Feng shui is the art and science of creating energy within a given space. Cultivated from ancient Chinese tradition of living in harmony and prosperity, it has been practiced for generations and can be applied to a variety of fields today. A concept called bagwah emphasizes that there is a “place” for everything, whether material or spiritual. In today’s world, this practice can be applied to your own office!
Office organization is critical in today’s fast-paced work environments. With limited space, the luxuries of a spacious and open office can be yours with a few simple techniques. Traditional feng shui principles use color, placement, and symmetry to open up cluttered areas, and can actually help clear your mind! The energy can flow from area to area, creating an environment conducive to productivity. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with your to-do lists and piles, reading materials, office memos, incoming mail, and files? Apply these techniques to your space, and you will begin to master the system of organization and help increase your productivity.
1. File all day-to-day memos, letters, and correspondence in colored files on your desk. One rule to remember is to only touch each piece of paper once; if you can’t address it right away, put it in your file for later. By creating this system of “flow” you will eliminate frustrating time and effort to locate, retrieve, and handle the same item repeatedly. It’s also more likely to create a priority mindset.
2. Add a plant to your workspace. Live plants encourage energy flow as they absorb toxic air, and release a fresh scent. Select one with flowers for a nice view when feeling down.
3. Add a mirror. Mirrors create a perception of space, and also increase your capacity for self-awareness. Even when you do not look directly in the mirror, you will “feel” your movements and can even sense a need to move around when listless!
4. Pin up positive pictures. Encourage a positive and creative frame of mind with pleasant pictures and colorful imagery. This can be anything from an encouraging photograph of loved ones, a memento from a cherishable moment, or even written inspirational quotes.
5. Create a miscellaneous space. A miscellaneous space will encourage extra items that you can refer to as low-priority. However, refrain from letting this space become a free-for-all during your priority process; instead, consider it a cushion for anything you think can be handled within the next 48-72 hours, and address those items as needed.
6. Sit up straight! Great posture helps encourage your own body’s natural flow within your given environment. Learn to breathe deeply, even when sitting in front of a computer or cramped office desk. Your perception of space will increase dramatically as you feel the energy of breathing throughout your day.
7. Clean your Inbox. It’s a hard habit to get into, but it is as vital to your productivity as is paper filing. If you prefer not to delete e-mails, create files/folders to easily reference and retrieve them. Use the same color codes from your desk files, if possible. Creating flow in e-mail is a difficult task with the pace of today’s business environment, but it is possible with the right mindset. Don’t turn overflow into overwhelm!
8. Comfort is key. Make sure your desk is not too high for your arm length, or too low that you are not able to type or complete work. Invest in an upright document holder if needed, to discourage unnecessary hunching. Remember, posture is important so reorganize your workspace to fit your best, most relaxed “pose.” Your desk chair should be adjusted accordingly too.
9. Avoid keeping broken or extra folders around. This is sometimes difficult, as you might keep empty or extra items around “just in case.” By not having the need to to do this, you avoid the habit of extra clutter. Remember, everything does, and should, have a specific purpose or it does not belong in your workspace!
Following these nine principles may help create a flow of energy in your workspace, and thereby increase your productivity. When you can work comfortably, creativity and output become a natural effect! Try it, and think of other ways to increase “space” in your office.