I’m off work for a week, half for holidays, half because I have RSI (repetitive strain injury) in both my freakin’ wrists and I desperately needed to get away from the computer for a while. I’ve had this trouble since last August, when I returned to a huge backlog of tasks at work after a month of holidays. I went to physio for months to treat the tendonitis ricochet effect RSI had on both my arms. Anyway, the RSI would get significantly better, I’d get cocky and go at things with my usual speed and concentrated effort and blammo, my arms would be right back where they started. On fire, injured by passing moths, etc.
So during Christmas holidays I bought an ergonomic mouse, the Microsoft 6000. It did more for me in a week than five months of babying, physio, icing, and non-activity combined. Then a couple of weeks ago, my left wrist started to go.
And the swearing started.
Anyway, this morning I started to do a little online research about RSI. Were there special stretches or exercises I should be doing? Lo and behold, I came across a reference on a UK computer geek’s website to a software solution. Seriously a software solution. The ref is here: "Guy’s Battle with Repetitive Strain Injury".
The software has been around for fifteen years. It’s called WorkPace by the Wellnomics company. It couldn’t be a more perfect fit for me. Not only does it pop up a message every so often reminding me to take a break, it actually freezes the keyboard and mouse so I’m forced to. But it gets better. If this was all it did, I could put a series of recurring appointments in my calendar and apply a little self-discipline.
No, the thing forces you to take micro breaks every couple of minutes and longer breaks every quarter hour and bitches at you that you’ve reached your quota of computer use after a certain number of hours. Nifty, eh? But it gets even better. (Yeah, I know I sound like the Sham-wow guy, but bear with me.)
In the quarter hour intervals, the program displays stretches you can do to counteract all that sitting, typing and mousing. After all, the problem isn’t that humans shouldn’t ever sit, type or mouse, it’s that they shouldn’t be doing it all freaking day for decades on end.
Anyway, I tried the trial version, and it was exactly what my over-concentrating brain and trashed bod’ needed. The thing has a ton of customizations, including graphs of keyboard and mouse use frequency and intensity. For 80 bucks, this is an awesome component of a long-term solution for me. I don’t know how annoying it will be while I’m at my DAW or writing fiction, but at the moment, I can’t do either because I’m now incapacitated by my own type-A behavior.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress.