HR-050816-Alice-2QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Help! I just found out that I will have to pass an exam in order to get a raise — and I’m not that young anymore. 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 for me?

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 also can be used in your home office or work office to support greater productivity.

Tip No. 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 No. 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 No. 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 No. 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 No. 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.

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.

Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment, where you’ll find inspiring classes geared toward personal growth and self-development. Visit