Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) is the ancient Chinese practice of arranging physical objects to attract positive energy. It’s based on the idea that everything in a person’s surrounding environment affects his or her inner life. Feng Shui practitioners believe that the placement of objects in a room, building, or other space will affect the flow of chi (life force or essential energy) within the space. If there’s good chi flowing, whoever’s in the space will get a boost of positive energy.
According to Feng Shui expert RD Chin, people often turn to the practice if “they don’t feel right or comfortable in their space.” Perhaps nowhere is this more relevant than in the workspace — painful chairs, bad lighting, and a boss breathing down our necks hardly promote feelings of comfort. That’s where Feng Shui comes in. If you’re looking to feel a little more “at home” even while at work, or just want to send some good vibes your way on the job (promotion, anyone?), read on to find out how to use Feng Shui on your desk!
Is Chi for Me?
While there are few to no scientific findings that look at the effectiveness of Feng Shui directly (just, you know, thousands of years of Chinese tradition), some new research backs up the practice’s basic principles. One study suggests that getting more organized can improve time management, which helps boost productivity at work . Recent psychology research also found that adding natural elements — such as sunlight, green plants, and physical movement — to the workplace can boost employee health, happiness, and productivity. How’s that for some positive energy?
So how is Feng Shui different from just getting organized or decorating better? We went to Feng Shui expert Laura Cerrano of Feng Shui Manhattan to find out. Her reply? “It goes beyond just decorating because Feng Shui has a psychological component to the principles. Your surroundings have a deep and profound impact on your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.” Since the daily nine-to-five makes up a big part of the day, improving the chi in the workspace will help you out at work and in the rest of your life.
One of the basic tools for a Feng Shui practitioner is the Bagua Map. It’s a nine-part grid depicting the different areas of a space (home, desk, office, what have you) and how they correspond to different areas of life. Think of it as a general blueprint for any Feng Shui endeavor. To let the positive energy flow, follow the basic guidelines below.
Orient Your Desk
If possible, place your desk directly opposite the front door of your office. If you don’t have a private office, then try to orient your desk to face the main door. Cerrano calls this a “commanding position.” If your boss isn’t willing to accept furniture rearrangement in the name of chi, Cerrano says that arranging a small mirror on your desk to reflect the office’s entrance is the next best thing. “According to the principles of Feng Shui, this arrangement offers protection and symbolizes you seeing opportunities as they come to you during your career,” Cerrano says. In other words, you have to be able to see opportunities in order to seize them.
Make Room for Creativity
Once you have a full view of any incoming opportunities, it’s time to tackle the desks surface. Chances are, there’s a bit of clutter, which Cerrano defines as “anything unfinished, unresolved, tolerated, or disorganised.” Clear the clutter and organise things in a way that suits your work style and personal preferences. Cerrano suggests organizing by date or category, using colored binders if that appeals to you. Getting organised can boost productivity, while clearing clutter can provide a space that allows creativity to flow.
Desk for Success!
Now comes the fun part: arranging your desk to promote the flow of positive energy.