Taking better care of your tools

It is all too easy to forget that our hands can be our most important tool, regardless of whether you’re a writer, a programmer, a massage therapist or a stay home mum, we rely on our hands is so very much. It’s often not until something goes wrong that we remember to take care of ourselves, at least I know that’s true for me.

I’ve been having a lot of trouble with my right shoulder, bicep, my elbows, and my fingers recently.  I was putting it all down to my usual variety of medical problems, but it wasn’t until I visited my physio for some severe pain around my thumb that I realised a lot of this was due to RSI.

I really like my apps and I really liked my reminders, I may have mentioned that I have reminders throughout the day that pop up on my smartwatch and in my calendar to tell me to drink water, to drink a cup of tea, even to switch between tasks I’ve planned for the day. This week I’m going to trial a new app called “Time out” and use it to help me remember to do various exercises for my hands and arms, including massage all that good stuff. Hopefully, this will help to treat the RSI problems.

Some of the other changes that I’ve implemented are:

  • Switching to my husbands Goldtouch keyboard. It’s a very fancy Bluetooth keyboard that can be adjusted to either sit flat like the usual keyboard or be angled to relieve that ulna/radius twist that’s so bad for our forearms. The angle of the keyboard can be adjusted slowly so that you can retrain your brain and fingers on where the keys are.
  • I’m utilising a great deal of my mac’s dictation commands, which is equal parts convenient and equal parts freaking annoying. I highly recommend setting up you’re own commands where needed. I have found that the computer doesn’t always understand me, for some reason when I say “Lightroom” it hears “)” yep, a closing bracket, *bewildered shrug*.
  • I’ve also moved my mouse pad and keyboard so that my forearms rest on my desk, which provides support, so they don’t have to do all the work.
  • One of my favourite additions is a small spiky exercise ball in bright red; I’m sure the colour is crucial. I find rolling it around between my palms when I am thinking about something else is pleasurable for the muscles, tendons and fascia in my hands and it’s kinda fun).

Time to take a break, and please, do take care of your bodies.

Tracey Ambrose
"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." Ralph Waldo Emerson

4 Comments

  1. Hiya Tracey.

    I’m actually a big fan of the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop wireless/bluetooth keyboard and mouse combination. I didn’t think I’d like it but it’s very comfortable to use. With that said the build quality could be better so it will likely need to be replaced every couple of years.

    One of top Ergonomic tips is the Puk: http://www.thepuk.com – which allows us to rest our mouse hand on a comfortable pad that slides around as we move the mouse. With our hand supported we’re not straining our wrist to use the mouse any more… it’s awesome.

    Also https://www.foundationtraining.com/ to build overall strength and structural integrity for those of us that are sitting / standing in the same position for far too long while we work.

    Mac dictation: I agree. It’s 55% useful and 45% correcting the WTF moments it comes up with. 🙂

    1. Thanks Phill, I’ll check those out. Are you using the mouse with a Mac? I broke down on the weekend and bought Dragon Professional, only to have it set up nicely and then proceed to crash every time I tried to actually use it thereafter 🙁

      1. Yes, I’m using both the keyboard and mouse with my MacBook Pro. When I tried Dragon Professional a few years back I didn’t have much luck – I’m hoping it has improved but your experience isn’t a promising indicator.

        1. I wish they had a competitor but they have somehow managed to corner the market. There were a few other things that didn’t work, like the Safari and Firefox plugin/extensions are out of date and neither browser accepts them. It’s a pity, because when the product was working I thought it was pretty great. I think it would also be useful for Pip and his dyslexia, I would have loved to start training him with it now, then again, by the time he’s our age he might be able to just upload his thoughts instead #iwish

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