Debbie Travis: Improve home-office energy using feng shui guidelines

Dear Debbie: When is working at home a bad idea? I find it a real struggle to put aside home tasks and unrelated phone calls and get down to concentrating on my paying job as an accountant.

Should I rent office space?

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For many people, working at home solves myriad challenges, including time lost travelling and food expenses. Also, cutting down on sick days is easier when you don’t have to venture out.

Having a home office can be ideal with today’s computer connections, but it also depends on your career choice. Many accountants work from home, so consider how you can better situate yourself to close out home distractions and concentrate on your clients.

In her recent book Holistic Spaces, 108 ways to create a mindful and peaceful home, interior architect Anjie Cho lays out how to create spaces using many disciplines. She thinks of feng shui as the original “green” design and looks at how the environment affects us on an energetic level, as well as how we affect the environment.

The philosophy of where to situate furniture in relation to doors and windows, what should or should not be in a room and how we can benefit by following these rules is an ancient one, and not often thought about in western societies.

But so much of Cho’s guidance is backed by a combination of common sense and tested theories that it is a valuable companion, especially if you are struggling with home anxieties.

There is a chapter on each room in the house, including home offices. Think about making some of the following changes before you settle for renting. You might be pleasantly surprised.

A high priority is to create a separate space for your office. If you are not able to dedicate an entire room, then plan a way to keep your desk separate from the rest of the room it is sharing. Do this with a room screen, by hanging an attractive fabric panel or by using a freestanding bookshelf.

Or, as shown here, position a large plant as a screen. As a bonus, Cho notes that a green plant brings in more life energy for growth in your career.

It’s important to place your desk in a position of command, preferably facing the door and the expanse of the room. If you are facing a wall, then put a mirror on the wall in front of your desk to expand your view.

Another option is to create a storyboard that is inspiring. Facing a window directly can break down concentration. It’s best to position yourself with the window at your side.

Clutter on your desk is inevitable, but keep it to a minimum and keep it flowing. (Lose the stale inbox.)

Cho recommends a wood or solid opaque desktop to ensure financial stability and success.

It’s up to you to set strict guidelines regarding your work time. Do not answer personal calls.

Try instrumental music as a way to shut out distractions. Change up your desk view; add fresh flowers, an antique mirror frame, a funky desk lamp.

You will look forward to your time at work with a positive environment that fills you with energy and purpose.

Written by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email decorating questions to Follow Debbie at,,

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