Monday Blues or Blue Light?

  • by Austin White

Monday Blues or Blue Light? 

Monday is always the start of the new week: new goals, new plans, new diets. (it’s officially the holidays, just give up) and for most a reset to restart and start fresh. However, by the end of the day, you’re already behind on that “huge project”, that lunch meeting could have been just an email and the temptation of Monday donuts with your coffee is just too great. Sound familiar?
Why do we put so much pressure on a single day of the week and hate it so much at the same time? It’s what humans always do. We need a start line with a clear win or lose perspective. Life is never that black and white, and like always we end up resenting the whole thing. We mistake what drives us, for what exhausts us. What is the need to have pride in how tired or depleted we are? We all have that friend or co-worker who takes gleeful pride in only sleeping three hours a night and burning the midnight oil. The problem with this mind set is that you are not working on or better any skill, other than simply staying awake.
 Having your eyes open does not mean your brain is on. Project will be hard, and we all get busy, however you’ll get more done with less time the next day. Instead of staying two hours late, stay an extra thirty-minutes, get an extra hour of sleep, and come in a half hour early. More often than not, you’ll produce more accurate, better quality work that reflect the best of you. You want a return on the time you invest in anything, including yourself. If you are unable to do that, how can anyone else? Hard on you does not equal quality performance. What is the solution to this? Like anything, there are multiple variables to the issue. With some perspective, it might be something as simple as the light over your head.

 

What does a better work environment look like to you?

  • Did I get enough sleep the night before? Why not?
  • What seemed to delay me getting anything done?
  • Did my workday have a balance between performance and productivity?

Here are a couple options to consider the next time you’re beating yourself up at the end of yet another underperformed Monday.

  • Why am I not getting enough sleep? I turn off my computer and phone, yet I still wake up feeling like a zombie. What about the rest of your lights? What’s the point of turning off your devices, if the lamp next to you is emitting unbalanced harsh blue light? You’re beating your brain and eyes up before you even start your day. What do you mean by unbalanced? We as humans regulate our sleep and ability to be productive not just by when there’s light but how balanced it is. Most lighting is imbalanced to increase brightness. In turn this causes massive peaks in your lights color spectrum. Ever walk into work and immediately feel like you’ve been staring at the sun? This is minus the benefits of vitamin D and a nice sun-kissed looked. If you could keep the level of brightness in your light and still have it balanced, would you? We strive for a balanced life, why not a balanced light? Easier said than done.

 

  • What’s the delay? You’ve had your coffee, listened to that inspiring podcast, traffic was fine, kids made it on the bus and your phone is charged. Still though, by 11a.m you’ve lost all motivation and mental clarity. What’s the problem? Look up. How does that fluorescent imbalanced lighting feel? The purpose of an office, besides being a great tv show, is to be a collaborative and productive place. It’s a place to go that is focused on productivity and lacking distraction. If you can’t concentrate, if you can’t focus, if you can’t seem to find comfort in your setting, what’s the point? Before you blame your company or your role, try to think about why.

 

For most of us, our office has meant something different for the last seven months. It has almost become a refresher to our work. Despite the frustrations of zoom meeting, it just seems easier to get work done in our own space. Why though, it’s arguably more distracting, but it’s easier to focus. Is it the fact that you have a window now, even though it doesn’t really overlook anything? It can’t just be that, or our dog getting the zoomies in the middle of an important meeting? It just feels like a clarity of mind, you can’t explain it. What about the light in your home, or rather lack thereof of artificial or blue light? It’s hard to find your drive when your lighting is driving you right into the ground.

 

  • Did my workday have a balance between performance and productivity? We often forget that productivity is different than performance. You got everything on your “to do” list done, but is that translating into meeting performance expectations? It goes back to working smart, not just hard. What creates increased performance? It’s the intangibles, the things you can’t see. We all dress for success, burn the midnight oil and whatever turn of phrase you can think of. What’s the problem then? Think about this, how productive do you think you’d be if you had to stare at the sun eight hours a day? You’d be miserable and blind by the end of the day. Why do we not stare at the sun? The light is too bright for our eyes. We can enjoy sunlight and you can enjoy your lighting to, without ruining your retinas. What about the light in your office?

 

What does any of this have to do with the lighting in my home or office? Your first thought is probably “it’s just Monday”, “Karen better not try to bother me”, or even worse, “do I hate my job”? More often than not, people’s issue is not with their job, it is with their work environment. Lighting has more power than you think. If your office’s lighting has a blue spike, you’re not far off from staring at the sun. What is the point of decorating your workspace, bringing your pet to work day, or focus when you don’t have Solistic lighting? If we wanted to work harder and not smarter, we would still be working by candlelight with a quill pen. Instead of burning our office down or doing everything by hand, we have lighting and computers. That’s the end? Because we all still use Windows 98 and floppy disks? We improve our lives and environment with innovation. We developed better lighting, smarter computers, faster programs, etc. Has our lighting really changed though? It’s increased in brightness, but did it get better? Is our modern lighting working harder or smarter? Most spaces went to LED’s about a decade ago. We were able to save money, energy, and time with LED lighting.

 

With anything, it will improve over time with innovation. The future of performance, not just productivity is based in engineering better workplaces and balanced lighting. You want to perform, not just complete the task at hand. A work-life balance is about more than just work or life. It’s learning to have your light and enjoy it to.
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