How Can I Work Smart at My Computer?

Recently at a “Mindfulness in the Digital Age” workshop, I discussed several apps, products, and other resources that have helped me work with more sanity and health. I’ll share them below. If you have found something that works for you, please do email me or comment below since I intend to update this list.

What my computer rests on:

As you can see from the photo above, my laptop is raised (on a fascinating read called “Super Baby Food” :-)) so that when I’m sitting on my stool, I don’t have to drop my head to look at the screen. When I feel like standing, as I do throughout the day, I simply move one or two items on the shelf above and place my laptop there. It’s a simple standing desk.

What I sit on:

An adjustable buckwheat cushion that I can place on my computer stool or a dining room chair. I can take some of the buckwheat filling out to make it shorter or taller. The “half-moon” shape of the cushion encourages a proper ergonomic position with my knees lower than my hips.

Why I don’t have to type:

A speech recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking which is 98% accurate out-of-the-box. With this, I can stand up and walk around while dictating at a much faster pace than the average typing pace. It’s a pleasure to not tense one’s arms over the keyboard all day.

I also use a speech recognition add-on that makes Dragon even more hands-free. It’s manufactured by the folks at Knowbrainer, who host the world’s largest speech recognition forum and are probably the most knowledgeable sellers of speech recognition products anywhere.

What makes me take breaks:

RSIGuard is a software that keeps track of how much mousing and typing you’re doing and reminds you to take breaks at appropriate points. And since a gentle reminder is generally not strong enough to tear my face away from the screen, RSIGuard does me the favor of locking my keyboard at the appropriate break so I actually need to get up. This is really helpful to enforce the kind of micro-break every 20 to 30 minutes that is medically recommended.

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