For the last few months I have felt very unproductive in my home office. Over the last few months I have installed a nice home stereo receiver between my computer and a decent set of speakers, have my iPod hooked up to it, moved away from a TV, have my monitor and keyboard and a nice working height and have a comfortable chair to sit in. Even after all that I still get bored, get a headache and donï¿½t feel like doing real work for more then a half an hour.
It finally dawned on my sometime over the last few days. During the day, I work in a windowless office; however the lights are daylight balanced. That is to say, they closely resemble the color of normal sunlight. Day light savings means that when I get home in the early evening, it is pitch black outside, so I am once again in what is essentially a windowless environment, void of natural sunlight.
Without getting technical and boring, light has a temperature associated with it and is referred to as Kelvin. Kelvin uses the symbol K and usually follows a number indicating said Kelvin; an example would be 6500K. The easiest example I can provide is that of a newer BMW or Lexus car with the very blue-white headlights, while street lamps tend to be greener in color. Both are light sources however they are at different ends of the light spectrum. If you can grasp that, you can understand how light works a little better. A scale and more technical information can be seen here.
Normal daylight is about 6500K, while your average home light bulb is closer to 3200K; the later tend to be more greenish in color and can drastically change how items in your home look. My home, like most American homes, had your cheap light bulbs in every socket, emitting this horrible green cast. This was the key problem in my productivity.
After a chat with a co-worker, I was off to Wal-Mart after work to buy some bulbs on his recommendation, GE Reveal. They are full spectrum bulbs, but don’t be confused by the wording, some brands use the term wide spectrum, either is acceptable. They cost a few pennies more then the store brand but are worth every penny. Snagged a 4 pack of 75w bulbs for about $2.50 and went home to see how big of a difference could be made.
Installing them and flipping the switch was like seeing my home in a whole new light, no pun intended. The colors on my walls, art I have hung, even the fabric of my furniture looks slightly different, better even. Working tonight on my computer is great, well working is never a lot of fun but this makes it more bearable.
GE also offers some low wattage swirly bulbs that save energy and last up to five times longer then a standard bulb in what they are calling cool light. The package states on it 6500K, which is a great sign, but at nearly $7.00 for a two pack, I held off to see what the reveals could do for me. Since I leave my kitchen light on for my dog all day, that will most likely be where I test the new bulbs out, but I’m in no hurry.