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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

How to Add a Little Feng Shui to Your Desk for Under $15

clean desk

Does your desk feel like your oasis? Did you look at the current state of your desk right now and roll your eyes at the though that it could ever be described with that word? Well, hold that roll.

According to Feng Shui Architect R.D. Chin, it should.

Did Feng Shui architect throw you off? That’s fair. It’s not usually a title you hear on a career site.

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement, which seeks to transform your surroundings into a sanctuary that invites prosperity, luck, and good health. At its essence, the practice is guided by the belief that everything is energy—even inanimate objects are said to have a life force, called “chi.” By enhancing the flow of energy in your environment through Feng Shui principles, you can achieve harmony in your surroundings.

“Your office is literally your second home,” Chin says. “If you feel great working in your space, you’re balanced and happy. It’s essential to your health and wellbeing!”

And the good news is that you don’t need to send out an office-wide memo explaining why you’re going to be rearranging the entire floor. I spoke with Chin for his insights on how you can easily infuse ancient Feng Shui wisdom to optimize your work area and improve its energy, exactly where you are—whether you’re sitting in a cramped cubicle, a long open table, or a home office.

The idea is that by following these basics, you’ll unleash creative potential and productivity—and reap the health benefits.

Here are three things you can do this week:

1. Put out Flowers and Plants

If you can do only thing for your space, invest in a plant—or three! Research from Rutgers University links being around flowers to increased positivity, happiness, and energy, plus plants are air-purifiers. Chin recommends green living plants like bamboo, ivy, or jade to infuse life and energy into your office while reducing stress. “Plus, jade is money energy,” Chin adds. (And who wants to turn that away?)

Not sure where you’d buy these? Or when you’ll find the time? Here are three awesome options, all under $10:

White Pot With Succulent, $8

Log Mug Succulent Planter, $8

Bamboo Plant Arrangement, $10

2. Add Color

For those in tight quarters, Chin says adding a splash of color is the easiest way to feel happier and more productive. “Red is a very auspicious color, green is healing, purple is spiritual, and yellow saffron is a grounding earth energy,” Chin explains. Infuse color by simply draping a colorful shawl or scarf over your chair. If you have wall space, adding artwork, inspirational quotes, your favorite pictures, or even really fun pushpins can also introduce vibrant color.

Plus, science says art also gets the creative juices flowing. Nature photos in particular boosts productivity (It’s true: Looking at nature scenes—even for less than a minute and on your computer—helps you focus.)

Here are a few to get you started:

Colorful World Map, $8

Bright Tassel Garland, $7

America the Beautiful Postcard Set, $7

3. De-clutter Your Desk

A messy desk doesn’t just look bad: It adds stress and hampers productivity. And while an organizer is a great place to start, the little-known secret to truly taking your office Feng Shui to the next level is clearing clutter with a specific intention in your heart and mind.

“Creating an intention is a powerful element of Feng Shui. For example, I’ll wash the window with the intention of clarity for my business,” Chin says. “Or, I’ll clean my desk to welcome positive energy for my work to infuse it with positivity.”

So the next time you have a few minutes (or the next time you’re looking to procrastinate), think about doing a quick cleaning job.

Here are a few to get you thinking:

White Zigzag Desk Organizer, $8

Cable Clip Organizer Set, $6

Drawer Organizer, $12.50

Whether or not you believe in Feng Shui, the principles behind it have the power to improve the way you feel when you’re sitting at your desk, typing for hours on end. Who can argue against adding color to your workplace, buying a plant to add some life to your space, or decluttering?