You probably know, or have heard of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice that seeks to promote prosperity and well-being by harmonizing individuals with their surroundings to stimulate the flow of Qi, or positive energy. Feng Shui translated literally means wind and water. This article is not intended to take the place of years of study required to become a Feng Shui master. This article is simply a common sense do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to creating a practical, functional and successful home office environment and is based on the premise that clutter is the enemy of creativity, and being uncomfortable is the enemy of being productive.

Desk placement – the power position. Many years ago, when I moved into my first office, it came with a pre-existing desk placed in a pre-existing position, which meant my back was to the door and I was facing a plain, blank wall. Every time someone walked into the office, it was a little bit startling and uncomfortable. At first, I did not have an awareness on a conscious level, but looking back in hindsight, I know that I was sensing a bit of dreariness in addition to the uncomfortable feeling that people were sneaking up on me.

Fortunately, I had a visitor one day who gave me a crash course in the basic principles of Feng Shui and explained that I needed to place my desk in the power position. The power placement was diagonally across from the door so that I could see most of the room, and I could see people coming in. This was a BFO (blinding flash of the obvious). Just that one simple common-sense change, that I was able to make all by myself, without spending money on movers or designers, improved my energy. I felt stronger. I even felt smarter. Without extensive reading on the topic, I did find empirical evidence of truth by observing my cat, who for years, exhibited a strong preference for sitting way up high on top of the van so that she could survey her holdings. Her holdings clearly extended to everything in our yard as well as to everything in all of the neighbor’s yards for as far as her cat’s eye could see from her power position on top of the van. After I moved my desk, I understood her point of view more fully and told her that she had been right all along.

Ergonomics – your home office desk chair. Whether we are white collar or pajama no collar home office workers, we sit a lot in a chair at our desk. There’s no question that sitting in the same position for an extended amount of time can lead to more back, shoulder, arm and leg stress. A good ergonomic office chair, tuned to your specifications, can support your body and help you maintain health and productivity. A good chair can change your energy for the positive as much as anything. Being uncomfortable all day is the enemy of productivity.

A friend of mine kindly donated a rolling office chair to me when I was first getting started in business. He told me a great story about how the chair was green, the color of money, and about how he made his first million sitting in that chair. It was made of metal with a green leather covering, very durable, possibly as indestructible as a bowling ball. Fortunately for us, they don’t make chairs like that anymore. It was the opposite of an ergonomically correct chair in accordance with the principles of Feng Shui because it was painfully uncomfortable. No matter how free it was, it had to go…. just not something to skimp on. I like to think that chair found its way to the Smithsonian.

Clutter is the enemy of good. If you are a work from home office hoarder, this next section could be a nightmare and not a good read. Here is a definitive statement about clutter. If you look at clutter in your home office workspace, it can suck the life out of you like those soul sucking dementor creatures in Harry Potter. Clutter drains your energy. Clutter is the enemy of creativity and the friend of procrastination, chaos and disorder.

I love the fantastic work of Marie Kondo to help us with decisions. Marie Kondo wants you to answer just one simple question when it comes to any of the items in your house or home office: Does it bring you joy? If you answer yes, you keep the item. If you answer no, you throw the item out or donate it.

A Room with A View. If you do not have a window or beautiful view available in your home office, there are various remedies. This may not be one of the official Feng Shui “cures,” but there are some stunningly beautiful wall images that are the next best thing to a window with a view. They are not that expensive but can be tricky to apply to the wall. There are many other images for the wall that can inspire you toward what you want to achieve. Images related to your business are best. Other more official “cures” are water features such as aquariums or fountains that connect us to nature and reduce stress. Colors are also important with different meanings and energies and should resonate with you as an individual. According to Feng Shui, choose neutral or gray for calming, blue for clarity and inspiration, or white for mental focus. At my old house, I had a view, there was a tree by my home office window on the second floor. My cat liked to climb up that tree and sit on a limb to keep me company. She was able to survey her holdings from the tree as well as from the top of the van—and of course, I was one of them.

Tracie Chancellor