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Desk Landscaping - Organise your desk for a productive day

By James Stone 12 / 04 / 16
  • Each morning I come into the office, make a cup of tea and then head over to my desk. Although I am a reasonably tidy person, my desk is always unrecognisable at 9am. My personal organisation has been disregarded by the lovely lady who cleans our office each night, and my first task of the day is to reposition the tools of my trade until I am happy with the layout.

    This may sound like a complaint, its not! I like this arrangement, it puts me into work mode, buys me enough time to process some caffeine and unleash my productivity. I do hear grumbles from certain desks about monitor alignment and headset placement, but you can’t please everyone.

    My point is this, as office folk, we all prefer our desks a certain way. Complete with areas to address stress levels, keep our blood sugar levels up and brighten our working day.

  • Apart from the obvious, is your desk arranged for stress relief? Motivation? Encouraging prosperity? Intimidation? Although it is your personal area, it is important to keep in mind the way that it affects other people. People are judged on their appearance, and this extends to the way they organise their working space.

    The most complex school of thought concerning desk organisation is feng shui which focuses on promoting the flow of positive energy. Areas of your desk represent different areas of your life. Creating a visual representation of the things that you wish to improve or are important in your life.

  • The western world has not fully embraced this concept yet, however there is much that can be drawn from this chi oriented organisation!

  • Feng shui teaches that displaying personal achievements helps you achieve the fame and reputation which you seek in your life.

    Your outlook may not fit perfectly with this, but even the most pessimistic person about the value of chi can see the benefit in having a picture of yourself completing a marathon on display, or an object which sparks conversation. These objects often help in making a good first impression, which can be invaluable when meeting clients or talking to somebody further up the hierarchy.

    People on average pass judgement within the first 7 seconds of meeting someone new. Use this time to your advantage, and the halo effect can elevate you to angelic status.

  • Having your desk squarely facing the doorway is seen as a very powerful position within the office, this prime working real estate is tough to attain in an office with more than one occupant. One way to up your positional power is to use a mirror to get a better view of the office entrance. This might not have quite the same effect as being centre stage, but it does alert you to somebody entering the office, helping you to make the first connection for your office. It also acts as a handy tool in keeping procrastination private, for the employees who seek a bit of downtime in their working day.

  • “Organising is what you do before you do something. So that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.”


  • The flow of chi is said to be aided by an area of your desk which represents wealth or prosperity. This could be a plant, which can grow alongside your bank account or something expensive which displays your status.

    The addition of greenery and colour to your desk has many benefits other than its metaphorical value. Visually it adds something different to your workspace, while also adding routine to your day as it will need regular watering if it is to remain green. Possibly the strongest argument for a living addition to your desk is a plant which brings with it a nice aroma, to help counteract any crop dusting co-workers!

  • The presence of a blank sketchbook encourages creativity, allowing you to unleash your inner Dali. Or if you have a similar artistic ability to me, doodle to your hearts content.

    If cross-hatching sends a shiver down your spine, you could try something more hands on. Like an artists mannequin or one of those metal pin toys, which would allow you to create an indented mould of the emotion on your face after closing a big deal. Or capture the stress of a particularly frustrating day.

  • However you organise your desk, make it an expression of your personality. Like your clothes, it is a visual representation of you as a person. Being comfortable in your work space is essential, don’t sacrifice sanity for aesthetics.

    Keep an open mind and always look to change your working environment to match your professional success and aspirations.