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This Is How Simply Changing The Lighting Can Make You Perform Better

This Is How Simply Changing The Lighting Can Make You Perform Better

We have all experienced, either consciously or subconsciously, the different effects that lighting can have on us: the disco light ball enhances the upbeat feeling we get on the dance floor, an entirely different atmosphere is created by a candle lit dinner. However, have you thought that lighting can affect your performance significantly?

In a study published in the journal Optics Express, Kyungah Choi and Hyeon-Jeong Suk look at the way lighting can boost student success in the classroom.

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Research Background

In the preliminary and main study, Choi and Suk examined the effects of different correlated color temperatures (CCTs). The CCT characterizes the color of a given light source. A low CCT gives out a light that appears “warm” or yellowish white. A high CCT gives out a light that appears “cool” or bluish white.

The Preliminary Study

In the preliminary study that was conducted in a laboratory using adult volunteers, Suk and Choi examined the effects of different CCT lighting conditions on the adults’ levels of physiological alertness. They did this by taking an electrocardiogram (ECG), a type of measurement that is affected by the alerted state of a person. The study took place in a room that had an LED luminous ceiling. The researchers could control the CCTs of the lighting.

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Results

It was found that the 6500 K lighting condition caused the highest level of physiological alertness, and that the 3500 K condition caused the volunteers to feel the most relaxed.

Main Study

In the main study, Choi and Suk studied two classrooms of fourth-grade students. The students were taking math tests. In one classroom, there were LED lights that could be tuned to a CCT of 3500 K (a “warm” or yellowish white light), 5000 K (a neutral light), and 6500 K (a “cool” or bluish white light akin to natural daylight). The other classroom was fitted with standard fluorescent lights — this classroom acted as the control.

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Results

The students achieved the best math test scores when they worked under the 6500 K lighting condition. When they were exposed to 3500 K lighting, they performed best on recess activities.

“The preliminary study and the field experiment fully supported a positive effect of 6500 K lighting on academic performance and 3500 K lighting on encouraging recess activities,” said Choi.

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The students were also interviewed by the researchers to see if they noticed any changes in the lighting and/or their academic success.

According to Suk, “We were surprised by the fact that besides observing the performance improvement during the mathematical test, the interview results with young children — who have almost no background knowledge on lighting — were also in line with our empirical results.” Based on this information, Suk stated “This shows that the effect of lighting was direct and intuitive and that anyone, regardless of age or level of knowledge, could experience and be aware.”

Conclusion and Suggestions

The researchers came to the conclusion that the 6500 K “cool” light may be used to support a student’s learning during intensive academic activities, the 5000 K neutral light is good for reading activities, and the 3500 K “warm” light can be used to create a relaxed atmosphere that may be used when a recess activity is taking place.

Lighting may thus prove to be a useful tool in the classroom. A teacher can better control the mood of the class and the learning environment if he or she has the ability to adjust the lights as they see appropriate. This may be a real possibility as the research team have created a mobile-app-based dynamic lighting system that allows one to choose the lighting conditions of “easy,” “standard,” and “intensive”.

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Rebecca Beris

Rebecca is a wellness and lifestyle writer at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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