Hours spent on the computer V Need to get outdoors

12 replies
I like writing. I like IM. The research side of things appeals to my curiosity while the "getting down to business" side appeals to my work ethic.

I don't like, however, having to spend long hours in front of a computer screen to do my job.

Is there any way at all that one can combine the enthusiasm for writing and IM and simultaneously do away with the need to spend so many hours of the day crouched by a PC?

Or at least can we discuss ways to make the physical experience more bearable?

Some tools and items that have helped me include:

  • Computer glasses
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking
  • Working on a balcony
  • Music
  • Putting teabags or cucumber slices on my eyes after a long session online
There are probably more examples that I can't remember right now - however it does concern me somewhat that this profession we choose requires such devotion to being inside, stuck to various screens.

So, to sum up, I guess what I am asking is does the amount of hours you spend on the computer have a negative effect on your lifestyle, and if so, then how do you manage it, and is it worth it???

Is there some happy medium, some techno-outdoor compromise that I have failed to yet discover?

Or is the solution to just pay some nameless VA in some developing country peanuts to carry out the more tedious of the IM tasks so that I might have more time to climb mountains and go fishing?
#computer #hours #outdoors #spent
  • Profile picture of the author Rob Whisonant
    I'll hike up the mountain with my laptop and sit on a cliff while I work. I get some exercise and a great view while I work. I carry a mifi device so I have Internet access.

    Rob Whisonant
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  • Profile picture of the author icemonkey9
    Well, just from ergonomic perspective I think you are supposed to get up and stretch every 50 minutes. If you have a dog you can take him/her on a walk 3-4 times a day, I'm sure your little pal will enjoy it.

    I'd say make getting up, stretching, closing your eyes for an extended time and getting fresh air a part of your (multiple) daily routine.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarevok
    I've been sitting in front of a computer since I was like 9.

    If being surrounded by LCDs cause health problems I'll be a perfect guinea pig.

    I'll let you guys know.

    -crosses fingers-
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  • Profile picture of the author Cobaki
    I take breaks every hour for about 5-10 minutes. I don't have a consistent time spent working in front of the screen but I always make sure I exercise everyday and at least go out once each week.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan Hower
      I work 50 minutes then walk 1 kilometres. Works quite good.

      I plan to have some straps and have a netbook hanging in front of my belly so I could walk slowly through the park while reading and working on the netbook. It does not work well when the sun is shining, and it does not work at all if you have to type much and fast.

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  • Profile picture of the author HerschelW
    Schedule: Get up about noonish, go to fridge and grab crack drink. (energy drink)
    Sit in front of computer and do little to no work for four hours.
    Realize I'm starving to death and practically having a seizure from all the jitters of drinking a crack drink on an empty stomach.
    Call pizza delivery and order way too much food.
    Step outside to catch a breath of freshly lit cigarette smoke and gain massive buzz.
    Watch tv until food arrives.
    Eat ALL the food upon its arrival.
    Make emergency visit to bathroom.
    Take a three hour nap.
    Get up and sit back down in front of computer and accomplish almost nothing at all.
    Walk across the street to bar and buy a large amount of offsale.
    Play Xbox while drinking profusely.
    Pass out.
    Rinse and repeat.

    That's the schedule I would have if I wasn't married with two sons, while being in the army guard.

    Currently, I still do spend about 8-12 hours in front of my computer a day with much more productivity than my less responsible self. As well as that, I eat healthy, exercise daily, spend plenty of time outside with my family... and a cigar, and find that reading books help when I feel like an orange peel just sprayed into my eyes. The main thing I try to remember each day is to make sure that I run, jump, and play. It's too easy for me to fall into zombie mode when I spend too much time on the computer.

    I like the teabags/cucumber slice idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author george b
    Every two hours of sitting down at my computer, I will either:

    - Take the dog for a walk in the woods
    - Sit in the decking with a cup of coffee and my ECIG. (Weather permitting)

    These two things alone make me feel refreshed, and I come back to my computer buzzing.

    Its important that you take regular breaks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Beverley Boorer
    It is really important to ensure you keep a balance in your lifestyle. I find this difficult because since a car accident my back hurts a lot, but not while I'm sitting at the computer!. However, I found I did get a vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight, so anyone else who spends lots of hours indoors is likely to have the same thing, unless they take supplements. You can get lots of nasty things from lacking this important vitamin, depression is one of them. It certainly makes me more productive if I take a break of half to one hour.
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  • Profile picture of the author vtotheyouknow
    Nathan, some of the things that have really reduced physical/psychological stress for me:

    1. Working standing

    There's a lot of research that shows just how terrible sitting is for you. Like...TERRIBLE! It can shave *years* off your life...

    So much so, that standing workstations are now becoming a standard option in most companies that have their sh*t together.

    Speaking for myself, working standing up has changed my work life. I used to get the gnarliest shoulder/back/neck/arm pains. Not anymore. I've also begun using a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard because a trackpad/laptop keyboard will mess up your wrists big time.

    You've got to play with heights and feel out where your hands should rest and how high the computer screen should be (at eye level?) etc.

    2. Top 3 list

    To-do lists usually cause overwhelm. But if you create a little area on the top of your to do list numbered 1, 2 and 3 and fill them in with the items that will make you the most money/have the greatest impact and you do those things FIRST, before any other crap including facebook/email etc, you're going to walk away from your computer feeling good.

    ...Even if you've only done a few hours worth of work all day.

    Eben pagan quoted some business dude he knew who said "first things first, second things not at all." Words to work by...

    3. F.lux - f.lux: software to make your life better

    Staring into a backlit screen after the sun goes down blocks the release of melatonin (the sleep hormone) and jacks up your sleep. And that has tremendous implications for your health, well being, productivity, quality of life.

    Flux automatically softens the glow of your screen at night so the melatonin block isn't quite so powerful. I try to shut my computer off at least 3 hours before bed. It's hard, but I find myself waking up significantly more refreshed and ready to crush it.

    4. Primal blueprint, baby! - Mark's Daily Apple

    There's nothing primal about standing/sitting in one place for hours on end. That's why we're the sickest animal on earth. This is a bigger discussion than I get into in this thread, but I highly recommend you check out Mark Sisson's blog above.

    Diet, exercise, sleep, play, sunshine (very important one), work life are all parts of an organic whole. Mark is one of the few dudes I've read who can talk about nutrition and exercise on a layman's level and without making you feel stupid that you don't get all this stuff instinctively.

    Thanks to mark, I know sun myself everyday at noon. :-)

    Hope that helps..
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  • Hi Nathan,

    You made a lot of very valid, yet sensitive, points about how our line of work tends to have various negative effects on the body and psyche!

    This last line in your thread (below) seems to be the very answer you were speculating about:

    "Or is the solution to just pay some nameless VA in some developing country peanuts to carry out the more tedious of the IM tasks so that I might have more time to climb mountains and go fishing?"

    That is probably what I would op to do. It may be peanuts to us, but it's a real living for those who don't have much.

    Good luck with finding out what will work best for you!
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  • Profile picture of the author plfbus
    After many years sitting in front of my computer nearly all day every day I'm finding that my eyesight is deteriorating rapidly. It might have anyway, who can tell, but I've been trying out the 10-10-10 rule and believe that it's helping me.

    10-10-10: Every 10 minutes, look at something 10 feet away, for at least 10 seconds

    Just a thought for anyone else with this problem.
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