By Kenna Castleberry
Being at home during this social distancing has put a strain on our productivity. There’s been more procrastination, drinking, and TV watching now more than ever.
We try to set up our home offices to be our spaces for concentration and productivity, but it’s hard to do both when kids are yelling in the background, the dog needs to be let outside or there’s construction going on down the street.
While these are just a few of the new distractions we face in our social distancing lives, we can control how distracting our home office is by how we design it.
I’d like to give you some office feng shui tips to make your office space feel more productive and less distracting.
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1. Add more plants
Scientific studies have shown that people are more productive when plants are nearby. They also generally feel happier and more energized as well.
Plants can also help purify the air, such as the snake plant (Sansavaria), making you feel better in your own workspace. Plants also help the area to look neater and more professional, as well as create a natural screen between you and the rest of the house.
Common house plants that are easy to take care of include: English ivy, pothos, snake plants, jade plants, and ferns.
All these plants adapt to both light and dark environments, and need a decent amount of water, but overall are very low maintenance.
2. Minimize the desk clutter
It seems like a no-brainer to reduce the amount of paperwork, books, pens, and other things that may be sitting on your desk, but to do it is another thing entirely.
Utilize things such as binders to hold extra paper, or manila folders in filing cabinets. Desk drawers, bins, and pen holders are also helpful in reducing the number of loose items on your desk.
Studies have shown that people tend to feel more overwhelmed and have less productivity when sitting in an environment full of clutter than one that is free of it.
So, do yourself a favor and organize the bills, memos, and printouts into folders and take a deep breath.
3. Center your desk around your predominant hand
People tend to do this kind of feng shui naturally, so ignore this step if you’ve already done this.
Centering your desk around your predominant hand will help things to be more accessible and efficient as you establish a rhythm while you work.
For me, being right-handed, I have all my folders, pens, and calendar on the right side of my desk, so I can grab them easily and quickly, not losing my train of thought in the process.
The same goes if you’re researching, if you’re right hand dominant, put the book or reading material on the left side so you can write notes with your right hand.
Believe me, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and stress later.
4. Have a stress-ball handy
Not everyone needs a stress ball, but it is handy to have, especially when you’re sitting bored in a Zoom meeting and feel the need to do something.
Playing with a stress ball allows your hands to be busy, and you to feel more engaged. It sounds weird, but scientists have found that keeping busy with your hands, such as doodling, can actually help you retain more information.
So next time you have a long meeting coming up, keep that stress ball handy.
5. Make sure your chair is supportive and comfortable
This seems pretty self-explanatory, but in today’s world of home offices, anything can be used as an office chair, causing your posture and back to feel the unpleasant results.
Find out how best you sit in a chair, far back or closer to the front, and determine if you need any pillows or cushions to support yourself for a more comfortable and productive posture.
I tend to sit towards the edge of my chair, so I have a large pillow behind me for me to rest my back against to feel more supported and comfortable.
Uncomfortable chairs can easily distract you as you concentrate on your bad posture or back pain instead of your work. Make sure that your office chair can support your body and your productivity.
There are many other ways you can design a functional and productive office space at home through your own version of feng shui, but we hope these suggestions can get you started and help you feel less distracted.
There is no right way to design your home office; there are many things you can do to help yourself out in the long run to make sure you can do your best work in your own space. So, go check out your space and get to rearranging!