By Jacquelyn Lynn

If business isn't going as well as it might, consider taking a second look at your physical environment. An increasing number of Westerners are discovering feng shui (pronounced fung schway), the ancient art of arranging your personal space to create balance and harmony with the forces of nature. It's a technique Asians have been practicing for centuries.

"Over the last decade, Pacific Rim companies have had an increasing impact on the global marketplace," says William Spear, a consultant and author of Feng Shui Made Easy: Designing Your Life With the Ancient Art of Placement (Harper Collins). "When you investigate the way in which Asian corporations conduct business, it begins with their traditional philosophy of their relationship to their immediate environment."

In other words, how your desk is positioned, the orientation of the door and the type of art you have can have a significant impact on your business. The idea is to keep positive energy flowing and deflect the negative energy. Clearing clutter, rearranging furniture, and adding or removing specific elements can have a dramatic impact on your creativity and success. Some of Spear's tips:


* Position your desk to face the door so you see who is coming in. But don't let it block the door; that creates an energy barrier.


* Sit with a solid wall behind you to increase the feeling of being supported.


* Avoid putting pictures and art behind your desk--they distract visitors' attention away from you.


* Consider the symbolism of the posters, pictures and other artwork in your surroundings. What messages are they sending?


* Clutter inhibits the free flow of energy. Keep your desk clear, and keep files off the floor.


* Use live plants to counter the negative effects of modern machinery, but avoid cacti and other spiky specimens.