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This write up is going to be aimed mainly at those who choose not to go the digital nomad route. Either you’re someone who is content to just have more freedom working from home, or you’re working from home part of the time and travelling when the opportunity presents itself.
Either way, the rest of the time you’re going to need somewhere to work and you’re going to need some structure. If you’re already working from home, then you should read the following chapter carefully and perhaps modify some of your current routine/setup. If you’re planning on working from home, then you should use this when creating your business model and the parameters for your productivity.
Before you can start working from home, the first thing you need to ask yourself is where you will actually be working. In other words, where will you be physically located as you type/answer e-mails/program.
Remember, we’re focused on creating a lifestyle and a business model that will support health, happiness and productivity. Where you’re working is a big part of this and being able to decide on the specifics of your work environment is one of the big advantages of working for yourself. So make the most of it!
The first point to bear in mind here is that working from home doesn’t have to mean working from home. We’ve already seen that when we discussed becoming a ‘digital nomad’. You can take a similar approach more locally though too, by just taking a laptop out with you and working in local coffee shops or libraries.
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Regardless of whether you’re working on a beach in Thailand, from a home office, or at your local coffee shop, there are a couple of health considerations you need to bear in mind which can make a big difference.
Sitting correctly at the desk, or getting a standing desk can both help you to avoid some of the pitfalls of sitting at a desk all day.
Better yet though? Just move around a lot and that way you’ll avoid seizing up and you’ll be trying out different positions. If you have a home office, then you should invest in a comfortable chair and desk; but likewise you should also give yourself some alternative places to work whether that’s a sofa or it’s a beanbag in the corner of the room. Now you’ll have the option of switching your position in the room whenever you become uncomfortable.
Also important is just to get up every hour or so, even if just for ten minutes. All this can help to prevent the shortening of your quads, the weakening of your hamstrings and the shortening of your pecs that lead to poor posture, back and knee pain and poor mobility. Moreover, it will help prevent the atrophy of your heart which can significantly shorten your expected lifespan.
If you’re typing a lot on a daily basis then you open yourself up to repetitive strain injury, arthritis and other issues. A mechanical keyboard can help you to avoid these problems, by giving you something to type on that’s specifically designed to be ergonomic, comfortable and supportive. A good mouse can also make a big difference.
Dvorak is an alternative keyboard layout to Qwerty that is said to be more efficient. It essentially puts all of the most commonly used letters in the easiest to reach positions and this in turn can speed up typing while at the same time reducing the risk of arthritis.
It takes a while to learn and the research surrounding Dvorak is not concrete. Nevertheless, if the idea appeals to you then give it a go and you may find it beneficial.
If you’re going to be working late into the night – which you may well do despite your best intentions – then you should consider using software to redden the screen, or maybe try wearing ‘blue blocking’ glasses. Unfortunately, the nature of the wavelength of light produced by most
computer monitors is such that the brain mistakes it for sunlight and reacts by producing more cortisol and less melatonin. This makes it much harder for you to sleep and leaves you restful throughout the night; so use these two techniques to avoid that problem.
Do you sometimes find yourself wishing you didn’t have to look at a screen all the time? Does it give you a headache/make you worry about your eyesight?
Here’s the good news: looking at a screen actually isn’t bad for your eyes. Studies found that people who sat closer to the computer/TV had worse eyesight but they had the correlation the wrong way round – people sat closer to the screen because of their preexisting poor eyesight. In fact, playing computer games actually improves your visual acuity by forcing you to be aware of your surroundings.
The only danger that comes from looking at computer screens then is caused by glare and changes in brightness. It’s going from a very bright screen to a dark object in the room, or going from text with glare to text without glare, that forces the eyes to work hard and readjust focus. This can wear out the muscles and that’s when you get headaches.
So make sure that you do work to avoid glare. If you’re going to be working on the go make sure your computer has a flexible hinge to avoid direct light and choose your spot carefully. If you’re working from home, just make sure you have no windows or lamps in front of the screen. Keep the room you’re working in light and if it does get darker, turn the brightness of your monitor down too. Do this and you should find you have no reason anymore to worry about your eyes while working.