back as this gives you support in your life. Never sit with a window behind you and sit in the direction that you find most comfortable. Quite often this is facing a window.
2. Never have the main door opening into your desk as the chi coming into your office needs to be diffused. Reorganize your office and experiment with moving your furniture.
3. Attract vibrant chi into your office with fresh flowers, and energizing aromas, such as peace lily, areca, lady or bamboo palms, rubber plant, English ivy or Boston ferns.
4. Have lots of bright colours around you – this will stimulate creativity. Try hanging artwork for a splash of colour. A picture with a distant scene of nature will evoke the feeling of space. When you feel encaged, look at the picture and let go of your surroundings.
But most importantly, Rodika suggests you be creative with your space. “Personalize it," she says. "Express who you are and let this expression support you.”