Here’s a few tips for writers spending way too many hours at the computer:
1. I got an interval timer and set it to goose me every 40 minutes, at which point I MUST get up and move, shake, stretch, and otherwise un-vegitate until it rings again 2 minutes later. Research shows that we really should not be sitting down as much as we do, and that this regular interruption is of great value. I can tell you I feel great now after a long day at the computer, instead of feeling rather like a cross between a dense loaf of bread that failed to rise and a shoe caked with mud and grass clippings. If you can’t quite figure that out, you probably need a break for an interval of use-it-or-lose-it movement!
2. While sitting at the computer, I love my little rubber ball – a dear, low-tech foot massage that adds a touch of spa-like luxury to the work day. A tennis ball also works well in this capacity.
3. Flu.x is a free computer app that gradually simulates the outdoor light in your area so as to prevent the dastardly way a computer’s blue light wreaks havoc with your circadian rhythms. It’s lovely the way the computer light looks more natural and soothing at the end of the day. I can just feel my circadia dancing slower and getting ready for a night of gentle rest. I so recommend this!
4. The gyro-ball: Google it, but don’t confuse it with a fancy baseball pitch. This is a workout toy for your wrist that foils carpal tunnel syndrome and reinvigorates your hands, arms, and wrists after hours at the keyboard. If you stand up while holding this crazy little ball, it counts as your two-minute anti-desk-potato interval. Beware: people will try to steal your gyro-ball, so take steps to thwart them. If there is a pianist in your family, buy an extra one, or you’ll be fighting over it!
5. Concrete blocks. Really! This is low-tech. Put desk on blocks and either stand up, sit on a huge rubber ball (also low-tech, and the best thing that ever happened to my lower back), or get an under-desk treadmill/stepper/dog-who-demands-tummy-rubs. This fits right in with our resolution to write without dying over-early. If you actually earn money writing, you might want to buy a treadmill desk and stroll gently down the path to your next best-seller.
6. Wall-mounted power strip; Handy dandy colored twisties with space for labeling (How many times a week do you have to say, “Wait till I figure out which cord connects the router to the computer” to your tech guys??); Velcro strips to bundle up the ten feet of unneeded cord. How long would it take the average professional writer to stop complaining about the tangle of cords underfoot and actually do something about it? Well, I don’t have to tell you, but now I’ve saved you the trouble of griping anymore about it. Get back to work!
7. Koosh ball. Keep one handy in case anyone comes in to chat while you’re trying to write. It’s been my experience that there is no magnet as powerful as a person actually trying to get work done at the computer. People seem to come out of the woodwork to have prove-I-am-a-higher-priority-than-writing conversations the moment I get going. The Koosh ball can be tossed back-and-forth gently to dispel my interruption agitation and make it seem I am playfully unaware of the clock ticking, the deadline looming, or the idea escaping. Enjoy!
8. Peppermint Oil. This is a very effective pick-me-up. Sniff it now and then from the bottle, or plant a drop on your upper lip for a vivifying and brain-clarifying hit of God’s essential goodness. I keep a bottle handy on long drives, too, by the way. Toss a drop in your water glass and give yourself even more health points for staying hydrated. In fact, if you drink enough water, you won’t need that interval timer!
Well, eight is a great number, so I’ll stop there. If any of these tips have changed your life, recharged your battery, or added a few years to your life expectancy, and you want to return the favor, I have a book out that needs lots of new readers. PLEASE go get copies of Souls at Work: An Invitation to Freedom, and THANKS to all who do!