What You’ll Do: Setting time limits on your computer usage and establishing a daily routine of breaks is essential to maintaining the long-term health of your hands and wrists. This week, you’ll put some limits on your time at the computer, learn to take more frequent breaks and give your body a rest.
How It Works: Repetitive stress injury (RSI) occurs when the body performs the same motions for several hours in a row. Taking breaks helps prevent these motions from causing damage to the body. We’ll give you a break schedule that will prevent future problems.
Get Motivated: No one should just sit and work for hours and hours without stopping. Breaks can actually make you more productive -- they help you avoid getting stuck in ruts, allow time for insight and creativity and can be re-energizing. Breaks and time limits are not only good for your hands and wrists, though, they are also good for your productivity and mental health.
- Make your breaks efficient. Use your break time for planning, returning phone calls or talking with people. Do some filing or organizing. Use your break efficiently.
- Don’t sit at your desk during your break; you need to give your body a rest by being in a new position. Get away from the computer, look out a window and ponder how to solve a problem or develop a new solution.
- Any computer time counts toward the time limits, including surfing the Internet, playing computer games, reviewing e-mail messages and other computer applications that may not directly involve typing.
Spend some time learning about other ways to prevent RSI. Your company or school may have online resources and training about RSI. You can do some Internet searching and find whole sites dedicated to preventing RSI. There are programs to download that demonstrate stretches for shoulder and back pain, as well as wrist pain. Spend some time this week becoming an expert in RSI and learning about additional things you can do to prevent it.
Here is the whole program. Give each one a solid one-week try, and then come back and do the next one. If you want a reminder, sign up for the Prevent RSI E-Course. It is free, and you’ll get short e-mail reminders each day to help keep you on track.