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How to use technology and still feel human

  • By Ryan Skidmore

  1. Keep your computer monitor eye level. No matter what set up you use, investing in a monitor that sits at eye level prevents many problems. From neck strain to slouching, leaning forward to better see the screen, this one precaution mitigates all risks of any kind of misaligned anything.
  1. Don’t slouch at your computer. Slouching puts strain on your neck and back. Over hours, days, and years, this habit will wreak unnecessary havoc on body parts already strained from more sitting and inactivity than they are designed to sustain. Problems originating from sitting at a desk job will be compounded. Ouch! Even with an ergonomically proper set up, slouching can still creep in. Make the effort to sit up straight.
  1. Work at a Sit-Stand desk. A desk adjustable for a sitting or standing position is the optimal set up. The risks of sitting all day are understood and recited like some kind of Healthy Worker’s Mantra, but, on the flip side, standing for 8 hours a day can lead to knee issues, lower back issues, and much much more. Standing all the time at a standing desk is an equally injurious mistake. (US News) An adjustable height desk with electric presets will allow you to sit and stand without too much interruption and keep your body from experiencing prolonged periods of sitting or standing because you can switch every few hours.
  1. Take breaks. A 5 minute break every 55 minutes is recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. (Labour.gov.on.ca) Whatever the perfect breaktime interval maybe doesn’t matter as much as taking a break at least once every hour. For best results, get up from your desk and move around, as well as looking at something in the distance to rest your eyes.
  1. The Pomodoro Method. While primarily a time management technique, the PM says to work for 25 minutes (using a timer) followed by a 5 break. (Time) During that break get up from your computer and move around. After all, the more you move during the day, the healthier you will be.
  1. Check your emails and texts at regular times. Tech affects the mind and body. The mental strain of constantly heeding the call of our electric task-masters is well known to professionals and laymen alike. Tim Ferriss, author of the famous 4 Hour Work Week recommends “Batching.” Answer your communiques all at once in batches a few times a day. Only turning your attention to that task a few times a day creates the mental bandwidth to focus on the other task at hand, or focus on nothing at all.
  1. Keep your smart phone away from your head. Smart phones might cause cancer. (Psychology Today) Exact answers are still not conclusive however. (Psychology Today) Don’t risk it. Use a head set that keeps the phone one foot or more away from your head. This reduces the exposure risk of any kind of radiation related to the cell phone from operating directly next to your brain.
  1. Keep your smart phone away from your body. Again, smart phones might cause cancer. (Psychology Today) Pockets only exist in a few spots on clothing. Tiny amounts of radiation over years and decades on those few areas of the body could cause tumors or cancer to grow right there. (Psychology Today) For best practices, don’t keep your phone in your pocket all day. Put it on your desk or in a bag, or even a belt clip.
  1. Use tools to outsource your tasks. Using tools like Fleet Management and GPS Tracking to automatically keep track of your fleet drivers allows you to take your finger off the electric pulse. Telematics systems, like the Carmine Portal, send you automatic updates based on the actions of your drivers.
  1. Stop using your phone an hour before bed. Blue light emitted by screens, especially phones, suppresses melatonin production right before the sleep cycle of the circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. (Sleep.org) Also, smart phones seem to keep the brain active in ways that other activities do not. As any insomniac knows, intrusive thoughts can become the sole reason for not falling asleep.
  1. Hold your phone eye level, way from your face, and make fonts larger. Holding a phone at chest or waste level can cause strain on the neck. (Lifehacker) While looking at small print, like the kind on smart phones, will not cause long term eye damage, it can cause eye strain leading to head aches and make it harder to focus on reading. (ABC News)
  1. Tech detox. Getting off the “Stuff” for a while combines all the benefit above. It leads to better posture and deeper relationships by getting us our of chairs and interacting with the people around us. (Fast Company) It improves conversations because Google is a conversation killer. (Fast Company) Simply knowing every fact instantly leave no room to explore topics and connect via conversation. Memory improves. (Fast Company) The mind is a versatile tool that can become consumed with a single type of task like, checking for emails and constantly absorbing mostly useless information during any spare moment throughout the day. Putting down the phone leaves more processing power for remember stuff.

Although technology can really help you be more productive like a Fleet management and GPS tracking system, you still need to make sure you don’t overuse it.  Be smart about the way to use technology and always implement it to maximize the benefits without negative effects on you as an individual or to the company.  A Fleet Management and GPS tracking system does you no good if you implement it incorrectly and it generates more work for you instead of making you more productive.  At the end of the day, technology is meant to make things easier and improve your productivity.

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