Wednesday, August 29, 2007 at 2:48pm by Site Administrator
If you’re lucky enough to work from home, you’re probably the envy of everyone in the working world. Sleeping in, foregoing any sort of dress code, and being able to run your errands in the middle of the day are just a few of the perks of being able to earn your paycheck in the comfort of your very own home. On the down side, maintaining an organized work space in the middle of your home can be frustrating, as bill paying, laundry, and other household chores can find themselves in the middle of your office files. Below are 50 simple ways you can maintain a happy, clean, and organized office area at home by practicing the fundamentals of Feng Shui. By including the key elements fire, water, earth, and wood, you’ll have a work space that maximizes your productivity and energy while nurturing a calm, soothing balance.
- Don’t obstruct the doorway. Keep shoes, umbrellas, books, and other items put away. Keeping the entrance way clear will allow positive energy, or chi, to flow freely in and out of the room, uncontrained. You will be able to improve your mood as soon as you enter the room since your eyes won’timmediately jump to the clutter and disorganization and you won’t be tripping over mismatched shoes and the raincoat from last month.
- Rearrange furniture frequently. You don’t have to totally redo the setup of the whole room, but shifting your furniture frequently will maintain a healthy level of energy. You will subconsciously notice the changes, keeping you alert and on you toes. Try moving the desk a few inches closer to the window or switching the placement of two chairs. It may not seem like a big change aesthetically, but you’ll be able to feel the results instantly.
- Move the TV to another room. Keeping the television in your home office will be a constant distraction. You can find all the news, stocktrading information, and other work-related updates you need on the Internet anyway. Move the TV out of your office and leave room for healthier, more natural workspace.
- Don’t lose sight of the door. Make sure all of your chairs and sofas are situated so that anyone sitting in your office will always be able to see the door. Having a way out and keeping track of who or what comes in is a traditional measure of good Feng Shui.
- Leave at least 3 feet between furniture. A standard Feng Shui tip for arranging your furniture is to leave at least 3 feet between all the pieces in the room. For instance, leave 3 feet between your desk and the computer chair when unoccupied. Allow 3 feet between your 2 lounge chairs or between a chair and sofa. You can find other similar tips by clicking here.
- Make sure your furniture represents the elements. You obviously won’t be able to have a desk made of fire, but try to incorporate the wood and metal elements into your furniture constitutions as much as possible. Most of your furniture will undoubtedly be made of wood, but see if you can find an end table made of aluminum or one that features a metallic finish.
- Add pillows and blankets. Buy a couple of throw pillows and a comfy blanket to give your office a cozy appeal. Let them lie easily on your chairs or couch, but only indulge in wrapping yourself up in the blanket if it’s really chilly. You want to promote an easygoing atmosphere, but you don’t want to fall asleep at your desk! Try PotteryBarn.com for ideas.
- Don’t overcrowd the room. Putting too much furniture or accessories in your office will lead to overcrowding. Overcrowding leads to a tense, nervous energy. Keep the amount of items in the room to a minimum, including only the furniture and electronics you need to conduct your business and host clients in a basic, but comfortable, way.
- Give yourself a choice of places to sit. If you limit yourself to the one desk chair you use while on the computer, you’ll end up feeling cramped and panicky. Have at least one other sofa or chair for you to sit in while taking a break from the computer once in a while. Visit JCPenney.com for ideas. Changing your physical placement will keep you focused longer.
- Be comfortable.
Make sure all the furniture in the room is comfortable to you. Since it’s your office, you will be the one spending most (if not all) of your time there. Being comfortable will keep your mind off your external circumstances and allow you to work.
Light and Color
- Windows When selecting a room for your home office, you should pick the one that has at least one window. Enveloping yourself in natural light helps keep you on track with the progression of day and night, keeping you in sync with the environment around you. Make sure the window has blinds or curtains, though, in case the sun is too bright or causes an irritating glare on your desk.
- Lamps Putting lamps on your desk or end tables will allow you to control the amount of light you receive more pointedly. If the overhead light is too harsh for example turning it off and relying on lamps and the natural light from the window will keep you more relaxed and your eyes less strained. If the main light isn’t bright enough however, a lamp will help you see better and concentrate on your work, as your eyes will naturally be drawn to where the light is focused.
- Light bulbs Choosing the right light bulbs for your home office is extremely important. You will want bulbs that radiate feelings of warmth. Avoid buying fluorescent lights altogether. Click here to read more about the benefits of lighting when creating a Feng Shui environment.
- Blue Incorporating the color blue into your home office helps include an association with the element "water." Blue is a soothing color and is best used in the East and Southeast areas of the room. According to Feng Shui expert Rodika Tchi, painting the ceiling blue is a great way to not only add color to your office, but to improve productivity and promote good energy.
- Green According to Viewzone.com, green "is considered to be a color of freshness, growth, and peace," so try adding cushions or pillows in light, subtle shades to give your office soothing energy with a punch of personality.
- Red Bold reds are thought to introduce feelings wealth and happiness into a person’s life. Supplementing your otherwise subdued room with red accents will brighten your mood and perhaps even bring you luck. Don’t go overboard with strong reds or you may end up creating a negative energy infused with anger and agitation.
- Metal Metallic accents will brighten up your room in a subtle way. Use a bronze paperweight or hang copper windchimes near the window to represent key Feng Shui element while allowing natural light to reflect off the metallic surfaces.
- Earth tones Earth tones are known to be soothing shades of yellow, brown, and green. They generally make people feel comfortable and at ease because of their relationship to nature, so stick to these shades when designing your home office. A deep yellow rug or tan curtains will create a simplified atmosphere perfect for work.
- Balance As with any Feng Shui practices, you must maintain a balance of color in your room. Adding too much blue and not enough red will leave your office vulnerable to the water element, for example. Keeping the elements in check through color is a fun, inspiring approach to Feng Shui interior design because of the choices you have to accessorize each area.
- Mirrors Mirrors help positive energy dart about the room by letting in more light and allowing you to keep your eye on what normally wouldn’t be seen. Hang a mirror over your computer to watch the wall behind you and open up the space around you. Mirrors maximize your space by making rooms appear much larger than they actually are, making the office feel roomy and uncramped.
Decorations and Plants
- Put up family photos To make your home office more inviting, hang up or display photos of you with family and friends. You’ll make yourself more comfortable by seeing familiar faces and recalling fun memories. Use a variety both wood and metal frames to incorporate the two elements.
- Paintings Paintings are also positive additions to your home office. Choose ones that feature garden scenes, landscapes, and other natural designs to invite earth tones and keep you in touch with the environment.
- Crystals Certain crystals like quartz, amethyst, and malachite increase the power of Feng Shui. Click here to read more about where to place crystals in your room and to find out which ones will benefit you the most.
- Flowers Introducing plant life into your home office will boost your spirits and help balance out the elements. Plants, even flowers, represent wood. Put a potted plant on the windowsill or situate a larger fern or hibiscus plant in a corner to brighten up the room. Click here for specific tips and ideas for bringing in the right flowers for your space.
- Bamboo Bamboo also represents the element wood and is considered to be extremely lucky. Read Diane Kern’s ideas for selecting and maintaining bamboo to ensure that the plant brings you the best luck possible.
- Fountain Having a small water fountain in your home office is good for many reasons. The sound of the running water will soothe your senses, the water element will be fully represented, and according to the Target Woman, the fountain will "attract and trap the chi."
- Caring for a plant. Having a plant in your home office will do no good if you can’t keep it alive. Dying or dead plants will increase the amount of negative energy, making you feel depressed and frustrated. Refer to the Garden Guide Web site to learn tips about container gardening.
- Place wall decorations at eye level. Hanging up pictures any old way is a direct infringement of Feng Shui practice. Let all your wall decorations hang at eye level, creating a consistent, organized aesthetic.
- Avoid sharp-cornered objects. Sharp-cornered objects are not only potentially harmful, they are also believed to obstruct the pathway of chi. Your desk will most likely have sharp corners, but as long as you are not sitting where they point directly at you, the chi will still be able to flow around you easily.
- If it doesn’t have a function, you don’t need it. If your end table doesn’t hold up a lamp or represent any of the key elements, you probably don’t need it. Get rid of any decor that doesn’t serve some sort of Feng Shui function by balancing out the elements, and you’ll free up space and feel better about everything that does belong.
Sound and Scent
- Music Play soothing music throughout the day to alleviate stress, calm nerves, and keep you relaxed. Try a Norah Jones CD or listen to something purely instrumental so you won’t get caught up in the lyrics.
- Eliminate distractions. Close the door if others are at home with you so that you don’t have to listen to distracting noises. Eliminating unnatural, exterior noise will keep you focused on your work and will allow the chi to move around your room with minimal disruptions.
- Evaluate your reactions to certain noises. Does the sound of birds chirping keep you relaxed? Does the rumbling dishwasher make you stressed? Evaluate your reactions to everyday noises and then try to accommodate accordingly. Crack the window a little to let in natural noises and drown out that dishwasher. Or, turn up your music to keep out the bothersome weed eater outside.
- Pick a room located far away from loud noises. When selecting the perfect room for your home office, pick one that is located far away from loud, distracting noises. For example, if your neighbors are always out on their front lawn playing or visiting, go to a room that’s located at the back of your house. If the neighbor on your left has a dog that barks all day long, choose a room on the other side of the house. Eliminating as much extra noise as possible will help you concentrate.
- Candles Light candles to welcome scent and give your office a relaxed atmosphere. The warm flame is a soft, natural representation of fire that also helps you feel cozy. Visit the Yankee Candle Comapny Web site to find your favorite scents and special seasonal deals.
- Incense Lighting incense is another way to bring scent into the room. Many incense smells like the ones found here are believed to promote healthy chi.
- Garbage Take out the garbage often to get rid of bad smells that will interrupt your room’s chi. Mildew, garbage, and other noisome scents will also distract you until they are eliminated. Empty out your trash several times each week to keep bad smells from developing in the first place.
- Citrus Citrusy scents like tangerine and mandarin increase the amount of energy in the room, keeping you awake and alert even after hours of work.
- Geranium and Lavender These soothing scents will calm nerves and help you keep things in perspective. Click here to read more about which scents are good for promoting your room’s chi.
- Burning oil Burning tiny amounts of oil will cause your room to smell better in seconds. Try out one of these oil burners from The Body Shop to improve your room’s fragrance.
- Don’t use your workspace for any other chores. Clutter will immediately destroy any good energy that was present in your home office before. To help eliminate mess, don’t use your workspace for any other purpose other than business. Don’t fold laundry, pay bills, or let your kids play on the computer in the room that you’ve specially designed for work.
- Organize your desk.Invest in a collection of wire baskets that stack on the top of your desk to eliminate floating papers and general clutter. Office Depot carries a large stock of desk accessories that will minimize the amount of roaming items and keep you from losing important items. Clean up the inside of your desk by sliding in dividers or small containers that will hold paperclips, rubberbands, and extra staples.
- File papers. It might seem old-fashioned, but every office needs a filing system. Buy a simple filing cabinet and start filling it up. To make sure you can find your papers easily, make a folder for almost everything. Divide topics into subtopics, and divide those further. It might take a little extra work in the beginning, but when you’re trying to find a specific document, you’ll be glad you did. Choose multicolored folders and use separate colors for different projects, clients, or months.
- Clean up before ending each workday. As a part of your daily routine, straighten up your desk and office before leaving each day. This practice will help keep you organized and ready for the following day, and when you begin work in the morning, you won’t be walking into a messy room. Instead of seeing stacks of papers and clutter, your eyes will settle on the calm organization you’ve worked so hard to preserve.
- Hide unruly cords and cables. Even though you’ve taken the TV out of your office, your computer and radio and/or CD player have lots of messy cords ruining your simplistic mood. Having to look at a tangle of wires will stress you out and distract you from your work. Use a surge protector to safely plug in all those wires to your wall, and use hefty twist ties to prevent tangling. Try investing in a cable kit, like this one from cable-safe.com.
- Bring in as little food as possible. Being able to work from home means that you can eat in the kitchen. Try not to bring food into your office, as it will only add to the clutter and garbage. If you do decide to have a snack, make sure you clean it up as soon as possible.
- Hide your magazines and manuals. Old magazines, guidebooks, and manuals can stack up quickly, leaving your home office looking more like a dusty library than a Feng Shui refuge. If you’re not ready to throw everything out, hide items in a basket underneath a side table or stash them inside hollowed out ottomans. You’ll never know there’s a messy collection of Reader’s Digest underneath you feet!
- Buy a bookshelf. Use a bookshelf for books and manuals that you refer to frequently. Put taller items at the end of each shelf and shorter ones in the middle. This organization idea will make your books look better and stand straighter.
- Separate your mail. Sort your mail as soon as you come from the mailbox, and separate your personal items from business-related envelopes and packages. Take with you to your office the mail that is for work only, and keep it in a basket or on a shelf designated for mail. Each week, file or throw away old bills and envelopes to keep the stack small.
- Make to-do lists to keep your mind clutter-free. Breathe deeply. Don’t get overwhelmed, you’ll be able to finish it all. To avoid panic attacks at work, make yourself several "to do" lists throughout the day. Whether they’re involved outlines on the computer or a simple note dashed on a post it, keeping track of what you need to accomplish will ease your mind and keep you organized. Re-prioritize after lunch, and make a new list for the afternoon or following morning.
Following the practices of Feng Shui will help organize the movement and energy in your home office, essentially increasing your productivity and improving your mood. By balancing out the elements of fire, water, wood, and earth as you arrange furniture, maximize the benefits and focus of light and color, decorate in an organized manner, realize the potential of sound and scent, and eliminate clutter, your home office will not only be a productive environment for work, it will also be your own personal refuge.
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