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What Not To Do: Part 6

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What Not to Wear

Have you ever seen What Not to Wear with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly? It's a reality show in which some unsuspecting person is singled out by friends and/or family for her fashion faux pas. It may be that she is unaware of her body type and wears clothes that just don't fit. Or it may be that her wardrobe and hair style reflect her glory days in 1985. Or it may be a total lack of awareness of self and the need to dress the part for her career. Whichever problem she's having, Stacy and Clinton step in to teach her what not to wear, and more importantly, what to wear. From the top of her head to the tips of her toes, each woman is shown what works best for her specific body type, coloring, and face shape and is given a list to keep on her person when shopping. What I love about the show is that they work with what she's got- there's no pressure to lose weight or or get a face lift. Rather, they focus on her existing assets an how to best maximize them and developing better shopping habits that will last (meaning, beyond the show!).

Welcome to Ergonomics: What Not to Do

Similarly, I am here to help you make and maintain better ergonomic choices. It may be that you know better and just keep making poor ergonomic choices, or it may be total ignorance that the choices you're making at work affect you at all. Either way, it's my job to walk you through some important ergonomic principles that I hope you will take with you as you go to work today (and tomorrow).

Today's Lesson: How to Make Your Laptop Ergo-Savvy

One of the easiest assumptions to make about laptops is that they should be used in your lap. It's an understandable mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Here are some laptop do's and don't's for you to consider.

  • Dock your laptop. While laptops can be used on your laps from time to time and for short periods of time, it's important not to over-do lap use. Typing from your lap usually puts your whole body in poor ergonomic posture. Instead of staying in a "neutral" position, your body compensates for the lower placement of the laptop: your back is slumped, your neck is dropped to see the screen, and your wrists are usually cocked. None of those positions are ergonomically wise. By docking your laptop, you raise it and, therefore, your whole body.
  • Try a mini, wireless keyboard. It's important to raise the monitor so that the screen is at eye level, so as to avoid straining your neck and your eyes. This usually renders the laptop keyboard useless since it's out of reach. Thus, it's a good idea to use a mini wireless keyboard. You still have the portability and lightweight ease of a laptop, but much more function.
  • Use an ergonomic mouse. Instead of struggling with a touch pad, or as an addition to your mini wireless keyboard, an ergonomic mouse is a must! With an ergonomic mouse, you can relieve the strain on individual fingers from stretching to type and reach the touchpad. Plus, you can find an ergonomic mouse that fits your hand down to every last finger.

It's not that you can never use a laptop on your lap or the keyboard and mouse that come with it. It's just not wise to base your work hub on an ergonomically-straining posture. Any aches, pains, or strains you are experiencing now will only get worse. Now is the time to relieve them by practicing better ergonomic habits and posture.