You probably spend more than half of your day at work. Why is it, then, that you don’t put the same effort into decorating your office as you do your living room? Drab, dull and overcluttered work areas can squelch your creativity, drain your energy and affect your job performance.
Laura Benko specializes in bringing the art of feng shui into workspaces and says that following the organizational principles of this ancient practice can transform your work environment, ease stress and result in improved productivity.
Related: The Importance of Office Aesthetics
Here are five feng shui principles to incorporate into your workspace to boost your success:
1. Consider painting your office blue. "Color has a huge impact on our emotions," says Benko. Bold colors such as reds can excite and promote aggression and anxiety. "Think about why so many fast food restaurants are painted in reds and oranges," she says. Painting an office environment in these colors will make you want to leave early. The best colors for an office, according to Benko, are pale green to inspire creativity, blue to create a sense of calm, or gray for sophistication.
2. Surround yourself with positive symbols. "Fill [your workspace] with things that uplift, inspire and motivate you," says Benko, but play close attention to the symbolism of every item. Pictures of loved ones can be a great reminder of what’s important in your life, but be sure the photo you choose is truly uplifting.
Benko recalls a client whose family photo was hindering rather than inspiring her. Even though the photo was taken during a vacation, the client revealed it was a very stressful time. "The kids were hungry and they felt forced to pose for the picture, so every time she looked at that picture, subconsciously she was feeling the stress and anxiety of that moment," says Benko.
3. Turn your desk toward the door. Position your desk so you can clearly see the entrance of your office. "You don’t ever want to put your back to the door because that creates a subconscious feeling of vulnerability," says Benko. Besides being easily startled, not being able to see what’s coming can make you feel like you have have lost control. The best feng shui positioning is with your back against a wall or window facing the door, but not in direct alignment with it.
4. Use plants and essential oil. Low-maintenance plants such as bamboo or philodendrons help to clean the air, make breathing easier, and add a vibrant life force to the space. Aromatherapy can also help elevate your energy and productivity. Benko suggests placing a bottle of lemon oil on your desk and taking a whiff when you feel uninspired. "Lemon makes you feel more motivated and uplifts your spirits," she says.
5. Post a personal mantra. Write a personal mantra on your bulletin board or a Post-it note that you can affix on your computer screen to remind you of your goals. Mantras such as "Today I will finish one project before I start another" can help you remain calm and focused throughout the day.