Your workspace is an incredibly personal. You may not think much of it, but you’ll seethe for hours if someone has taken your stapler or disturbed your organised mess.
It’s a feeling we all share.
You can be forgiven for not caring for it as you should; but taking the time to look after and care for your workspace can do wonders for your productivity, or can be a drain on it and this is where the fine art of the ancient practice of Feng Shui applies, pronounced "fung shway" is the practice of arranging physical objects in a way to attract positive (and in this case, productive) energy.
Everything in your environment can affect your life; positively or negatively.
Considering we spend 40-50 hours a week working (or if you are freelance or self employed…. far longer than that!) we should spend a little bit of time on how your workspace performs.
Many associate the practice with the positioning of their bed, mirrors or plants; but it applies to the little things in your workspace too!
So if you feel like your workload may be an issue or you want to take control of your productivity, why wouldn’t you want to introduce the practice to your home or work office? "Your surroundings have a deep and profound impact on your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.” says Laura Cerrano, Feng Shui expert from Feng Shui, Manhattan and at the very least, it will give you the opportunity to “Kondo“ your workspace (you’ve definitely seen it… and maybe not tried it) to make it easier for you to get to work.
So How Do You Get Started?
A basic tool for any practitioner of Feng Shui is a Bagua Map. It is a grid, split into nine parts, which identify different areas of your desk and office and how each area relates to different areas of your life. This helps to highlight where and how energy flows through your space and how you want to utilise it.
You can harness productivity by taking control of your desktop. Clear your space. Get rid of the clutter, the additional and unnecessary paperwork; anything that does not need to be there. Things that are incomplete or have an undefined deadline, file them away to tackle later on. Try your best to only have one task on your desk at at time. Multiple projects, mean multiple drains on your attention. You’ll be thinking about the sheer amount of work that you' won’t complete any of it. By focusing on the task at hand, this will not only boost your productivity (because having to move files around your desk to work is no fun) but allows you to get creative and, in turn boost your productive energy.
Once your desk is clear have a look at your Bagua Map; identify two or three areas you want to improve and start arranging to fit.
Where is best for Productive Working?
Wealth and Abundance: An obvious choice if you are working from home or freelancing, this area is found in the back-left corner of your desk. When you want to utilise this energy, place a plant in the area to attract the abundance you seek. A Lucky Bamboo or Peace Lily would be perfect for this location. Practically, if you are sat at a traditional desk, the plant will always be in your line of sight and seeing plants while you are working can induce a meditative state, reducing stress and increasing productivity.
Health: With over 595,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety (new or long-standing) in 2017/18 alone, according to the Labour Force Survey. We all know we spend far too long at a desk working and getting stressed about it. With an increase of modern, service based industries means we increasingly lead a sedentary lifestyle, which is a huge detractor of your productivity. Make sure you take regular breaks, utilise The Pomodoro Technique to track how long you have been working, this will increase your productive potential and will help improve your health. Feng Shui advises that the centre of your desk be kept clear at ALL times to help ensure you allow positive vibrations to flow cleanly through the health area of a Bagua Map. It you are employing the Pomodoro or a similar technique, make sure these items are placed in the bottom left of your desk, so they are easy to see regularly and do not divert your attention when you are working.
Creativity: This is the area "to quote my new favourite person, Marie Kondo) is where you place things that spark the utmost joy and inspiration. This is an excellent place for your Bullet Journal, a sketchbook, a vision board, anything you need to boost your creativity.
Community: This area is important. Your productivity, your happiness and increased health benefits are mainly dependant on the community you surround yourself with at home or at work. If you dislike the majority (or even a few) of your co-workers; you can guarantee it will surface in all areas of your work. So, yeah, building a community is really important. The bottom right section of your desk is where you need to focus, to improve those all important work relationships. This is where your work landline should live (mobiles should be kept in draws for MAXIMUM productive bliss!), photos of loved ones and if you have a list of people you need to contact or network with, put that information there.
So, if you feel like your workload is becoming a bit too much or if you feel like you need some quick tips to kick-start your productivity up a gear, Feng Shui could be the tool for you. It is a powerful way to make a positive change; after all it has been in practice for over 4,000 years.
On a practical note, many of the locations on the Bagua Map, serve a logical purpose. All things you need to be actively productive are in arms’ reach or are within your eyeline. Taking the step to control the workspace you spend a lot of time in, can help you to bring about desired changes; by changing the way you move through your workspace.
These are just a few ideas and a few areas that Feng Shui can help you harness your productive potential.
By following these ancient guidelines, you too can take control of your productive potential, by getting your workspace, to work for you. Because we all need a little help sometimes.