Truth: Writers sit. A lot. We sit and type. We sit and edit. We sit and read. We sit and dream. We sit while sifting through Twitter and Facebook posts, and while digesting blogs. And then we sit and type some more.
It probably goes without saying that it’s important to have a decent setup in our writing spot—that our work area, chair and desk all jive together, and complement the proportions of our bodies. It goes without saying and we think we’ve done all we need to do, but sometimes things aren’t feeling quite right. We have a stiff neck at the end of the day, or aching wrists, or our chair makes us uncomfortable and we can’t figure out why.
Here are a few pointers I hope can help.
On the Desk
- Place your keyboard and monitor front and center on your desk–never to the side of your work area–to prevent you from making awkward and potentially harmful body contortions in order to reach them.
- Make sure your computer monitor is at eye level, to reduce both eye and neck strain.
- Position your keyboard so that it’s accessible to you when your arm is bent 90 degrees at the elbow. The line of your forearm—from elbow to knuckles—should be parallel to the floor when you’re typing. Explains ergonomics expert Jonathan Bailin, Ph.D., “If you make a fist, the knuckles, top of the wrist, and forearm should form a straight line. When it is not extended or flexed, this is a neutral wrist posture.”
- Be sure your mouse is on the same plane as your keyboard. Placing your mouse on a higher plane can put excessive strain on your wrists, shoulders and spine, which can lead to a repetitive strain injury.
Wondering how all of these computer rules translate to use with your laptop? [Read more…]