Are you a geek? Are you a computer professional? Do you surf the web for a living, conduct your business online, or even just spend your day at the keyboard, online or off? Are you like me and work from home where the computer is always there, calling your name?
You need to take a break. Step away from the computer. Prolonged computer use can lead to some serious discomfort and even health issues.
The most common and well-known are Repetitive Strain Injury (commonly appearing as carpal tunnel) and eye strain.
In addition, back pain, headaches and mental fatigue are also byproducts of prolonged computer use.
These things are all preventable. Back pain, eye strain and repetitive stress injuries can all be minimized or prevented by taking the time to set up your computer workspace properly. Having the monitor at eye level and at the appropriate viewing distance with help with eye strain and headaches.
Having a good chair and sitting with good posture can take care of back pain (no, working from the hammock under the shade trees in the back yard, appealing as it is, is not the healthiest way to use your laptop).
Just Step Away from the Computer and Take a Break
And finally, just take a break. Make a plan to step away from the computer regularly. Stretch, walk around, go throw in a load of laundry, take the dog for a walk, go pull a few weeds, run an errand, make lunch.
Not only will taking a break help prevent back pain, eye strain and headaches, it will also clear your mind, help you refocus and re-energize you. Having a plan that includes breaks will help you increase productivity.
Set a timer if you need to. It is so easy at the computer to get lost in a task (or lost in web surfing) and not realize how much time has gone by. In amongst my stress-ball collection is a timer. I used it originally for the laundry (I can’t hear the dryer in the basement and I’m not good at keeping track of when the last load went in). Now I use it to schedule breaks. There are also computer apps that will do this for you.
Oh, and one other thing. No snacking at the computer. There are dozens, even hundreds of articles on the internet about how computer use causes weight gain. I’m not convinced. I don’t believe there’s a direct correlation between keyboard and mouse use and the numbers on the scale. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure there’s a VERY direct weight-gain correlation between sitting on your backside all day at the computer and snacking while you do it.
So, step away from the computer. Finish this article, leave me a comment, and then go take a walk with the dog. It will make your dog happy.
It will make you happy, too.