Need to increase your memory retention? Study these tips and change your workspace so you can boost productivity and increase energy flow

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Help! I am a 53-year-old female, and I just found out that I will have to pass an exam in order to get a raise. I thought I had ample time to take this test, but the deadline is next month. My memory retention is horrible. Do you have any suggestions?

Ah … memory retention! Certain environmental things can be done to optimize learning and information absorption. The tips I share in this article are not only excellent for learning environments, but can also be used in your home office to support greater productivity.


A short story about my memory

Recently, I found out that I have a not very well-known dysfunction called “prosopagnosia,” or face blindness, the inability to recognize faces. My case is not severe. I can easily recognize those I see on a regular basis, but am unable to recognize others with whom I have spent only a few hours or see only once in a while.


I was relieved to have an explanation after all these years, and I’m sharing it because if you are a client who I have physically met but whom I seem not to recognize on the street, stop me if I walk past you, and, when you do stop me, tell me your name and mention how I know you. My memory otherwise is intact!

Tips for absorbing and retaining information

Unfortunately, no amount of feng shui can help me with my prosopagnosia, but I can use feng shui to enhance my study and work area and maximize the energy for absorbing and retaining information. Follow these tips to build a physical foundation for retention:

Tip #1: Check your positioning

If at all possible, position yourself in the corner of your room, farthest from the entrance with a solid wall to your back, giving you the greatest command of your space. You want to be able to see the entire room from your desk. If this is not possible, at the very least, sit facing the entrance, and if that is not feasible, place a mirror on the desk so that you can see behind you.

Tip #2: Have good lighting

Although this may seem like common sense, one of the classic rules in feng shui is to have proper and appropriate lighting. You can use two lamps for optimum brightness, but ensure that the light is gentle on your eyes, so avoid fluorescents whenever possible. If you must use fluorescent lighting, use an incandescent lamp simultaneously to counter the harshness.

Tip #3: Neaten your work, study area

Disorganization causes stress and impedes learning, but a tidy work area fosters a sense of order, enhances concentration, brings good energy and aids in de-stressing. So remove all unnecessary and distracting items before you start working, keeping 50 percent of your desk visible at all times.

Tip #4: Do not work under overhanging shelves


In feng shui, shelving directly over your desk symbolizes burdens hanging over your head and can also represent headaches, which, of course, you want to avoid at all costs.

Tip #5: Use metal elements in your study area

Metal is an excellent element for a study area, bringing the qualities of clarity, efficiency and precision. To help maintain focus, use metal accessories such as pens, lamps, pencil holders, even a metal clock. Using a metal desk, though, can result in metal overload, creating a cold and uninviting environment.

Tip #6: Use hematite for grounding

If you are the type who likes to have stones or something “lucky” in your work environment, hematite, considered a metal element because of its shiny surface, will help you concentrate and ground your energy.

Tip # 7: Bamboo helps your concentration, positive energy flow

Decorative bamboo on your desk helps you stay focused and fosters positive energy flow, and entwined fronds energetically enhance information retention. For positive energy flow, the more stalks the better.

Base the number of stalks you use on what you want to achieve. One stalk means simplicity and a meaningful life; two stalks mean love; three stalks mean wealth, happiness, and long life, or longevity. (The word for four in Chinese is similar to death, so using four stalks is considered rude and unlucky.) Five stalks mean wealth in all four bodies, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Six stalks mean peace, harmony and good luck; seven stalks mean good health; eight stalks mean growth and prosperity; nine stalks mean great luck, or good fortune, and 10 stalks mean perfection or wholeness. Twenty-one stalks mean blessings.


Whether you apply one or all of these tips to your work or study space, you will help to create the best possible environment for concentration, memory retention, productivity and energy flow. Now, if I can only figure out a way to help me remember faces!

Alice Inoue is a life guide at Alice Inoue Life Guidance LLC, a company committed to assisting people in living empowered lives. Alice shares her wisdom as a professional speaker and personal consultant, and offers a series of instructional DVDs on feng shui, as well as her award-winning books on feng shui, happiness and spiritual life wisdom. Visit to read her blog, sign up for her newsletters and download useful feng shui tips.