Reclaim your method by reducing the madness. We’re all susceptible to clutter. Even the most meticulous of us. Things pile up ‒ in our home, in our mind, and especially in our workspace. It happens so gradually that we often don’t realise how inundated we are until we’re drowning in paper stacks and faulty stationery.
Whether or not you subscribe to the idea of energy flow as it appears in Chinese tradition, there’s no doubting the need to organise the space around us in a way that helps us feel comfortable and at peace.
We’re at our most productive when we feel purposeful and our mind is clear. If you’re looking for ways to get more out of your work day, read on below.
How is Feng Shui different from interior decorating?
Feng Shui focuses on the flow of Qi and balancing Yin and Yang. It all starts with a framework called the Bagua Map, which aims to optimise any space for success and fulfilment. It’s a 3 x 3 grid that reads (from top-left):
- Abundance & prosperity
- Fame & reputation
- Love & relationships
- Family & community
- Mind, body & spirit
- Creativity & children
- Wisdom & self-awareness
- Career & life purpose
- Helpful people & travel
Are you sufficiently confused? Great.
Just tell me how to sort out my desk, please
Alright, alright. Let’s focus on a few easy principles. Here are the basics.
- Reduce clutter
Starting off with common sense. Most of us already do a big cleanout once or twice a year, only to revert to type within weeks. Eliminating clutter, either by filing or throwing out all non-essentials, will go a long way to reducing anxiety.
Do a sweep every fortnight or so to clear out the mess. This will save you the big cleanup later on. This extends to your computer desktop as well. A screen swarming with icons does not a peaceful mindset make.
Similarly, if your feet battle with a nest of wires on a daily basis, try a cable organiser to free up space.
- Face the front
That feeling of people shuffling around behind you is enough to make anyone anxious. Muffled footsteps through your headphones without being able to see who’s approaching ‒ nope, no thanks.
Feng shui principles dictate that you should sit with your back to a wall or corner of the room so you have clear visibility towards the entrance. A flexible coworking configuration should give you the freedom to change your setup on request. If you can’t arrange to face the entrance, find a way to create depth in front of you. Staring at a screen in front of a blank wall can feel like a physical full-stop for your imagination. Keep your surroundings dynamic.
Maybe the kids in the back row at school didn’t want to cause mischief, they just wanted to be productive.
- Decorate with plants
Studies suggest that office plants have a number of benefits. Obviously without contradicting the ‘no clutter’ rule, try bringing in some greenery to lift your spirits. A fern or some notoriously indestructible succulents could make all the difference.
The more you can surround yourself with natural elements, the better for your mental and physical wellbeing. A few inspiring art pieces are also great for productivity. Again, in keeping with the no clutter rule, less is very much more.
- Use a journal
It’s important to only use one journal at a time. There’s a simple joy in scrawling handwritten notes on paper. But instead of having several half-used notepads floating around, find a journal you like the look and feel of, then cherish it.
The muscle memory of jotting down lists by hand ‒ not to mention the satisfaction of ticking them off ‒ is something of a lost art. Do yourself a favour. Get back to tangible basics.
If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your work day, speak to your boss or coworking space manager to discuss possible solutions. You can also learn more about feng shui principles here.