Do you dread going back to sit at your desk?
Are you not creative or productive enough?
If so, the following tips will greatly improve your comfort, creativity and productivity as they have helped me.
Many times I have found myself with a deadline and not found the willpower to just sit at my desk... I would always find a reason not to sit and do what I had to do. Or I would work, work, work and then feel depleted for a couple of days.
Everything changed for me when I started to realize that I could improve my comfort, productivity and creativity with a combination of Feng Shui and sensory analysis.
First I fengshui'ed my cubicle. I will always remember how my colleagues looked at me as I repositioned my desk, and reshuffled my office furniture in a "strange way" (to them).
But even though I felt more secure and more productive, I still had some bad days. My energy would crash after a few productive hours and then I just had to leave the building for a restorative walk and a coffee. I would be able to pack so much in a few hectic hours without listening to myself, that the next day I would be completely drained and feeling dread about going to work.
So, after a few months, I decided to perform a thorough analysis of how my senses were engaged, and that's when I reached an all-time productivity peak at work. You only need to do it once, and then choose a set up that works for you.
With the help of these sensory tips listed below, I now know how to avoid the cycle of procrastination, excess productivity and burn-out.
Now I encourage all my clients to start by looking around their immediate environment and asking themselves what has to change. The exercise is an exercise in mindfulness about your surroundings. If you have clutter, please start there (with my post about decluttering). If your desk is just untidy, start fresh by tidying up before applying the below tips.
So let's begin by asking yourself these simple sensory questions about your immediate work space.
Close your eyes.
- Am I comfortable ? Could I improve my sitting position? Is my chair too high/ too low? Is my back hurting? Try to find a chair that allows you to stay in a seated position for a long time, to recline and take a "break" if need be. A nagging back pain is the worst enemy of your productivity. Ignoring the discomfort without questioning it until the pain is impossible to bear is not the solution. The majority of your energy is being used to fight this discomfort from the beginning, making it near impossible to succeed in your attempts to work effectively for a long time.
- Am I too hot or too cold? Adjust the temperature of the room for optimal comfort. Have a sweater/blanket handy in case you get cold or a small fan in the case of excessive heat. Ceiling fans are not recommended in Feng Shui because they disrupt Chi (the energy of the room).
- Go deeper, am I feeling safe at my desk? Position your desk so that you do not turn your back to the door. To feel safe, we need to be in the "command position" (i.e. we need to know that no one is going to come from behind and surprise us). The same is true if we work alone at home. Our amygdala (a primitive part of our brains) is conditioned to be on alert when we cannot see what is behind us and will be preparing to respond in a flight or fight mode (even if intellectually, you know you are not in actual danger). If you cannot change your desk position, I recommend attaching a small rear-view mirror on top of your computer screen so that you can see what is behind you at all times. I also recommend having a picture of a mountain behind you, which gives you the feeling of being unconditionally supported.
- Is your space visually pleasing? If not, find something to look at that is beautiful. Find a view of the outdoors that is calming. Greenery is the best option as trees provide a calming and constructive energy. If this is not possible (say you work at a cubicle in an open space), you can hang a picture of a forest in your range of vision, to the left of your screen. This helps our brain capture the impression of a calm feeling, without distracting you, and is a positive financial enhancer. Around your desk area, I also recommend having photos of your favorite people (friendly faces are lifting our spirits in a way that we do not realize) and statuettes or pictures of protectors. I have a buddha statue that acts as a protector and that I find inspiring, but this choice is personal to you. Religious images and protective symbolism are recommended.
- If you have favorite objects, a favorite pen, a favorite clock, have them around. In the wall across from you, display diplomas, certificates, and awards in beautiful frames. They are all "Reputation" enhancers and will give you confidence at work.
- How is the quality of the air? If you have the possibility to open the window, do so at least for 10 minutes each morning and afternoon. Fresh air helps regenerate your office energy. If the air conditioning is your only access to fresh air, place a plant on or near your desk. This will help to purify the air. Some plants are naturally canceling many of the allergens and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are present in office cleaning products and in most air conditioning units. My favorite purifying plants (that are also low-maintenance) are: peace lily and mother in law's tongue (this year, I placed a MIL's tongue at my door step and have not had an allergy yet during this allergen season! knock on wood).
- If you work from home, light your favorite candle in the top right corner of your desk. Its perfume will be pleasing to your olfactory sense, that we often forget in our working lives.
- Do you hear yourself think or is there noise pollution? Whether it's traffic or people talking loudly, ear plugs, instrumental music or nature noises can make a huge difference in covering some of the noise pollution we all are exposed to on a daily basis. Digital sounds are so prevalent now in our working environments that we do not hear how much they actually bother us. But they do. We store all of this negativity in our bodies. This built-up on anxiety takes a toll during a long day at work. Turn your phones off or put it in silent mode when you work, and only look at it when you intentionally decide to. Time to regain control.
- This may sound obvious to some, but I recommend having a variety of your favorite healthy, energy-sustaining snacks, a full thermos of your favorite hot beverage, and a full jar of water, at all times at your desk. This way your body does not interrupt you asking for sustenance during a good work rhythm. Healthy snacks give you an energy boost, while processed foods give you an initial sugar rush, but end up depleting your energy and making you hate the world !
Most of these Feng Shui tips are based in common sense, but they do make a huge difference. When your body and your mind are comfortable, you can reach your highest potential.
This is what works for me!
What works and what doesn't will depend on your personal assessment of your senses, but there is no question that a transformation in your work habits will occur, as soon as you become more mindful.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing all of your feedback!