Working from home can be a mixed blessing for those of us who are old enough to have finally finished with putting on those high heels every day and going in to the office (or shop, or wherever) to work. Maybe you like not having to get dressed up, being able to sip your coffee or tea, play soft music, nibble your snacks, and even throw in a load of laundry now and then, while you work. At the same time – because you’re at home -- do your grown children expect you to babysit your grandchildren, even when you have a 20-page report to write? Do you wonder why you feel so uncomfortable at your desk or why it’s so much harder to get work done at home than you thought it would be? If you’ve been working from home for a while, are you running into “writer’s block” or finding yourself procrastinating instead of getting work done? Are you having trouble attracting clients or keeping your business going?
Whether you work from home full or part time, remotely for a company, freelance, or run a business of your own, Feng Shui can help activate the energy needed for greater success and ease in your work. You can arrange your home office, studio, or workshop to make you happier, more comfortable, productive, and successful, by considering three conscious choices:
· where your office is located in your home
· how you arrange everything in it
· how you organize your desktop or work surface.
Location, Location, Location
Take a good look at where you do your work at home. Is it the spare room, with an ever-growing pile of clutter on the bed that guests only use once or twice a year? Is it that little built-in desk that’s part of your kitchen cabinets? Is it your laptop, literally balanced on your lap? No matter what kind of work you do at home, making it important enough in your life to have its own space will help you enjoy it more and increase your chances for success.
If you possibly can, give your work a room of its own. Re-purpose that little-used guest room, your grown kids’ old bedroom or playroom, an unused formal dining room, or a potting shed in the garden. Setting up a designated place for your work draws energy to it and elevates its importance in your home as a creative outlet and wealth generator for you. You should do your work in a place that you love to be and that reflects who you are right now. Looking at it should tell you and the rest of the world that your work is done here, that it’s important to you, and that it’s not a space for other things. The room should be uncluttered and well-organized, with good light.
Your Power Position, Surrounded by Support
Place your desk or work table in the command position, so that you are facing the door when sitting there. Avoid having your back or side to the room’s door. Have a solid wall behind you, or if that’s not possible, make sure your chair has a high back, creating a sense of safety and security supporting you. If space is tight and you have to put your desk in a closet or corner, so that you’re facing a wall when seated, place a large mirror on the wall in front of you, so that you can clearly see as much of the room as possible, but at least the doorway.
Unlike your bedroom, which needs low, long, soothing yin energy, your home office needs more yang, or active energy, with more colors and images, placed higher in the room. Don’t make it too active, so that it creates stress or makes concentration difficult, but instead, balance the energy in a way that it is conducive to working. Fill it with things that you love and that inspire you in your work – pictures, inspirational sayings or quotes, lamps, live plants, rugs, chairs, books, statues, cut flowers in water, fish bowls, and tabletop or wall-mounted water fountains. Avoid images of sorrow, failure, or violence, even if it’s high art. Remove any heavy light fixtures or ceiling fans hanging down over you or your desk.
Make sure all computers, printers, lamps, light bulbs and switches, window blinds, doors, hinges, and drawers are in good working order. Don’t overload bookshelves, instead arranging books in small groupings in between objects that are beautiful and inspiring to you, and leaving some empty spaces. Hide piles of electrical cords in tubes or behind furniture. Keep the floor clear of books, magazines, or files. Start with a good decluttering, including inside drawers and cabinets, and then keep it up, as work stuff tends to accumulate quickly. Shred any papers you no longer need or use and avoid creating new hardcopy unnecessarily. If you have one, keep your bulletin board tidy and cover it with only uplifting, encouraging work images and words.
If, for any reason (like a wandering cat who tends to knock things over), you don’t want water fountains, fish bowls, or live plants in your office, you can use artificial plants and pictures of water in nature instead. Long silk vines are great for covering sharp edges of furniture, as you want to avoid any sharp edges pointing at you when you are at your desk. Photos or artwork depicting rivers, oceans, lakes, or waterfalls (with the water appearing to flow into the room), or images of koi fish are all good generators of wealth energy.
Top of Desk, Top of Mind
Feng Shui also offers ways to arrange your desktop to ease stress and promote productivity and success. Your computer or your specific project materials will be directly in front of you. On the far side of the desk, in the middle, is a good place for a desk lamp. The far right corner is the place for photos and mementos that support and encourage your work, or anything in pairs. Files belong on the center of the right side and your phone, planner or calendar, and address book on the right corner nearest you. On the left, keep current books and reference materials on the front corner, a plant in the middle, and a water fountain, a glass bowl or water-filled vase with cut flowers, or a fish bowl on the far left corner. Be sure to keep plants or flowers fresh and healthy.
Keep your phone and computer uncluttered by regularly deleting old, unnecessary files, emails, bookmarks, pictures of cute cats, and funny videos. Delete old listings that you no longer use from your digital address books. Use a mousepad with a Feng Shui symbol of success or wealth, such as a waterfall, green dragon or koi fish. One more item I always keep in my home office is a small, beautiful wooden box, in which I place little pieces of paper bearing quotations, affirmations, images and plans for my work. I look through them often, removing old ones with gratitude and adding new ones as needed.
Bloom Where You are Planted
If you take your laptop to your local coffee shop to work, or set yourself up at your kitchen or patio table, living room or den sofa, sit with a solid wall behind you. Make sure you have good light, minimize distractions, and keep your work tidy and organized. Value and respect your work enough to protect its time and space, wherever you are. If you don’t, no one else will either, and energy will be depleted away from the work and your success at it.
Many of us have spent years longing for the day when we could leave the rat race behind and at the same time keep a hand in our long-term career or start a new venture, working from home. Now that it’s here, just a few Feng Shui adjustments can make it work better for you.