Dec 25, 2013

Protect our health in the IT career

As we work in IT field, we spend most of our time sitting on a chair.

We work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 week a year, a total of 2,000 hours a year. Assumed that we sit 70% of our working our, it is still 1,400 hours a year. I am not going to count the hours we spend sitting at home because it will rise to a huge number that may shock us.
What is my point?
Well, the health effects of sitting too much is not a myth, but a scientific fact. If you don't believe me, take a quick look at these articles:
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sitting/AN02082
  • http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sitting-too-much-may-double-your-risk-of-dying-study-shows/
  • http://www.npr.org/2011/04/25/135575490/sitting-all-day-worse-for-you-than-you-might-think
  • http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20130221/too-much-sitting-linked-to-chronic-health-problems

Why on earth should we care about about health?

Put it simple, our health is the most precious thing we have in our life, and when it goes away, there is nothing we can do to get it back, at least at the current age of technology.


But how can we work without sitting on a chair? Some of us opt to a standing desk. Bad news, standing too much is not much different from sitting too much.

I have tried standing to work for a few hours, and it does not fit me since my legs hurt. Therefore, I decide to sit with regular small break every hour.For every hour, I
  • take a 2-minute break (short break) after 30 minutes. 
  • take a 4-minute break (long break) after a short break. 
So for an hour of working, I spend 6 minutes or 10% for break. Don't tell me that kind of interruption will decrease our productivity because our mind, anyway, tends to lose focus after 20-30 minutes.

The next question is how we can schedule our break?

Use the alarm clock on our smart phones? Look at the clock and wait for a break? Nah, it is painful. I use Eyes Relax, a free software from http://themech.net/eyesrelax/. It helps us take care of the tedious job. We can

  • schedule our short and long breaks.
  • add some more minutes to delay a break.
  • cancel a break (not recommended).
  • play a slide show during a break.
  • adjust breaks to user activity (time we leave the desk does not count to work time).

Not only can we protect our overall health, we can also protect our eyes by giving them a regular break. I recommend that we disable the feature "Allow to cancel a break," because that what I do when any break comes :(. Don't be a bad workaholic.

By disable "Allow to cancel a break" and set a password, we can still cancel break by entering our password in case of urgency. Remember to disable Eyes Relax during a meeting ^_^.