I get distracted easily, to the point I sometimes wonder if I have ADD (hopefully not).
However, when I’m fully engaged and submerged into whatever I was working on, nothing much can derail me until I ran out of steam.
The problem? Getting fully submerged was the hardest part, especially when I’m about to write or do some daunting tasks, such as learning to use video editing tools or mastering online collaboration tools. It usually takes me several cups of coffee and restroom breaks before I can really start focusing.
That’s when I figured that I should test some Feng Shui principles on desk placement.
What happened next was that the amount of distractions I had was significantly lowered. Also, I noticed that I can sit and continue working for longer durations without taking breaks.
I am sharing with you what I did with my desk using 3 basic feng shui principles. If these are applicable to your work space, and if you have a chance to implement them, comment below and let me know if they worked for you.
Remember that these tips can work in home or company offices, but applying them in a business setting may take a lot of work. For this reason, you should contact a company that offers design and installation services in your area to transform your office space effortlessly.
Sit with your back against a wall
On a more granular level, feng shui talks about having a mountain behind the back of a house for support and protection. The concept is also applied on a smaller scale, such as the headboard of a bed and a wall behind your desk.
With your back against a wall, you will minimize distractions from behind. From personal experience, these distractions include:
- The sound of footsteps walking towards you from behind
- The sound of chatter behind you (“Are they talking about me?”)
- Unfamiliar voices and sound that’ll make you turn around
- The co-worker or boss who loves to sneak up from behind to see what you have on your computer screen
With your back against a wall, you’ll notice that these distractions are less distracting when they are NOT coming from behind. Perhaps it’s that insecure feeling we get when we cannot see what’s going on behind us. It’s a similar type of feeling when you hear or feel someone walking behind you in a less-busy street.
Some people sit with a window behind. Though you won’t get any distractions from your co-workers, sunlight (or reflections of the sunlight from other buildings) can cause glare on your computer monitor, making it hard for you to read or to accomplish anything.
If you do have this problem, hopefully you have blinds or curtains so you don’t have to invest in that silly “laptop compubody sock” to help you eliminate glare.
No busy walkways or doors in front of your desk
Feng shui has many rules on doors and walkways. Some popular rules include where the bathroom door is faced towards and whether your front door has a walkway that leads to the end of the house.
I used to work at an office with an open office layout where my desk was right next to a 50 feet (15 meters) walkway. Every time when someone walks towards me, I get distracted by thoughts such as “should I say hi?” or “what does he want from me?” Most of the time, I had no idea whether that person needed to talk to me or was just passing by.
What was more distracting was when my boss was walking towards me. Most of the time, I tended to stare at him just to see whether he needed something from me. Other times, I have to make an effort to avoid eye contact.
For those with a door right in front of your desk, you may find yourself distracted by that door, anticipating when it would open. Also, you might find yourself using that door more often, as your mind is likely drift away by the tasks outside that door. How this distracts our concentration differs by experience, environment, and the individuals.
Desk facing a glass wall or window to a busy area
Feng shui also has a few rules about windows, and a more well-known one is about sleeping with your head under a window.
If the immediate front of your desk is a window, you attention may be easily drawn to what’s happening outside that window.
According to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, our attention is naturally drawn to any unexpected object for one-tenth of a second before returning to look at the intended location. These unexpected objects can include planes, birds, or other movements you see in neighboring office buildings.
The number of distractions you have is significantly higher if you are on the first floor.
For instance, I used to work on the first floor of an office building with glass walls, which overlooked the entrance of the entire office building. If your desk is facing that window, you will notice the people who are entering and exiting the building. Sometimes you can’t help but notice those that are peeking or looking inside that glass wall.
Here’s the office building where I used to work at:
No wonder my co-worker, whose desk was facing that glass wall, kept complaining that he couldn’t concentrate. I thought he was just looking for something to complain about, but now I know the reason why.
So will your productivity skyrocket after you’ve implemented these productivity lessons? Maybe. All it does is to minimize distractions, and the effects of the desk placement on productivity vary by individual.
I’ve seen people who are able to focus even when surrounded by numerous distractions. For me, I get distracted, and I need all the help I can get.
Perhaps I’m better fit for a cubicle office. I have yet to work in an office space like that, but it seems to me that it blocks out many of the distractions I mentioned above.
If you’re like me and would like to get all the help you need to be more productive, then I have other tips for you in this article: 21 Productivity Lessons I learned from Feng Shui Principles.