In August 2013, I started a series of blog posts about a symposium I participated here in Brazil – PROFT 2013 (III Simpósio Profissão Tradutor). Due to the event’s interesting topics and the interest of my Facebook followers who could not attend it, I decided to write a summary of the presentations I liked the most. After a long break between them, here’s the second part.
The first one, on the different possibilities of interaction between human and machine translators, by Reginaldo Francisco, was written in Portuguese. However, I decided to write this next topic in English, but please keep in mind the original presentation was conducted in Portuguese.
Comfort Points: Ergonomics, Furniture, Habits
Maria Lucia Cumo
If you work with a laptop, make sure you have a separate keyboard and mouse. The keyboard must be directly in front of you (the letter “B” must be the central point) and the mouse should be next to it, on the same level. Make sure the screen is at eye level (you can easily adapt the computer/laptop’s height with a support or some books), but at a comfortable distance from you. Sitting properly is also important: your shoulders and hips need to be aligned; your knees should be slightly below the hips; the seat height must be slightly below the kneecap; your feet can rest easily on the floor or on a footrest. The translator’s line of sight should be parallel to the window and rows of lights to avoid glared and direct light into the eyes.
Having an appropriate ergonomic office chair is also a must for people who work in front of the computer. You need to make sure your chair has a comfortable cushion with breathable fabric, adjustable arm rests and seat height, and lumber support.
Ergotron has a Workspace Planner to help you plan your workstation, indicating the right positions, distances and heights of your body and desk components.
Working in front of a computer all day long can cause damage to your eyes, wrists and body in general. In order to counter the effects of sitting for a long time, stand once an hour and practice some sort of physical activity for about 30 minutes per day (divided in 5 minutes throughout the day). If you want to prevent eyestrain, damage to your wrist and the negative effects of sitting all together, get away from the computer every half hour. You can use this time to walk around the house, do some stretching exercises, have some snack.
The EyeDefender, a freeware eye rest reminder, helps you prevent CVC (Computer Vision Syndrome), among other problems related to computer use, by reminding you when you need to take a break. It also offers four options to enjoy your break. The f.lux is a software that adapts the color of your screen according to the time of day. Besides those resources, here are a few simple steps you can take to “stretch” your eyes:
- Look away from the screen for a few seconds every few minutes and focus on distant objects
- Look around
- Blink several times
It is extremely important not only to rest your body, but also your mind. You do not necessarily need to leave the internet to do so. Here are a few websites that can help you de-stress, and remove anxiety and tension.
It allows you to choose whether to relax for 2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. You can also choose a nature scene that accompanies a relaxing background noise. If you prefer, you can opt for the guided relaxation, in which a relaxing voice instructs you on how to relax. An iPhone app is also available for download.
It allows you to freely draw using the cursor. Everything you draw is mirrored, creating patterns that draw in the eye. A background song follows your interactive art creation. An iPhone and iPad app is available for download.
Do Nothing For 2 Minutes
As soon as you open the link, a 2-minute countdown starts, followed by the sound of waves and a calming background image of the sea. You should not do anything else, besides enjoying the moment. If you do as much as move your mouse, the countdown starts from the beginning again.
It allows you to choose from different sounds: rain, thunderstorm, wind, forest, leaves, water stream, seaside, water, bonfire, summer night, coffee shop, white noise, pink noise and/or brown noise. The background color also subtly changes.
The Pomodoro Technique can help you schedule your breaks and stay productive for 25 minutes in a row.
In a nutshell, it extremely important to define your work hours, taking regular breaks throughout your business hours to rest, stretch, relax and eat. Do not forget a good diet, eating something every 2-3 hours and drinking at least 2 liters of water per day also help us be more productive and healthy.
Here are some other related articles on the topic that may help:
The Health Hazards of Sitting
12 Yoga Poses to Undo the Damage of Your Desk Job
How Sitting All Day is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It
Do you have any other tips and/or suggestions to add? Feel free to comment on your routine as well. 😉