My (home) office is in a small attic conversion. I have a large window right in front of me, and a smaller one behind. Light from the small window creates a reflection on the monitor, so its shade stays down. I like a lot of light in the room, so I prefer keeping the shade on the large window open.
The large window faces south, and overlooks my backyard. The trees on the mount provide the backdrop. When the sun is up, the south-face means it shines straight through the window, and into my eyes. There’s a cluster of trees to the east end of the backyard that stops the sun coming in early in the morning. Later in the evening, the sun dips sufficiently to the West for the light to not fall straight on me. However, if the sun is out, for most of the day it shines straight into my eyes, forcing me to close the shade—darkening the room.
…if the sun is out.
That phrase is at the centre of my paradox.
I am happier when it is sunny. I am also a lot more productive when there’s a lot of light in my room. Sadly, the position of the window means that I can’t be both.
If the sun is out, I can’t keep the window open so am neither uber-productive nor very happy.
If the sun is not out, I can keep the window open, so am quite productive, if not as happy.
This is where the seasons also make a play. In winter, the days are short, and the sun rarely makes an appearance even in those short days. This makes most people sad, including me. But this also means that I can keep the window shade open all day. This gives a tremendous boost to my productivity (and relative mood).1
In summer, the days are long, and the sun makes an appearance more often. So I need to keep the window shade closed most days—a dampener to both productivity and the mood. The mood recovers a bit from walking/running in the sun during the midday break, but productivity does suffer.
Why am I writing this now? Because I just recorded this observation.
I had quite a productive autumn-winter-spring this year. However, I have been struggling a bit to keep the work going at the same pace since the sun started showing up. However, for the last 10 days or so, we have had a fair amount of rain and rain-like weather. This has meant very little strong sun, and I have been able to keep the window shades open. Productivity has been through the roof!
Dear Her Majesty’s Weather Formulation Service, if you are listening, here’s a request:
- Sunny, bright, settled weekends, and
- drizzling, mild, clouded over weekdays.
You may ignore the second part of the rule during my vacations and non-working weekdays.
- I also start work early. So, in winter, by the time sun comes up and over the trees, I’ve completed a good 4+ hours of deep work, and it is already time for a long break. In summer, it’s bright outside before I wake up. It still gives me a couple of hours before the sun breaks over the tree line. ↩