I have studied time management since 1996 when I first taught a college class on the subject. While day timer systems and high tech label makers have their place in keeping me focused on my priorities, I find a Saturday morning dedicated to doing a Feng Shui assessment of my environment is as useful - and much more fun.
Feng Shui, for those who missed the trend, is an ancient and complex Chinese system of aesthetics dedicated to using the flow of energy, as understood by the Chinese and often called qi or chi, to help us improve our life by inviting the flow of positive energy.
It is possible to dedicate one’s life to the study of Feng Shui but I have found reading enough books to develop a very basic understanding of the principles and techniques has given me a fun and beautiful process for identifying my priorities in both life and business and establishing my intentions for the future.
Here, in a few brief steps, is my simple practice of refocusing using Feng Shui.
Feng Shui, using a beautiful and complex map called the Bagua, divides life into these energy flows: fame, relationship, children/creativity, helpful people, career, knowledge/spirituality, family/past, wealth and fame.
Without delving further into the environmental design principles of Feng Shui (though that is where the fun is), stop for moment and, from a business leadership perspective, consider your satisfaction with the flow of energy in each of these areas of your life/business.
In business we call this marketing but the essence of marketing is your answer to these questions:
- Who do you want to be known as?
- What would you like to accomplish?
This is the area that conducts the energy of your relationships, including your relationship with your existing customers and vendors. In what ways could this flow be improved?
Children or Creativity
Here is the energy of the future. This is the potential of all the things we hope to give birth to. What new business initiative or inspiration can you usher into reality?
Helpful people are all those people you come in contact with who aid and direct you. How might you expand the energy of this area by being a helpful person to your clients and customers?
How do you provide service and give back to the world. All small businesses must contribute something of value. What do you contribute now? How can you improve?
This area includes all aspects of self knowledge as well as educational pursuits. For business purposes explore in what areas you can improve your skill or knowledge in order to better serve your customers.
Family and Past
Who is your family? In business this could be your mastermind group, your networking group, your staff, or your most loyal customers. How can you reach out and strengthen your family ties?
Money is just another energy force. Consider your relationship with money and how you might wish it to change. To increase the flow, what is the power you must contribute?
Change Your Environment to Change the Energy Flow
Feng Shui is an intricate and magical system, rich with metaphors, omens and powerful symbols. At a very basic level, each of the life areas listed above is associated with a physical area of your environment. The value of the Feng Shui point of view for the westerner is in the creativity unleashed when we examine our lives and businesses through this unusual lens.
Move your desk and feel the power, change the color of your room and invite more business, hang a wind chime and welcome an increased flow of money. There may seem to be little practical connection between the placement of your furniture and your balance sheet but I have found practicing Feng Shui, even as an amateur, helps me become clear about what it is I desire. By making changes to my environment I am, on a subtle level, inviting the universe to partner with me in my success.
The Short Version
With just the information provided here, you can focus on one area of your life or business and begin to provide mental energy. Consider in what simple ways you can clear away the energetic blocks in that area to increase the flow of qi. Often the first thing to do is to literally clear the clutter, either physical or mental, in that area of your home or office. It is simple but powerful.
Try it. Just the simple act of setting an intention in one of these areas and making space for the realization of that intention can create magic.
To learn more about how to use the Bagua and how to apply the principles of Feng Shui in your environment, start with Feng Shui: Harmony by Design by Nancy SantoPietro. I’ve read many basic books on the subject and this is the one I keep coming back to.
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