The notion that clutter can distract us from our work and generally cause us to lose focus is not new. There are countless articles and books about how to de-clutter our surroundings to create a more productive work space. This is all very helpful. However, there are other elements to our environment that go beyond piles of clutter.
Feng Shui is a complicated system of spatial orientation used to create a favorable flow of energy. People who understand and arrange their homes and offices using these principles claim improvement in their overall well-being and productivity.
Now, I don't claim to be a Feng Shui expert. As mentioned, this is a complicated system, if one chooses to follow the ancient principles of Feng Shui to the letter. What I do know, I have learned from reading and research. However, there are elements that we can take from Feng Shui to easily and simply improve our surroundings. Will these elements increase wealth and improve health? Maybe, maybe not. But, one thing is sure; implementing these four elements into your home and home office will make your working environment more pleasant!
Let's take a look at these four elements of Feng Shui and see how we can use them in our home office.
You may think of this element more easily as 'air.' As an essential element for life, we definitely want to incorporate air into our home office as much as possible.
Big windows open to a balmy breeze would be ideal, right? An open window is certainly a wonderful way to bring in the element of fresh air. However, many of us don't have home offices in the most ideal location for this method.
Fresh air can be produced in other ways. An open door and/or a fan can be used to move air around in your office. If you have a small office that tends to get stuffy, consider installing an ionic air purifier. There are also small portable air conditioner units available to handle a larger office space.
Even the sound of wind can improve your mood and lower stress. There are many sound machines, either physical or computer programs, that produce soothing wind sounds. Make sure your office has fresh air to breathe and the sound of wind through the trees, real or recorded, and feel this Feng Shui element do its magic.
Again, the trickle of a stream or the gentle ocean surf outside our office window would be ideal, but many of us are limited by our location to have these water sources available. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to duplicate this Feng Shui element.
There are many simple tabletop water features you can install in your office to create the sound and sight of water. Choose a bubbling fountain or tiny waterfall to add the water element to even the smallest office. Just make sure it is placed well away from your work surface and computer or other hardware.
Another option is to re-create the sound of water using a sound machine or computer program. Most will give several options from which to choose; a waterfall, surf, babbling brook, rain, etc. You can even combine several elements with most programs, allowing you to choose, for instance, wind and water together.
The sight and sound of water is only a part of this element, however. You should also include a water source in your office from which to drink. A pretty pitcher filled with fresh water is essential. Put the pitcher on a tray with sparkling clean glasses and you have a water element that would please the most ardent Feng Shui practitioner.
If you are lucky enough to have a window in your office, take full advantage of all the light you can get from it. Pull back the drapes, pull up the blinds, and let the light pour in.
Of course, you will need to position your desk and computer so the light doesn't fall on the monitor. Facing the window or having your back to the window are not good solutions, since both cause glare on the monitor. Place your desk and computer monitor perpendicular to the window, keeping the light from the window on your left or right side. That way you can enjoy the light and the view while keeping your monitor out of the glare.
Unfortunately, home offices are often tucked away in a forgotten corner of the house, spare room, basement, or even a closet. When it comes to light in these situations, the choices may be limited.
If you have even one small window, make sure you utilize every bit of light coming from it by keeping the window clear of drapes and blinds. If you must hang something, choose a sheer panel. Even diffused light is better than none. Use mirrors throughout the space to reflect the light that comes in through the window, creating faux-windows on the other window-less walls.
If you must use lamps for your only light source, be sure you light up all corners of your office. One lamp on the desk may be adequate, but those dark corners are not helping create a proper environment. You may also want to check into installing full-spectrum light bulbs which produce a light similar to natural sunlight. Again, installing mirrors to reflect any light you have will help lighten up your space, and your mood.
This is an element that is open to interpretation. What is beautiful to you is not necessarily beautiful to others. You will need to decide how to introduce this element to your home office.
Many of the de-cluttering articles we read suggest the elimination of family pictures and other personal items from the home office. However, as an element of beauty, those personal items may be just the ticket. No, you don't want to have so much of this stuff that it becomes clutter, but a few family pictures and your child's artwork may be the beauty that is needed in your office.
Other people find beauty in fresh flowers and potted plants. Still others see classic sculpture, paintings, or photography as the element of beauty they seek. Perhaps the beauty of music is what your home office needs.
You will know what your particular element of beauty is when you feel it. Try placing a vase of flowers in your office, then place a picture of your family or friends over your desk, then hang a favorite painting, then play some music. The right combination will come to you in time. Add and subtract; subtract and add; until you feel the beauty.
Most of us have heard about Feng Shui and been intrigued by the principles. But, for many of us, studying and understanding the intricate details of this system is way beyond our needs. Using just these four elements is the simplest way to incorporate the Feng Shui method of spatial arrangement into our surroundings to help de-stress our home office environment - and ourselves!