Benko has Feng Shui'd everything from the largest private residence in Manhattan to a trailer in the Florida Keys. She lectures around the country, is a regular contributor to several home and decorating magazines and will be featured on Martha Stewart Radio on Sirus 112 or XM 157 April 8 at 10 a.m. For more information:
www.BenkoFengShui.com Below she explains how to Feng Shui one’s office environment.
Q. How can I Feng Shui my office space? I work in a shared space with several other people.
A. The workplace is where we spend a significant amount of time whether we enjoy it or not. Organization from a feng shui perspective is critical in working efficiently and making the best use of time. Follow the 9 tips below for an effective transformation.
FENG SHUI YOUR COMPUTER. The first place to start is categorizing all documents and emails into folders on your computer. Give thought to the labeling system that you create. Make sure that there is room to expand without being too vague. For example, unless you are dealing with specific names, an alphabetized filing system is least effective because it is likely your file can be categorized under different names. Once in place, re-evaluate this system every season and re-label or delete as needed.
2. FENG SHUI YOUR FOCUS. Don’t multi-task. By concentrating on each mission separately you are making the most efficient use of time. It is easy to kid one self and believe otherwise, but most mistakes happen when we sacrifice our concentration by spreading our attention in numerous directions. Multi-tasking leads to scattered energy and eventually projects take longer to accomplish. There are exceptions to this rule however, such as when you are mid-task and are forced to idle – for instance, being put on hold, waiting for an appointment to start or a client to arrive. Generally, try to keep a steady stream of focus on one task until it is complete and then move to another.
3. FENG SHUI YOUR ASSIGNMENTS. Delegating is a valuable way to give yourself more time to do the best job you can and to focus on your primary role. Judiciously choosing other trusted workers to carry out certain assignments on your behalf involves releasing the need for control and taking risks. Be sure to communicate tasks effectively and avoid the urge to micro-manage, spy or discourage.
4. FENG SHUI YOUR TIME. Feng Shui’ing your time means managing it effectively by factoring in delays, necessary brief breaks, interruptions and unexpected visitors. The balance occurs with firmly setting your boundaries when you cannot be disturbed. If after lunch is a particularly busy time for you, alert co-workers that you need absolute quiet time during that part of the day and underscore that need by closing your door or hanging a DO NOT DISTURB UNLESS IT'S URGENT sign.
5. FENG SHUI YOUR TO-DO LIST. Prioritize your TO-DO list into two categories: High Priority and Priority. High Priority tasks MUST get done today. Always tackle those issues first. Include actions under either category in list form according to your needs such as a Must Call list, A Must Read List or a Must Pay List.
6. FENG SHUI SOCIALIZING. In some ways, socializing is an integral part of the job, but there are productive and non-productive ways to do so. Gossiping, group cigarette breaks or lingering over long personal conversations are all unproductive uses of time. Set boundaries and do not let personal feelings interfere with professional ones. Strive for balance.
7. FENG SHUI YOUR MIND. Feng Shui your mind by having a clear intention of your professional role, daily goals and a sense of inner strength. Meditation is a great way to ground and focus oneself, reduce stress and develop calmness. When chaos erupts around you, if your inner core is unwavering you will have a boost over others who may crumble under pressure. Try starting the day with a personal mantra that you say to yourself for nine times as you are entering your workplace.
Examples of work mantras:
Today I am calm and assured and flowing with confidence.
I am productive, resourceful and wise in all tasks, choices and statements I make.
Today I will finish one project before I start another.
8. FENG SHUI YOUR EMAIL. Get into the habit of only checking your email a limited amount of time per day. For most occupations this is not a problem but there are other professions that heavily rely on Internet communication throughout the day. Lets say you are a stockbroker, trader or financial advisor and your job revolves around email and instant message communication on a minute-by-minute basis. In that case you could prioritize incoming emails with color code systems by setting up your email address book entrees by color if your email program allows. In this way, for example, a quick glance identifies emails from clients in red, family in green or new projects in orange. If you rely on frequent use of instant messaging in your profession, take advantage of the availability notices such as “In a meeting” or “Unavailable”. Discourage others from sending you the dreaded multi-forward chain mails that tell you to “send to 10 people or your wish won’t come true”. Most people abhor these but suffer from a social or superstitious obligation to comply. One busy client created a standard response to continuous solicitations from her well-meaning friends and colleagues who bombarded her: “ I thank you for thinking of me, however, I have had to make it a practice to not respond to chain emails that require me to pass it along to the masses out of respect for the wishes of my email address book recipients. I would love to hear from you personally rather than receive multi-forward chain emails that I cannot pass on. I thank you for thinking of me and understanding my situation.”
9. FENG SHUI YOUR DESK. Choose only often-used action items to be on the surface of your desk. Next, place these items according to how they relate to each gua (section) of the Feng Shui map called the Bagua. ( See diagram). Imagine every object as if it is sitting on a power spot with the energy of that gua resonating to that object. For example, if you are a graphic designer, writer or software programmer and you rely on your computer for a source of income then place the computer in the Wealth section of your desk. If you count on customers for your source of income, place your Rolodex, telephone or customer database in the wealth area. Customers are also considered helpful people, so your telephone or appointment book is perfectly suited in this area too. An inbox or file folders positioned in the knowledge gua serve as a reminder for the need for wise resolution. Pencils, pens and tools can inspire our creativity and work well in that gua. If creativity is essential to your livelihood, place an object that instigates that force within you in that spot. Try to keep the center of your desk clear. Not only does it give the appearance of a cleaner desk, it represents the Health area and should never be cluttered.