That laptop of yours is mighty convenient, but it's slowly killing you. Well, maybe not killing you, but it could be nudging you towards repetitive stress injury, eyestrain, and back problems. Thankfully, it's all preventable. Check out these five ways to use your laptop ergonomically.
Note: These tips are based on an entry in BNET's Business Hacks blog.
1: Get your keyboard at a comfortable angle
Laptops used to come with little pop-out legs in the back to set the keyboard at an angle. (I'm really dating myself.) But these days, to position the keyboard at an angle, you can prop the back of the laptop on a small book or other widget.
2: Make the screen brighter
Dim screens are better for battery life, but you'll get a headache staring at a low-contrast screen for hours on end. Bring a power cable so you can plug in and crank the brightness until it's comfortable to see.
3: Use a separate mouse
Integrated touchpads or pointing sticks are clumsy to use for extended periods. Invest in a small portable Bluetooth mouse. Likewise, many ergo experts advise using a separate keyboard, so you can position the laptop for optimum display position. This isn't practical on the road, but you might consider it if you use the laptop as your primary PC in the office.
4: Position the laptop for the task at hand
If you're doing a lot of typing, your wrists should be straight and elbows at a 90 degree angle, as if you were typing on a keyboard in the office. For many people, that might mean putting the laptop in your lap. But if you're mainly reading, that's a bad place for the screen. Instead, elevate it to near eye level. (You can put it on a stack of magazines or books.)