Use Feng Shui and Be More Productive in No Time
The COVID-19 virus has impacted life and work as we know it.
Like millions of professionals we’re all having to do things differently, including working from home.
Getting set up to work from home, especially if you’ve never done it long-term before, can be a challenge.
There are interruptions, like curious family members or pets who want your undying attention. There are distractions, like a TV close at hand or a beautiful spring day that is calling your attention outside.
There is isolation from working alone and missing your colleagues and then there’s the lack of a workspace that is inviting, comfortable and conducive to productivity.
But whether you’re alone, in a studio apartment, or in a house with people and plenty of rooms, creating an at-home workspace that keeps you energized, encourages clear thinking and supports your success is possible.
I know. I had to create a workspace on the fly. An office renovation where I worked exposed asbestos and everyone had to quickly vacate the building.
I had just completed my training as a Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) consultant. Feng Shui isn’t a religion. It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement based on the theory that everything is energy. Every thing around you is alive and it interacts with your own energy. So what’s surrounding you can either energize you or drain you.
So I applied my new Feng Shui skills to figure out how to use the energy in my space to make me feel comfortable, supported, rejuvenated and productive while I worked at home in my tiny studio apartment.
Since then I have consulted with professionals and entrepreneurs to create productive and comfortable work spaces in their living rooms, basements, garages, family rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and even some outdoor sheds.
So, if you’re frustrated because you think you have have a less than optimal workspace at home remember, many successful businesses have been started and run from kitchen tables (like Lillian Vernon’s catalogue business), and garages (think Apple Computers and HP). If they can do it, you can do it too!
And, with a few Feng Shui tips you can have your at-home workspace keeping your energy up and circulating to make it easier to get things done. Here’s how:
1. Start by Being a Detective
When you think of having a workspace that is conducive to your success before you decide where it should be, it’s important to detect what’s needed. To that end answer these questions:
· Do you have a separate space available (a guest room, study, garage, etc.) that you can temporarily transform into a separate workspace?
· How is your space shared (with husbands/wives, children, roommates, pets)? Consider locating your workspace in a separate room with a door to minimize distractions by keeping pets or others out.
· What are the needs of those within your household? For example, are children taking on-line classes at a certain time? What is your most productive time of day? Is your energy better in the morning, afternoon, or evening? Knowing this may help you determine whether you can share a space with others who have a different energy rhythm from you.
· Where is your internet connection located? Consider your need for internet speed and accessibility and the location of your modem as you determine the best place for your office.
· What type of work will you be doing most of the time (writing, calling, having zoom meetings, recording videos, etc.)? Based on what you spend most of your time doing, determine the best location for your office taking into account the amount of quiet and confidentiality needed.
Answering these simple questions can help you determine the best spot for your designated workspace at home.
2. Don’t be a Workspace Gypsy
Speaking of a designated workspace, it’s important to have one. When you were working in an office and brought work home on the weekends it was probably no big deal to work a few hours at the kitchen table, then work sitting on the couch, and maybe even work a few hours while snuggling under the covers before going to sleep.
But when you’re working from home full-time a “laptop will travel” mentality, like a workspace gypsy, can be disruptive. Being on the move can also have you feeling scattered and unfocused.
Without realizing it, by moving from here to there you may be intruding on the concentration of others. If children are at the kitchen table taking on-line classes and you’re joining them, then get up to move somewhere else, it may disrupt their concentration. And, it can set a bad example. Before long they may want to follow in your footsteps and start moving around too.
Moving from room to room makes it harder for your brain to focus. It’s also easier to be distracted. Calvin Newport, associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and author of the book Deep Work, says “… it seems like most people experience a 50% drop in productivity and cognitive capacity when in a state of distraction.”
Being unconsciously disruptive can create unnecessary conflicts and tension in your at-home relationships. And with everyone spending lots of time at home, you don’t want to put your relationships at risk.
To have the concentration, brain power, attention and supportive relationships you need to be successful, designate a space from which to work. Zeroing in on a permanent workspace can help you feel more grounded. It provides structure. It can mean having everything you need at your fingertips for greater productivity too.
So, pick your best spot and alight my friend. Find your designated work space. Where should that spot be, you ask? That depends.
3. Easily Transform Your Spare Room
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, like a guest room, that’s ideal. You’ll have a door to close to minimize distractions, increase confidentiality, and to enhance concentration.
If you’re resisting transforming your perfectly decorated guest room into a place to work, I get it. It’s not always easy to change your space around. Especially if you’ve designed the perfect space for a specific function. But instead of thinking of this as turning your whole house upside down, consider it a chance to be creative. To learn and practice some Feng Shui. To loosen, circulate, and refocus the energy of your home to where it needs to be right now.
A temporary workspace can be created on the fly without having to move furniture out of your guest room or move a “real” desk into it. Often when I work with clients to Feng Shui their work and home spaces there are items they have in one room that can be used in another. So use what you have.
For example, a simple TV-tray can hold your lap top. Or, make a temporary desk out of two file cabinets with a board on top. The guest bed can be your work table. Assigning new functions to what you already have in the room will make deconstructing your “office,” easy and you’ll have your guest room back in no time.
4. Make Room When You Don’t Have a Spare
If you don’t have an extra room, creating a space from which to work can be challenging but not impossible.
When I found myself suddenly working from home a desk, filing cabinet, and computer were delivered the next day, and crammed into my small studio apartment. The only place they’d fit and accommodate a computer and phone line was to be lined up directly across from my bed.
According to Feng Shui, working in your bedroom is not ideal. It is best to keep your sleeping space separate for the best rest. But I had no choice. I had to be creative to make one big oom accommodate both work and rest.
What would have been ideal (and this is something you can do if you’re using a room that already has a purpose like a living room, dining room or bedroom), is to cordon off a section of the room. You can use a short bookcase, a decorative screen, hang a curtain, or use anything you can think of as a room divider to carve out your separate workspace.
If you don’t have something like that handy, do what I did in my small studio. I used an area rug to mark the boundary between my workspace and my bedroom. In just a few days my brain recognized that there was a new routine. When I stepped on that rug, I was in my workspace. My mind immediately shifted into work mode. When I shut down my lap top at night and stepped off of that rug, my “office” was closed.
Whether the room you’re working in is large or small, if it has a dual function, cordon off your workspace as best as you can. This will help your brain shift from work to relaxation and back when appropriate.
5. Make It So You Want to Work There
Whether your workspace ends up being in the basement, garage, guest room or bedroom, make it conducive to doing your best work. When you feel better, you work better.
Remember, what surrounds you can either energize you, or drain you. Consciously create an environment that is inviting and energizing. Make it feel uplifting. You want your space to encourage clear thinking and creativity. You want it to be a place that is comfortable, that you want to stay in throughout your work day.
For example, if you’re working in a drab basement consider adding some color. Different colors are used in Feng Shui to balance spaces and to make them feel harmonious. If you’re not in a position to paint a wall, put a blanket or throw on your chair. Add artwork that is inspiring and makes you feel good. Brighten up your space with proper lighting.
6. Make it Your Mission Control
Think about the placement of your desk. It is, after all, your mission control. If possible don’t position it so your back is to a doorway. It’s more empowering and supportive to have a wall or something solid behind you as you sit at your desk.
Take advantage of any positive scenery that is available to you. Place your desk so you can look out a window. Nature brings calm. If you’re in a windowless room, or don’t have a great view, put flowers on your desk. Bring a living plant into your workspace. A bit of nature in your work space will add energy, reduce stress, and provide a sense of harmony.
If you want greater prosperity, put something in your office that makes you feel rich. In my work with clients I ask them to surround themselves with items that they like and that are meaningful to them. I review their space in person or on-line to let them know where the objects should be placed to support them in achieving the goals they want to achieve.
Align your space so it reflects the success you want to achieve. One client was working in what she affectionately called the “junk room.” It was the place her old broken-down printers and copiers went to die. These broken objects, unbeknownst to her, were contributing to her feeling drained and less than successful.
When she removed those items and added some objects that represented what she wanted, she received the job offer that had alluded her for months. No matter how temporary your workspace is, make sure it supports your mission and adds your success.
7. Increase Your Energy and Focus
Energy is required to be productive and to achieve your goals. It’s next to impossible to stay productive when you’re feeling overwhelmed, unfocused or bogged down. If you’ve ever been in a cluttered space, you know it can reflect those feelings back to you and may even have you doubting your capability.
Clutter traps and stagnates the flow of energy. It can create barriers to your success by blocking the flow of positive energy in your workspace and your life.
Clutter is also a big time-waster. It’s not uncommon for people to spend up to five hours a week looking for things. Can you imagine how much more you can accomplish with five more productive hours in your work week?
Don’t let clutter sap your energy and contribute to your feelings of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, loss of control, depression or even shame. Sitting in a cluttered environment every day can sap your motivation. When you feel your energy waning, check your environment. Take a time out to clear the clutter from your desk and work space.
Making clearing clutter a habit can keep your energy accessible and flowing. A clear space will keep you stay energized, focused, less stressed, and more in control of your day. Not to mention a clear desk can provide clarity, calmness, and the efficiency needed to succeed.
Making Your Workspace Your Success Space
Since you’re having to work from home anyway, why not make your work space your success space. By putting some thought into your needs and the needs of those who live with you, you’ll be in a better position to create an ideal at-home workspace for everyone.
By putting yourself in a position to create a workspace that is also a success space, you will have set the stage for greater productivity. You will have created an environment that puts you in control of your work, your current situation, and your life.
Because you have created a space that is conducive and inviting, you’ll be energized and able to work more efficiently. You will also have safeguarded your all-important relationships at home.
Your success space will have you getting things done with ease. You will feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of your days. It will be easier to leave your work behind and head to your restful space, even if they’re in the same building or the same room.
Most of all, you will have successfully adjusted to what is called for in these unprecedented times.
Are you struggling to create a conducive and comfortable workspace at home? Book your discovery call with me here.
Linda Hardenstein has the uncanny ability to see blocks and opportunities others cannot see, guiding you to reach levels of success you never thought possible. A Certified Feng Shui Consultant and Professional Certified Coach, she possesses incredible intuitive abilities and brings a brilliant blend of universal energy principles and practical solutions to help you transform your space, work and life, seemingly by magic.