Working from a home office isn’t as free and easy an experience as people often imagine.
1. Distractions abound.
2. You never completely leave your work behind.
Having felt the stress of some aggressive deadlines and and too much on my plate, I realize it’s not just how I manage my time that makes a difference in my ability to cope. Having a working environment within your home that’s conducive to both productivity and stress management can make the difference between “pumped up” and “burned out”, too.
I’ve been trying to become more in tune with how my surroundings influence my demeanor. For instance, playing classical music on Pandora while I work tends to soothe my nerves and calm me when I’m feeling frazzled. But I realize there’s much more I could do to make my office a place that enhances my concentration and productivity, while keeping stress at bay. I did a little research on the topic and thought I’d share some of my findings with you.
Ways to Create a More Productive, Less Stressful Home Office
Employ the 5 elements of Feng Shui
With thousands of years behind it, the concept of feng shui fascinates me. The ancient Chinese system, which uses design choices to create and guide our physical and emotional energy, involves five elements we can use to achieve a balanced state in our home offices. It’s actually a lot more complex than that, but here are some elemental basics if you’ve got an open mind and want to try to incorporate some of the principles of feng shui into your home office. The key is to have a healthy balance of the five elements so the energy of your space is working for you rather than against you.
Wood represents personal growth, intuition, inspiration, and creativity. Consider decorating your space with some wood furniture, small plants, and perhaps some flowers. The color green is traditionally associated with the wood element. And purple, believe it or not, is another wood color. It represents abundance and expression. When looking to accentuate your creative powers through wood, choose energizing, not dull or gray hues.
Earth energy serves to support and ground you. It provides stability and balance. Decor (like baskets or ceramic pots) low to the ground and square, rectangular, and horizontal objects, particularly made of earth materials like straw, stone, and brick will enhance earth’s stabilizing properties in your work space. Earth colors are brown and yellow, but make sure the yellow is muted rather than clear and bright.
Fire promotes transformation, leadership, and enthusiasm. Its energy helps you welcome new ideas and gives you the motivation to share your abilities and skills. In your home office, candles, sunlight through your window, and lamps can all bring more fire energy into your space. Decor items shaped liked triangles, diamonds and pyramids and the colors red, orange, and pink are associated with fire. Aim for bright colors and semi-gloss paints that make the room more reflective to boost your office’s fire power.
Metal enhances clarity and logic. It actually has two aspects, just like the mind: a dense and focused left-brained aspect and a dynamic, in motion left-brained aspect. White, gray, and silver are left-brain energy boosting colors, while the rainbow colors stimulate creativity. Decor items that can help pull you into focus include wind chimes and bells. Metallic shelves, desks, and office accessories can boost creative energy.
The water element represents release and rejuvenation. It helps you let go of what isn’t beneficial and opens you to renewal of your insight and inspiration. Fountains, aquariums, and objects with reflective surfaces can bring water energy to your office. Colors of the water element include black and deeper, darker hues of blue.
Note that the objects you place in your office can represent multiple elements. For example, a metal desk with its horizontal surface represents both metal and earth. In other words, you can get more bang for your buck if you thoughtfully select objects.
Based on my untrained assessment of my office, I’ve got a lot of earth in my space, a decent amount of metal, but I could stand to some more water, fire, and wood. I’m hoping the candle with the wooden wick in my photo will help with that, but it appears some office accessories shopping is in order.
Have you ever considered the principles of feng shui for your home office? At first glance, is your working space feng shui friendly or a feng shui failure?
By Dawn Mentzer
Another Insatiable Soloprener™ Post
McWilliams, Stephanie. “The Elements of Feng Shui”. n.d. http://www.hgtv.com/decorating-basics/the-elements-of-feng-shui/index.html (accessed April 27, 2014).
Stasney, Sharon. Feng Shui Chic: Stylish Designs for Harmonious Living. Edited by Laura Best. New York, NY: Sterling Publishing, Co., Inc./Chapelle, Ltd., 2000.
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