Productivity Tip: Use a Sun Lamp

by in Productivity Tips

I live in Minnesota. Even though summer days are long, with well over 12 hours of daylight, I spend most of my time in my basement office. I hear kids outside playing. I hear birds chirping. I get a certain amount of light through my three office windows, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I love bright sunshine.

Last summer I felt this same way and decided to do something about it. I spent $50 and got this sun lamp from (Amazon has several hundred different models to choose from). I have an L-shaped desk and it sits behind me. I use it for about 30 minutes each morning as I check email and make my daily to-do list. I am glad I made the investment.

I used to think that these types of devices were for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka seasonal depression). I never thought of myself as depressed and therefore, resisted the idea of buying a lamp for years. Last summer I found myself literally craving the sunlight – much like I crave chocolate or an afternoon iced tea – and decided it wouldn’t hurt to buy a portable unit to try out.

Did I mention that I’m glad I bought one? Starting my day with 30 minutes of bright light increases my productivity all day long. I am generally a positive, upbeat person, but I noticed that my mood was even better on the days when I’d sit in my pseudo-sunlight. As a result of an improved mood, I find myself with more energy to get things done. I am more open to creative ideas and resilient to obstacles that are a natural part of being self-employed. As a side benefit, I find myself with increased patience with my husband and kids.

I do lots of other things aimed at helping my productivity. I try to eat well. I get exercise a few times each week. I keep to-do lists. I have a long-range vision. Yet, I’ve found my sun lamp to be one of the best things I’ve done for my productivity.

What do you do to keep your energy level up when you work from home and maybe even out of a basement office like me?

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About the Author - Carrie Rocha

Carrie Rocha has been a WAHM since January 2010. She and her Brazilian husband, Marco, have two young girls. In June 2006 the Rocha’s decided to get out of $50,000+ in debt. Two and a half years later they’d reached their goal. Compelled to help others based on what they’d learned, Carrie founded When she’s not online she’s eating chocolate, being a media correspondent on consumer issues, public speaker, or busy writing her soon-to-be-published book Pocket Your Dollars: 6 Attitude Changes That Will Help You Pay Down Debt, Avoid Financial Stress, and Keep More of What You Make (Bethany House, 2013).


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette June 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Hi Carrie,

What a great idea! I have a sunlamp but I only use it to wake me up early on winter mornings. I think I’ll try your trick to see if it helps during the cloudy days year around. I do sit outside each day, several times a day, because you’re right – the sunlight makes a huge difference in mood, motivation, and productivity. Thank you!



Ashley Coombe June 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

I’m going to do this! What a fantastic idea, thank you!

I wish it made me look like I’ve been in the sun too, instead of looking like I’ve been in a cave :)


Loretta Oliver June 21, 2012 at 6:29 am

We’re looking into buying the house we rent right now and putting an addition on, I was thinking of adding a sunroom/office so I can pretend that I get outside every now and then :-p


Deborah Carney June 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Carrie you may have just hit upon one of the reasons I love the southwest so much! Sunlight! When I lived in Las Vegas and I started feeling gloomy I would go outside in the 100 degree heat and just soak in the sun for a few minutes. I told everyone it was like having a whole body heating pad for a few minutes, but after reading your post I realize that the sunlight contributed also!

Will have to look into getting one of those lamps :)


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