In modern society, we are constantly being bombarded by distractions. Things take over our consciousness repeatedly. Ads from the internet, notifications on our phone, calls, text messages, you name it.
But, at the end of the day how have these things improved our life? For most of us, we’ve just grown used to it. It’s the new normal. While work communication is important, the other things may not be.
For that reason alone we’ve seen a rise of “productivity consultants” and other experts harping variations of their own systems. But, everything we need has been around for thousands of years.
Here’s our guide to Feng Shui and freeing our mind from the barrage of minutia in our modern world.
What is Feng Shui?
An ancient Chinese system and philosophy that examines how we arrange our life in relation to Qi. The energy around us and how we interact with the world. There are good ways to arrange your life and there are bad ways.
It includes looking at the big picture.
- How is the environment(outside, nature, lighting) meshing with your space?
- Have you considered the layout for all who will use it?
- If it’s a home office, have you made the colors and elements benefit your mind or are they detracting?
What are the Principles of Feng Shui?
Feng – is the Chinese word for wind.
Shui – is the Chinese word for water.
Qi(pronounced Chi) ties all your elements together.
Think of it as a river of energy flowing through your space. Your job when crafting an ideal working environment is to make sure the water flows perfectly. That you haven’t put obstacles in its way.
Remember, you can’t stop the flow of energy. It always breaks through over time, but if you’ve directed its course smoothly then you get a calm stream. Instead of an unguided waterfall.
Colors of Feng Shui - Energy Matters!
When you look across the web, you’ll see charts of all types assigning what “experts” feel colors mean. If we look at this from a scientific perspective it is probably more reasonable to say that red means something different to you than me based on our experiences.
Colors have three main components: evolution, our personal tastes, and culture. There is a widely cited scientific paper that looks at it a bit deeper. It turns out we do on a whole feel something related to the colors we see. If you want some Feng Shui approved office colors, you’ll probably want to choose from the pleasant palette.
The most pleasant colors of people surveyed:
The least pleasant colors of people surveyed:
It’s very interesting in a way, that while the study gives us proof of how these colors feel, we almost didn’t need that study. There is a reason that the mustard yellow crayon is always the last one left, it doesn’t feel good to us.
Apply this in your work-space. Do you have a room filled with clashing colors? You can take a look around now and get a grasp on the “flow” of your environment. If it’s broken up with colors that aren’t pleasant to you, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate if they are a bit of a distraction.
Makeovers are fun after all. I’ve found the combination of blue, light-green, and earthy browns to work best for my home office.
Revamp your Work Space with Energy
For me, energy means things that are in motion. Does your desk have an energy to it? Sure, at one time it was probably a tree or the metals used to make it were molten and moving around. But, in its current state – it just is.
Which is fine, it serves its purpose. But, you should break up the continuity of things with things that are still making their way through life. For some people, this can be fishtank and for others something else entirely.
You’re alive too you know. So it’s important you should be surround by other things that share your life force and are experiencing this world with you. Let’s take a look at things that can add energy(life) to your environment.
Elements that Add Energy to Your Workspace
If you have a pet cat or dog, you already know that they aid us in our walk through life. If you aren’t in a situation where you can own one, there are other options.
- Aquariums – There are plenty of options to adding a fish or frog to your life. They can fit easily on your desk or in your room.
- Terrariums – A terrarium is a sealed type of container that works as its own ecosystem. Usually, you add soil and plants, then seal it up and let it do its own thing. They’re very interesting, and while they don’t offer the same amount of entertainment as a frog, they still add life to any space.
- Plants – This is the easiest and simplest option. Plants are living things, they add life to our environment and clean our air. There are a variety of plants suited for offices that you can go to town with. We recommend getting one, and a Peace Lily is always a good start!
- Fountains – A little different than others on this list, a fountain isn’t alive in the usual sense. But, the feeling and sound of flowing water can really set a nice tone to your office space.
Do plants improve our work space?
Well, according to this study they probably do. I love reading scientific articles that back up elements of creating a good environment. This is one of the main reasons I’d suggest getting a plant first to add some life to your space.
Intuitively I think we can all agree, that humans are animals. An office shouldn’t be devoid of color and life. That just isn’t natural, so work on adding some nature!
Keeping Organized - Your Sanity Will Thank You
What is the easiest way to change the course of a stream? Well, throwing pebbles in its way! Similarly, if you’ve got clutter scattered about, everything else goes by the wayside. Thankfully this was one of the easiest things to fix in my previously unorganized life by following a simple rule. Which may sound a little funny.
- Respect myself – that’s all I did. I sat down and thought about how I was respecting myself if I was leaving cups in my room or not taking the time to keep things clean.
After you sit down and have a heart to heart, you can get to work. Something great will happen, you’ll feel better immediately. I think this is the biggest immediate improvement anyone can make to their environment.
You might not have the money to set up the perfect work space, but you can clean it out and throw out things you don’t need. I wrote about my own journey to minimalism here. Even writing about it gives me a boost of energy, it really is so important.
Feng Shui and Your Mental Health
All of these things are aimed at leading you to being efficient when you work. Leaving behind the clutter and noise of everyday life is incredibly important.
But, a room could follow every rule in this guide and there is still a bigger deciding factor.
That factor is you. Remember someone with the best workspace can still fall ill to habits. While these things can be worked on over time, I suggest you get a routine of how to clear yourself of habits that take away energy.
For me originally, it was things like obsessively checking my phone or consuming information and youtube. On my path to figuring it all out one thing was most important. I sat down and asked myself why.
Why do I want a better workspace? Something was prodding me inside, and it had to do with control. On a bigger scale doing all of this stuff can hopefully address something at stake in modern lives.
That is control over our thoughts, our actions, and gaining back purpose for doing things with intention. Here is an example of my routine where I try to be true to myself, you can adapt yours to your life.
- Check everything that needs to be checked on my phone then turn it off. My work does not require me to be on my phone, yours may so adjust accordingly.
- Check all the news or things I need to during the day right when I wake up.
- Accomplish any nagging tasks, move on from the worry by just getting them out of the way.
- Enjoy a bit of entertainment with a specific time limit in the morning – then get to work.
A lot of time in my life was wasted by being busy just to be busy. I was a hamster on the wheel. This routine along with adding Feng Shui principles has helped improve my quality of life. Hopefully, it can help you too. I mess up all the time by the way, you don’t have to beat yourself up with these rules. But follow them the best you can.
In this huge juxtaposition of finding what’s best for us and navigating the rocky shores of reality, finding a solution is a fun part of our journey. If any of this helped you, let me know. I love interacting with people that read my articles 🙂
Hey everyone 🙂 My name is Conor. I'm passionate about technology, zen, and improving the quality of life so many of us share at a desk!