How to Feng Shui Your At-Home Workspace
“Your desk represents your career; your path in life,” and other office insight from an expert.
In the midst of these strange and stressful times, the once-annual need to do a spring clean remains a constant (despite the fact that it is, by definition, a chore). Or rather, a laundry list of them: excavate the junk drawer, vacuum under the couch, wipe the counter tops, clean out the closet. For some of us, the clean home that emerges from the clutter is true bliss. But what if spring cleaning could improve the balance and productivity of your apartment (or in this article’s case, your office), instead of just tidying a space? This is the magic of feng shui — in bringing more harmony to your workspace, it also subsequently improves your productivity, not to mention the overall quality of your work.
According to expert Anjie Cho, feng shui “looks at how to improve the flow of energy around you so that you can create the most harmony with your environment and your space.” Importantly, she says that “in terms of your workspace, this affects how well you can concentrate, how well you can do your work, and how you can position yourself so that you can have advantages.”
In other words, feng shui has the potential to do wonders for your work. And if you want to get real specific, Cho says, focus on your desk, which represents your career.
“It’s a symbol for your purpose and the way that you walk through life. So, the most important thing is to have a desk; a permanent desk space that represents your career and creates stability. Otherwise that lack of permanence will create instability.”
With that in mind, we tapped Cho for some spring cleaning-inspired feng shui wisdom to improve your desk — whether it’s in your living room, bedroom, or whatever at-home nook you’ve deemed the productivity zone — taking into consideration the fact that sometimes, you can’t change every detail of your work environment. Below, our most pressing questions, answered.
What type of desk should I buy?
In feng shui, the best type of desk is one that’s made out of heavy wood, because it’s the most stable. The color brown represents the Earth element and stability. You don’t want a glass desk because a glass top translates to things falling through. It’s too fragile.
Where should I sit?
There’s something called the commanding position in feng shui, and that’s a principle that governs how you locate yourself in space — or, in this case, how you locate yourself when you’re working. It’s really important for you to be in command because that means you’re in control of your space. Always sit somewhere where you can see the door — but not directly in line with it — so that you’re aware of who’s coming in, but you’re not the buffer for all of the energy entering the room. It also has an invisible or energetic aspect: when you’re in this commanding position, you’re also in a position to see all of the opportunities that are available to you. You have your eyes open to them, and you’re looking forward. Otherwise, you’re always wondering who might be behind you or looking over your shoulder. It’s uncomfortable.
What if I don’t have a window or open space?
If you have to face a wall or can’t see the door, set up some kind of mirror (like one that you can tape to your monitor or put behind your monitor) so that when you’re sitting at your desk working, you can see behind you. That puts you back in control. It calms down your nervous system. Another good tool is a vision board, which helps to expand your vision.
How should I organize my surface?
You want to set up your desk so that it is functional. People get obsessed with clutter, but there’s also the other end — if you have nothing on your desk, that means you have nothing to do and no work. So it’s good to not be obsessed with having an empty desk and being clutter-free, because that represents no life and no activity. You want to keep things moving. You don’t want anything to be stuck on your desk, collecting dust, because that represents aspects of your work and career being stagnant.
What about plants?
In a feng shui bagua map, the most important parts for work are the top three sections: the top left represents your wealth, the top middle represents your fame — how you’re seen and recognized — and the top right represents your relationships or partnerships. You can activate all of these with plants — they represent more growth, more life energy.
Do daily rituals matter?
Yes! It’s good to do a space clearing of your desk, either in the morning or at the end of your work day. This is especially true if you [share your working space], because it might have residual energy from the person before you. But it’s also just a good way to dedicate your day and start fresh. I always clear out my desk when I sit down in the morning, make sure things are in order, put things away, and make a list of what I’m going to do. Whatever it is you do to start your day and ritualize it, and make it yours. Your work will improve when you can establish a clean, energetic space.
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