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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

My Revamped More Ergonomic Home Office for Just $70, A Huge Bargain

I should have upgraded my home office ten years ago. Better late than never, right?

And my four purchases this year were under $70.00 total (plus tax and any shipping charges), which really begs the question: why did I wait so long? Especially for such a bargain price for my ongoing health. Anyway, here's some details that may help others to upgrade their home office space.

  1. I was using the worst office chair in the house for my home office (the oldest one too). So I swapped it for the newer one from the kitchen desk area. Remember to adjust the height of the chair (and any related seatback positioning) to give you maximum comfort. Big improvement already but still not enough. See next item.  
  2. If your butt is going numb, despite various trips to the coffeepot and back, or your legs are going numb from not getting up from your desk chair at all for long stretches, then it'll affect the rest of your body too. This was my son's suggestion in lieu of buying a new office chair: buy a memory foam seat cushion instead. Mine is an Everlasting Comfort (on sale for $33 at Amazon; I'm not an affiliate). This may be my best purchase of the whole year. Instant comfort. No more numbness. No more stiff body parts. I feel ten years younger.
  3. I'm using a laptop only. No desktop computer. But the desktop setup is better for my text-heavy copyediting work, with its keyboard placement allowing for my ninety-degree arm position, and yet the bottom edge of the screen itself is at least ten or more inches above said keyboard for better eye alignment. So I bought an external keyboard. My choice was a Verbatim model (currently on sale for $7 at Amazon), an old-fashioned plain-Jane concept with feet at the back to give it a bit of a tilt. Just perfect. You know those two-keyboard organs in some of the huge Catholic churches? My external keyboard + laptop now look like that, with the external keyboard on the pull-out keyboard drawer to my desk and my laptop atop the main desk area, with a little boost going on. Read the next item.
  4. To get my laptop screen up higher to meet my eyesight, I'm using a flat 4" riser (but would prefer a 6"-7" one in theory), a hand-me-down item marked 3M LX500 (for those of you trying to find it online). This one is really great as it has a shorter base so that the extended shelf overhangs, allowing me to pull my laptop, hence my screen, closer to my eyes, especially if I pull my chair closer to my desk, my legs fully within the desk well, the keyboard tray at my stomach. Of course this disallows any office mascot from sitting in your lap. Just so you know ... 
  5. I bought an ergonomic mouse. Mine is an Anker four-button (currently on sale for $20 on Amazon). Prefer it over the traditional mouse.
  6. My final purchase was a wrist rest. Mine's a Belkin jell-filled wave design (now $9 on Amazon). Love it. Again an old-fashioned tool from desktop computer days of years ago. But I like it better than the hard keyboard shelf. I don't have carpal tunnel after decades of typing, and I sure don't want it now. I can't prove use of a wrist rest prevents that, but I can say it makes my typing more comfortable. Maybe I should have bought the accompanying wrist rest for the mouse too. May do that yet.
  7. For those of you who do detailed computer work (be it numbers or letters), I've incorporated a new element into my workday to relieve eyestrain. I'm the grammar police, looking for extra spaces to delete, spaces to add, whether a semicolon should be a colon or a comma or vice versa. In other words, tedious work that strains my eyes. Also, since I do two complete read-throughs of every project I receive, I'm doubling my reading time. So a 50K project means 100K worth of reading for me. Thus I now do my first read-through (1RT) on my computer as usual, with Microsoft Word's Track Changes program. However, for my second read-through (2RT), I send a PDF of said updated Word document to my Kindle. Easier on the eyes without a backlit screen. Saves paper and toner from having to print out a hard copy.
One final note: this takes care of everything but the remaining tension in my shoulders and one middle point along my spine, which just prove I should spend some time doing yoga and/or weight lifting, plus some quick deep-breathing breaks during the day and more restful sleep at night.

I'm a work in progress.

Hope this helps someone else out there too.

"If your vocation isn’t a vacation, then quit, leap, change careers."

Denise Barker, Author, Blogger, Copy Editor
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