Workrave Plug
Filed under: Editor at Large,RSI — Casey

Like any slave to the keyboard, I’ve had my share of RSI war wounds. I own “soft splints” that I wear to bed at night when I have a tendinitis (or tendonitis: both spellings are acceptable) flare-up in my wrists:

My splints
Bedtime: see no evil, type no evil

To reduce eyestrain, I wear yellow-tinted reading glasses (prescription: +1) when I use the computer:

Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Self-Portrait with Yellow Glasses (1971) as seen in The Guardian. Note: not me.

But the best preventive product I have found is the free Workrave software application. You can set your own micro-break times to stop staring at the monitor and look out the window. You can decide how many longer rest breaks you take during the day and how often. Workrave takes care of the most important task: making your computer completely inaccessible during the time you should be resting. Whatever editing or translation project (or blog entry) I’m working on disappears from the screen, replaced by a small box that clocks the time I should be away from the computer. But there’s no reason to look at the countdown–Workrave plays a sound when my break is over, to let me know that it’s time to get back to my writing.

I’m a natural workaholic and I tend to get very absorbed in a project. Workrave wakes me up and reminds me to take care of my body, so that my eyes and wrists will last as long as my mind can concentrate. The program also helps me to put what I’ve been learning in the Alexander Technique to use.

I highly recommend this free program to anyone whose livelihood depends on pointing and clicking.