The Basics – Overview of Elements
An overview of the elements who, what, where, how, when, why, is useful so you can immediately see how you are working with your whole being. These basics will be given more attention in the following pages.
You will not learn a set of “exercises” or “postures” that you can do and then forget about for the rest of the day. You will learn a balanced way of working and an awareness that you can use for a long time and in many settings.
WHO: You–The Human Factor
The human element is the factor that is most frequently left out of the ergonomic equation. You are an integral factor in the ergonomic setup and its functioning. You could have the best, most expensive setup available and yet still have aches and pains from working at your workstation. By refining how you move and how you think about moving, you can make a difference in the outcome of your workday.
You will discover that you have more choices in how you work than you might have thought. You will find that your active participation in the process will make an enormous difference in your well-being.
WHAT: The Physical Setup
Having a setup that allows you to work optimally is extremely helpful in maintaining good health and a pain-free body.
Each of us has a unique body with our own proportions, so we need to tailor our equipment setup to fit our own needs. You may spend quite a bit of time working, so making the appropriate adjustments to your setup will substantially increase your level of comfort and productivity. The more options you have to adjust your setup, the better. The variables in a work setup include desk and chair heights as well as placement of monitor, key- board, mouse, and other objects you use frequently.
Would you ride a bicycle or drive a car that was misaligned so you had to compensate constantly just to keep the bike or car going straight down the road? Not likely. The same thing should be true at your desk. It doesn’t make sense to work in a situation that requires you to adjust and adapt constantly in ways that pull you off balance and pull your focus off your work.
WHERE: At Your Desk or Workstation
The ideas presented here are specifically related to the activities you perform at your workstation. You will learn to find ways of sitting that will help with typing, handwriting, answering the phone, working with files, and so on.
The principles presented relate to and apply to all the actions you perform throughout the day. Use your work activities and setup as a laboratory for discovering how to improve all of your activities.
HOW: Attention–Change Your Habits
You are going to learn to pay attention in a way that will change your work habits for the better. This process of learning and building awareness requires focusing on yourself. As you become aware of the various activities and stimuli that are in your sitting environment, you will be able to attend to them in a way that gives you more choice in your response. You will learn to recognize the choices you are making currently that may be detrimental and direct yourself to make new choices. Often the current choices are unconscious and need to be brought forward into your awareness. Some- times seemingly small unconscious habits have a very large effect on the outcome of your day.
Learning to pay attention to your habitual movements and patterns will not take your attention or time away from your work. You will see very shortly that even a few new ideas can result in changes in how you feel and work.
The more you pay attention to the ideas presented in this book the more quickly you will improve and discover the benefits of this new way of working. You will find that noticing what you do and giving yourself directions will become an integral and integrated part of your work routine. At first it might seem to you that you could drive yourself crazy by constantly paying attention to these ideas. If that is the case, incorporate the process slowly into your work routine. Sticking with the process at whatever pace you choose will be well worth it.
WHY: To Feel Better and Be More Productive
The freer and more balanced you are in your body, the better you think and feel. The better you think and feel the more focused you can be. And the more focused and clear you are, the more productive you will be without accumulating new tensions. As you acquire new habits you will enhance your thinking and productivity. You will find yourself on an upward spiral toward ease and lightness.
You are learning a process that helps prevent stress and injury. This is a process of refined balance and can result in new habitual ways of moving and being. It will lead you to thinking that is creative and movement that is coordinated and easy.