Pronounced “fung shway,” feng shui can be traced back to China… 6000 years ago. Literally translated as “wind, water,” the ancient Chinese art of feng shui is the study of man and his relationship to the world around him. The goal is to create a perfect environment in which you have total harmony and balance with nature. In the context of your office cubicle, the goal is to enhance your little workspace so that it is more conducive to you being productive.
What Is Feng Shui?
Feng shui uses five specific elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water, to balance our environment. When all of these energies work and flow together in harmony, it creates a space that feels good and seems appealing or inviting. The places where we spend most of our time can affect us poorly if the energy is “constipated” and negative — which can cause us to feel uncomfortable or physically drained. Feng shui’s goal is to change that.
All right, I know, it sounds like new age malarkey. But, most SharpMen spend an increasingly large amount of time at work — and if that environment is unpleasant, well, then, our whole experience can generally suck. So, without delving too far into the ideas behind the art of feng shui, see below for all you need to bring feng shui, and turn the average office cubicle into a proverbial positive energy-filled paradise, and help with your career success and well being.
I mean, really, what have you got to lose?
The Feng Shui Cubicle
In general, the very idea of the cubicle is negative. It often brings to mind words like “slave” and signifies the average SharpMan’s rat-like existence within a small prison of paperwork, fluorescent lighting, and computer wires. The cubicle creates an inhibiting work environment devoid of privacy and natural light, but also fails to keep out distractions. Think about an overhead view of a cubicle-filled office (or “cube farm”). Seems like one of those little mazes that they run mice through, doesn’t it? Doesn’t a feng shui cubicle sound much nicer?
So how do you change this? You can by bringing feng shui into your office space of course! The goal is to create an environment that is relaxed, one that will allow you to be creative and free-flowing. You want your office space to be more pleasant, a better mental space, in a way that will make it a more effective workspace — without creeping out your coworkers and boss. After all, you don’t want to be become known as the “new age cubicle guy” around the office floor. That would be weird.
Bringing Feng Shui To Your Office Space
Check out the following amazing ways for transforming your cluttered cubicle into a more effective workspace through the art of feng shui:
Step One: Declutter
Take a lunch hour to de-clutter your office. Remove all objects — even office supplies like staplers and tape dispensers that you don’t use more than once per hour. Place these in desk drawers out of view. They’ll only remind you that you’re in work jail. Also, remove outdated schedules and other scraps of paper that you thumb-tacked up on the walls of your cube just to look like you had stuff going on. The first rule is to open up your space.
Step Two: Position Your Chair
Chances are that you work on a computer and often spend a lot of time in a good chair. Your first goal should be to make the entrance to your space visible, in a commanding position. This is often the complete opposite of the way an average chair is oriented, as most of the time people arrange their chairs so that their backs face the entrance to their cubes.
Why is this bad? It reflects paranoia. How can a workspace be relaxing if you may be surprised from behind at any moment? When you can’t see what is coming from your seating area, you will instinctively worry about it and not be able to relax and focus on the current task at hand.
If it is not possible to face or see the opening to your cubicle by moving your chair around, or if you simply don’t have the option of adjusting your space due to office restrictions or electrical access, then try placing a small mirror in a place that allows you to see the entrance to your cube while working.
Step Three: Personal Goals
Although it may not seem to be related to the design of your cube, make a shortlist of your work and personal goals. For example, jot down “improve work quality” or “receive raise” or “move to next level.” Just go with us, here. The changes you make to your cube will be based on reinforcing those goals that you’d like to achieve. Choose to focus on one or two goals at a time. Then mentally commit yourself to follow through on these goals.
Step Four: Feng Shui Design
Get a regular old compass and find the four major directions within your cubicle. Mark them on Post-Its®. Now decorate with the following feng shui design concepts with the following tips:
The color of the north is black, its element is water and its animal is the dependable turtle. “Enhance” the north part of your cube if you are looking for overall business success and growth. Do this by enhancing the visual prominence of this corner with the color black, adding a small water feature (although you are treading remarkably close to the “new age cubicle guy” label).
The color of the east is green, its element is wood and its animal is the dragon. “Enhance” the east part of your cube for business growth and personal health. Do this by enhancing the visual prominence of this corner with the color green, by adding plants or wooden object.
The color of the south is red, its element is fire and its animal is the phoenix. This is the most powerful element. “Enhance” the south part of your cube if you desire fame and fortune. Do this by enhancing the visual prominence of this corner with the color red or a figurine of a phoenix.
The color of the west is white, its element is metal and its animal is the fierce tiger. “Enhance” the west part of your cube to improve your personal creativity and overall self-worth. Do this by enhancing the visual prominence of this corner with the color white or a metal object.
The key is to determine which direction(s) best matches your goals and visually enhance that corner of your cube with its corresponding color, element or animal.
Step Five: More Positive Energy
Now take a look at your cube again. Is there anything else that would make you find the space more pleasing and add flare? Inspirational quotes? A plant? Better lighting? A picture of your car or travel pictures? Calming colors? A more comfortable chair? If the things that you see make you relax, then you will be more likely to relax enough to focus on your work.
Step Six: Enjoy Your Feng Shui
Now the reality check. There’s no magic associated with feng shui. Meeting your goals is up to you. What feng shui does do is help you create an environment that is more conducive to feeling more comfortable and therefore more focused on your life goals. It helps with your energy levels and productivity, and helps eliminate anxiety.
On the other hand, the five elements of feng shui should act as a mere base from which you can develop ideas of your own on how to create a productive workspace. If the feng shui plans don’t work for you, then throw them out and try it your way.
You need to feel good about the space in which you spend nine to twelve hours out of your day. So do whatever is necessary to make your little part of the maze a bit more pleasant. Before you know it, the other rats may be finding their way to you.