Sep 22, 2010
I have a friend who recently found out he has a cyst on the wrist. While he hasn’t had it checked by a doctor yet, he thinks it may be work related. He’s a writer, just like me. He works most of the day and most of the night on client assignments. Typing away on your keyboard all day like that is bound to do some bad things to your hands and wrist.
I think these conditions can be avoided or at least minimized if you can manage your resources in a balanced way. By resources, I mean your time, energy and your body’s capabilities.
Get enough rest
Freelancers like myself usually have a very erratic schedule. Since I work from home, I sometimes find myself having to manage a few household tasks every day. this can include helping out with the cooking, bringing the kids to school, and the like. While those don’t exactly eat your time in a big way, sometimes it might give you difficulty in gaining momentum.
And so many in my profession are fond of working during nighttime, when everything is quiet. The problem here is that your health suffers. Your eyesight suffers. Your body suffers.
Tip: get at least six hours of sleep per day. Studies show that’s the optimal level of sleep for an adult. Too little and you won’t be well-rested. Too much and you will feel fatigued from too much sleep.
Use the right tools
Gadget companies usually come up with “ergonomic” stuff. Ergonomic this and ergonomic that. These are usually meant to fit better with your body. An ergonomic mouse might be easier to hold than one that focuses more on style than function. An ergonomic keyboard promotes a more relaxed posture.
Aside from buying the right gadgets, ergonomics will also involve using them right. If you work with computer screens all day, set the monitor at eye level, so you don’t have to slouch or nod down to view the screen. If you drive for a living, set your seat height, backrest, and steering wheel tilt, such that you don’t exert too much effort in turning the wheel or working the pedals.
Tip: work in a comfortable position. If you can’t achieve this with your existing setup, then buy or improvise.
You will also need to keep yourself fit. If you’re a writer, you don’t have to sit all day in front of your screen mulling word after word. Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes. Rest your eyes by closing them a couple of minutes and then focusing them on a faraway object. Go to the gym. A fit body can help improve posture, which, in turn minimizes injuries.
Tip: don’t let your body stay in one position for extended periods of time. If you work sitting down, walk around every half hour or so. If you work standing up, don’t let your weight fall on both feet 100% of the time–shift positions often.
Different professions have different needs. In your line of work, what can help minimize or avoid work-related sicknesses?