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6 Ways to Survive Your Computer Job

6 Ways to Survive Your Computer Job

Some of the best jobs today unfortunately require being on the computer for long periods of time. And although using technology can be amazing, efficient, and fun, sitting at a desk all day is not easy; and in fact it is very bad for your health.

Here are 6 easy things you can do that can help counteract many of the possible health problems that can result from not taking proper care of yourself, and being stuck at a desk for the duration of your work day.

1- Rest your eyes

This may sound a little silly, but it is important to give your eyes periodic rest. Computer screens are hard on your eyes because of the harsh light they omit, and it can cause strain on your eyes to stare at a screen for too long. Your screen should be at least one arm’s length away from your face. Too much screen time can cause dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. This is why you should look away periodically and even close your eyes every once in awhile. You can also try doing some eye exercises. Try to give your eyes a break at least every hour of the work day. Even if you close them for only 5 minutes, it will help your eyes feel better and reduce the amount of eye strain.

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2- Stand up and stretch

This next thing is just common sense. Every half an hour to an hour, you should be able to stand up and walk away from the computer. Stretching your arms and your legs is important whenever you get a chance. Bend over, and touch your toes. Lean down and stretch your calves. Reach up with your arms, shrug your shoulders, and moving your arms in circles. Turn your head from side to side and up and down.  Anything you do to change your body position, is a good thing, especially if you can stretch periodically throughout the day. The worst thing you can do is to stay in a sitting position and remain that way for 8 to 10 hours at a time. A stationary position is bad for your circulation, your muscles, joints, eyes, shoulders, back, neck and even your wrists.

3- Drink plenty of fluids

Here is one mistake that almost everyone makes. It is easy to get caught up in your work and stay at your desk so you can get more accomplished. But, if you have to stay seated for a long time, at least drink plenty of fluids (especially water). Water is essential for keeping your liver working right and allowing your body to release toxins. You need at least 8 to 10 or more full glasses of water every day. It is easy to forget to drink more fluids when you are busy at work, but try to make it a habit. Keep a water bottle handy to remind you to drink more. And, if you are into outdoor workout activities like bike riding or jogging, you will need to drink even more water to compensate for the loss of fluids when you sweat.

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photo by Global Panorama, Flickr

    4- Eat healthy snacks

    Sometimes, it just seems more convenient to grab a sugary snack like a candy bar, a donut, or a piece of cake, because they are so readily available at convenience stores and vending machines.  Not only is the sugar bad for you, but most snacks also are loaded with calories, which increase your risk for excess weight gain. Try to make a conscious effort to keep healthy snacks on hand, both at work and at home.

    Raw fruit and vegetables are the best things you can munch on when you need a snack. Nuts and dried fruits are also good. If you just remember to have snacks that are low in sugar, and avoid things like chips and fried foods, you will be eating a whole lot healthier each day. Also try to avoid eating your lunch at your desk, because then you are tempted even more to avoid exercise and overdo your work efforts (and potentially mentally wear yourself out).

    5- Move around

    The most important thing you can do to prevent health problems from a computer job is to move around. Try to get up and walk every hour, at least, and don’t stay seated for more than 2 hours at a time. Stand up and walk around as much as you can. The more exercise you get, the better you will feel. On longer breaks, you should always try to do some fast walking, or climb up and down the stairs. Remember to stretch before any intense exercise.

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    6- Make time to unwind

    As soon as you get off work, make sure you take a little time to wind down. This is so important, because it can help both your mood and energy level. You need to allow your mind and your body to rest when you need it the most. After you get home from work, just take 15 minutes to a half hour to lay down and close your eyes. You will be amazed at how much better you feel after decompressing. It gives your body time to unwind so you can begin enjoying your time off.  Physical and mental relaxation and rest are extremely important for maintaining good health and ongoing wellness.

    Now, simply make it routine

    If you follow these simple steps, you will feel healthy every day. Rest your eyes, stand up and stretch, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy snacks, get up and move and make time to unwind. These should be easy things to keep in mind. Try to make them a part of your normal everyday routine. And, when you try to stay healthy, life can be so much better because you will have the energy to do anything you want to do.

    The cost of working long hours

    The consequences of working long hours without a break, or eating too much junk food, and drinking too many sugary drinks, will catch up to you and eventually cause your health to suffer.  Being young does not mean you are foolproof from the effects of bad health habits. If you are a middle aged or older worker, these steps are twice as critical. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will start feeling weak and your immune system is likely to start breaking down, which will make you more susceptible to getting sick.

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    Serious health issues

    Poor health habits can lead to serious long term health issues, like increased risk for the three biggest global killers: heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Sitting for long periods has also been linked to weight gain and shortened life spans.  Many doctors believe that most, if not all serious health problems can be traced back to poor daily habits, such as not getting enough rest, or exercise, or eating a poor diet.

    So remember to follow these simple steps, and you will be on your way to a healthier happier work life, where you can be more productive and feel better each and every day.

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Jim Larrison, Flickr. via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on July 29, 2020

    19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

    19 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

    Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

    There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

    This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day:

    1. Todoist

      Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

      Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

      If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

      Download: Todoist

      2. 1Password

        You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

        1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

        You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

        Download: 1Password

        3. Bear

          Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

          It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

          Download: Bear

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          4. Hazel

            Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

            For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

            Download: noodlesoft

            5. Alfred

              Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

              For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

              It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

              Download: Alfred

              6. TextExpander

                TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                Download: TextExpander

                7. Backblaze

                  If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                  Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                  Download: Backblaze

                  8. Keyboard Maestro

                    Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                    Download: Keyboard Maestro

                    9. Snagit

                      There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                      Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                      10. Bartender

                        Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                        If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                        Download: Bartender

                        11. Otter

                        Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                        Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                        Download: Otter

                        12. Flux

                          Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                          Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

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                          Download: Flux

                          13. PDFpen

                          If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                          PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                          Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                          14. OmniFocus

                            OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                            It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                            A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                            Download: OmniFocus

                            15. Franz

                              It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                              Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                              Download: Franz

                              16. MindNode

                                If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                Download: MindNode

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                                17. Focus

                                  The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

                                  This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                  Download: Focus

                                  18. CleanMyMac

                                    Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                    Download: CleanMyMac

                                    19. Grammarly

                                      A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                      This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                      A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                      Download: Grammarly

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                      Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                      More to Boost Productivity

                                      Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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