Ergonomics Made Easy Blog

Resources and solutions for people in pain that could use help with ergonomic products. Ping blog

Free Tips, Tools, & Resources for Boosting Your Productivity

Tuesday January 17, 2012

Productivity Boosters

Getting it all done, and on time, has become increasingly more complicated and therefore challenging.  With the advent of great new technology {I shiver when I think of the pine system of email I logged into for college just 12 years ago} comes a new era of distractions.  Besides the typical office noise we all face, we're distracted by our own gadgetry as well. While I love being productive and crossing tasks off my to-do list, I can always tell when I'm in a mood for distraction by how frequently I refresh my email, Pinterest, blog stats, or Facebook.  I don't think I'm the only one either.  Guarding ourselves from ourselves can be just as difficult as protecting our time from office time sucks, such as seemingly pointless meetings and co-worker chatter.

Thus, in case you are not totally tech-savvy like me {meaning I'm not at all}, here are some productivity boosters you may not be aware of.  I have broken them into several categories: free Firefox add-ons, a free white noise online generator, and some ergonomic products known for efficiency.

First, check out these great Firefox add-ons.

  • LeechBlock: a Firefox add-on that allows you to block sites so you can avoid their distraction.
  • Customize Google: CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhance Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask.com, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam). All features are optional and easily configured.
  • FlashGot: Download all the links, movies and audio clips of a page at the maximum speed with a single click, using the most popular, lightweight and reliable external download managers.
  • StatusBar: View and manage downloads from a tidy statusbar - without the download window getting in the way of your web browsing.
  • Flashblock: Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.
  • URL fixer: URL Fixer is an extension for Mozilla Firefox that corrects typos in URLs that you enter in the address bar. For example, if you type google.con, it will correct it to google.com (asking first, if you enable confirmation).
  • Tab Mix Plus: Tab Mix Plus enhances Firefox's tab browsing capabilities. It includes such features as duplicating tabs, controlling tab focus, tab clicking options, undo closed tabs and windows, plus much more. It also includes a full-featured session manager.
  • ScrapBook: Helps you to save Web pages and organize the collection.

And, a final productivity booster for any browser:

Now, take a look at these ergonomic products that maximize on comfort and minimize movement, thus making any workspace more efficient.
  • Ergonomic Mini Keyboard: a smaller, more compact design helps minimize movements for faster typing
  • Ergonomic Mouse:  a handshake grip like this Evoluent mouse offers is much more comfortable and prevents straining; pair it with a slim-lined ergo keyboard that lets you pull it in close, and you have an efficient little typing space!

Finally, be sure to take a look at these productivity tips for mousing and a mini keyboard.

Check out these free productivity add-ons, a free white noise generator, and efficient ergonomic equipment to get a little boost at work.

Posted in ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , mini keyboard , productivity , Uncategorized , white noise | Make a Comment

Shopping Ergonomically for YOU!

Tuesday December 13, 2011

What do you want for Christmas?

We spend a lot of time shopping for other people at Christmas and trying to think of the perfect gift.  In fact, last time we talked about some great ergonomic gifts for those special people in our lives.  Interestingly, they spend just as much time stressing over what to get you!!  Since they're probably not going to buy you diamonds or season tickets, why not ask for something practical that will make going back to work easier, more comfortable, and less straining on your body?  

Knowing what you want for Christmas can be hard, so I'm going to help you.  There's not much better than feeling good after a day of work.  Work-related stress and strain are way too frequently occurring for comfort (pun intended).  Much of that stress and strain could be relieved with the right ergonomic tools that will help you achieve and maintain good posture and habits.  Since wrist/hand pain and back pain are frequently cited sources of angst at work, here are some great, affordable ideas for Christmas.

  • An ergonomic keyboard.  Most hand and wrist injuries are a result of cocking wrists and other awkward typing positions.  An ergonomic keyboard is designed to keep your hands and wrists in proper placement comfortably and efficiently.
  • Add an ergonomic mouse.  Similarly, your wrist twists awkwardly to use a standard mouse and your hand can also cramp from an ill-fitting one.  An ergonomic mouse, on the other hand, keeps everything in place and also for your hand much more comfortably.
  • wrist rest.  Wrist rests are ideal for resting the palms of your hand between periods of typing, and as an added bonus, are very affordable gifts.
  • An ergonomic chair.  While a bit of an investment, being able to customize a chair to fit you exactly is fairly priceless, especially when you factor in all the back, shoulder, and neck aches and pains you can avoid.
  • Portable lumbar support.  An ergo chair can be a bit spendy; thus, a less expensive option that still supports your back is portable back support.  That way you can have the support you need wherever you are!

Just by trying a few of the right tools, you can treat yourself to more comfort and less pain!  Happy holidays and happy typing!

Posted in back pain , back support , ergonomic chair , ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , ergonomics , gifts , holidays , portability , Uncategorized , Work-Related Stress , wrist rest | Make a Comment

Save Stress with Online, Ergonomic Shopping

Thursday December 8, 2011

Christmas Gift-Giving without Feeling Stressed

Not too long ago, we posted some tips for avoiding holiday stress, such as making lists and shopping online.In fact, just to remind you without even leaving this page, here they are:

4 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Stress

  1. Make lists and prioritize daily.  Make a to-do list of activities you must compete for the holidays.  This list should be specific and date oriented. For example, instead of listing “get for the Christmas party at my house”, break down each aspect of your party with a target date for completion.  The more specific your tasks, the better. Making a general list sets you up to leave something out. Always set the dates early so you’re not in a frenzy to get the task complete.  Review and update your list on a daily basis.
  2. *Shop online.  A lot of time is spent driving all over town as you shop.  Make your shopping list early.  Almost anything on your list can be found online. Sit down one evening, take your list, get focused only on shopping, and begin. You’ll be amazed just how much shopping you can get done in only one evening.
  3. Make time for yourself. Even if it is only one or two hours per week, take time for yourself.  Make a list of things you’d like to do that relax and refresh you. Read a book.  Get a massage. Watch a movie.  Whatever it takes to clear your mind and refresh you… do it!  You’ll be rewarded with more energy and a peaceful attitude.
  4. Don’t over-commit.  During the holiday season there are lots of things to do and many organizations and groups clamoring for your time. Choose your activities wisely and commit only to the ones you consider most important. Otherwise you’ll be anxious for the holidays to be over so you can get some rest.
Shopping online can be one of the best things you do for others and for yourself.  Even those of us who love to shop don't love crowds and quite honestly don't love shopping for certain people.  For me, it's the men in my life: my husband, brother, father, and father-in-law.  They do not like romantic or "fun" gifts.  They appreciate the practical that they can physically get their hands on and use. The trouble is, they usually buy themselves what they need for work or hobbies.  However, I have found that they rarely treat themselves to what they want or what feels like a "treat."  Thus, I have taken the liberty to compile a list of top ego favorites for those harder to shop for men, I mean people, we all have in our lives.

Top 5 Ergo Gifts

  • Ergonomic Keyboards: Give the gift of ergonomic comfort where they need it the most!  From small or large hands to lefties, ergonomic keyboards offer simply better lay-outs and fit for any hands.
  • Ergonomic Mice: Another must-have for fit and ease of mousing with fewer cramps and strains.  The right fit will keep a hand from feeling tight, stiff, or crampy after periods of use.  Usually, a handshake grip or contoured fit will feel most natural and keep the forearm form twisiting to grip the mouse.
  • Portable lumbar support:  Instead of an expensive ergo chair, why not give the gift of back support?  That way whoever receives it can have the support they need wherever they are!
  • Mouse/Hand Warmer Pouch: Offices can be cold- this is a comfortable, affordable, practical gift for that can't stay warm friend who wears 2 sweaters to work.
  • Energy-Saver Power Strip:  Have a green family member or friend who loves the environment as much as he loves saving money?  This super-practical gift will keep on giving as it saves energy and money.

Ergonomic gifts are truly the best for the hard to shop for or the practical individual...but truly, anyone can enjoy and appreciate a comfortable gift.

Posted in comfort , ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , ergonomics , gifts , Going Green , hand pain , holidays , Uncategorized | Make a Comment

Tips for Avoiding Shoulder Pain

Thursday November 17, 2011

Do you suffer from shoulder pain?  It's more common than you might think and can result from any number of things, from an actual injury, an awkward one-time twist, or a simple repetitive stress injury from hours of misuse at work.  Here are some tips for avoiding shoulder injury in the first place and for lessening its occurrence in your everyday life.

Tips for Avoiding Shoulder Pain

  • When driving, never reach behind you to reach for things.  As adults, we reach for our purses or briefcases or phones in the back seat.  As parents, we retrieve dropped items, pass off sippy cups, and set up DVD players.  These are all good things, not to mention peace-keeping measures, but unfortunately are terrible for our shoulders.  A good rule of thumb {or shoulder, in this case} is to never extend your arm out of your sight- basically, if you can't see it while looking straight ahead, it's not a good move.  This means planning ahead for road trips and keeping your own essential items within easy reach.  Otherwise, wait until a red light or a place you can pull over to turn your entire torso to reach what you need.
  • When exercising, be sure to warm up and cool down properly.  Good stretching and a slow start and finish to your work-out will help you not strain your shoulder, or any other muscle, tendon, or joint for that matter.  Your overall health is worth a few extra minutes of stretching.
  • When sitting at a desk, whether for work or at home, be sure to practice good ergonomics.  The same principles apply, though you obviously don't have to stretch prior to sitting down.  However, taking stretch breaks will benefit you in the long run, so be sure to be intentional about that.  Additionally, remember not to over-extend your reach when grabbing things from your desk, printer, or briefcase.  Move your entire body to reach it if it's too far. Lastly, certain ergonomic products, such as an adjustable ergonomic chair or keyboard and mouse, are great for maintaining good posture that will will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries.  They are well-made and designed for comfort and minimal movement so that your body stays healthy.  The key is adjustability so you can find the best fit for you.
  • If you already are experiencing shoulder pain, try to avoid whatever actions cause the pain.  You can also apply heat or cold, but not directly on the skin and only for 10-15 minutes at a time.  Rotating between the two is best.  If the pain continues, talk to a doctor about your options and if there's a med you can take.
Shoulder pain can occur at any time and is usually the result of an injury or a repetitive stress injury at work.  Try these tips to avoid and lessen shoulder pain.

Posted in adjustability , ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , repetitive strain injury (RSI) , shoulder pain , Uncategorized | Make a Comment

Tips for Reducing Wrist Pain

Tuesday November 1, 2011

Wrist Pain & Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Many people suffer from wrist pain- athletes, musicians, heavy tool operators, and computer users.  Actually, the rise of technology has only added to the number of people who have wrist pain.  That's because we use our computers, laptops, netbooks, kindles, iWhatevers, and all our cell phones constantly- in fact, as I picked my daughter up from school today and walked by 10 parked cars, 8 of the 10 had a waiting parent texting!  That's a lot of hand and wrist use through the course of the day, and it adds up to a lot of potential strain.

The main issue is with the sensitive Carpal Tunnel area that houses the median nerve, which runs with tendons from the forearm to the hand and along the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is made up of bones and a band of strong connective tissue.  Unfortunately, in carpal tunnel syndrome, the tendons become inflamed which then compress the median nerve in the tunnel leading to the symptoms.  This condition becomes a reality for people who use their hands and wrists a lot, which certainly includes what I'm doing right now: typing and mousing on my laptop! 

Tips to Avoid & Relieve Wrist Pain

To avoid or relieve pain in this area, there are several things you can {and should!} do:

  • Correct your posture.  You may not realize that there is proper and improper hand and wrist positioning.  Essentially, DON'T bend or cock your wrists.  DO everything you can to avoid cocking or bending of your wrists.  If you feel pain as you are typing, texting, or mousing, stop what you are doing and re-position yourself.  
  • Try ergonomic products.  In particular, an ergonomic keyboard is designed to better your hands, while an ergonomic mouse makes mousing more natural and less straining for your wrists.  Regardless of what keyboard and mouse you're using, be sure to keep them side-by-side and on the same surface to reduce movement and therefore injury.  So, lastly, a keyboard tray will store both and at a lower spot so your arms, wrists, and hands can work more comfortably.
  • Wear a wrist splint.  If you're already experiencing wrist pain, one of the trouble spots is night time.  So often, we flex our wrists and sleep with them in quite odd positions, never even aware of it.  Thus, wearing a wrist splint at night time can protect you from doing more harm.

Using an ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse at work and wearing a wrist splint at night can greatly reduce wrist pain and injury.

Posted in carpal tunnel syndrome , ergonomic keyboards , ergonomic mouse , hand pain , keyboard tray , laptop , Uncategorized , wrist pain , wrist splint | Make a Comment