How do you work? Ergonomically?


Not a question about workflow within your studio, but more how your work attitude is.

My girlfriend is a physiotherapist and is studying Ergonomics. She is of great influence on my work attitude and the reason for this question. Taking micro breaks, stretching and work position are now deeply embedded into my brain. I am becoming sort of an advocate myself, trying to convince my friends the necessity of a good work attitude.

I am not really a die hard. My girlfriend argues with me a lot about the hours I work, the studio without windows I work in, the crapy chairs I have etc. etc.

This business is hard work. It’s not as physical as a job in constuction, but with sitting most of the time, repetitive motions and stress among other things we are asking a lot from our bodies.

So how is your work attitude? Does it come naturally? Or is your employer forcing it on you, or just slaving you until you drop?



i’d really love to get more info about how to improve my workflow ergonomically.
right now, i’m sitting all day long, without doing anything for my health.

please share some tips from the therapeutic pros! :applause:


damn i just wrote a whole article and then my browser crashed

again but in short:

get different chairs to change during work
get an air pad to sit on
its important for the body to move and be confronted with different positions

microbreaks are very good too i guess
its not really about stop working its about doing something different every hour or so
take out the trash or something like that

drink a lot of water >3litres
just pure water (for various reasons its way better than any tea or so)
have a bottle standing right next to your workspace so you can always take a sip

do a lot of stretching
at least 30 min a day
the back of your legs need a lot of stretching if you sit a lot
a lot of back/spine problems come from unflexible legmuscles

and do sports
3 times a week
its important to find a sport you really like
there are thousands of different sports. there is one for everybody
i am not talking about chess though :slight_smile:


I make tea very often :)…
And I cycle, every day. Keep moving, or your waistline starts moving, I always say…

  • Flatten your keyboard
    • Let go off the mouse/keyboard while reading (I’ll bet your holding it right now!)
    • Slowdown mouse speed (small movements are bad)
    • Lose the wrist pads (they suck)
    • Use a wacom (and mouse, change often)
    • Get a second monitor
    • Drink lots of water (you will have to go to the toilet often and not be at the desk)
    • Smoking is NOT a good alternative!!:slight_smile: for the point above.
    • Install workrave ( or workpace (
    • Relax grip on mouse (No white knuckles)
    • Turn on one click on Windows; set a mouse button to double click.!
    • Knee angle ~90 degrees.
    • Chair height so that elbows are just free from arm rests or table. (to relax the schoulders)
    • Feet flat on the floor.


well, when I’m here in my room, I’m sitting cross-legged on a cheap office chair, typing on my keyboard on my lap, and mousing on my knee. The window behind me is a source of eye strain because it causes glare in my monitors, but my roommate keeps opening the damn shade and I’m too lazy to put it down.

Of course I do get exercise walking to classes every day, and of course there are some other more private fat-burning actvities;):wink: I participate in, so I’m doing alright :cool:. And the eye strain thing hasn’t become a real problem yet, I still have better than 20/20 vision:)


hmm…nice tips so far! maybe i can persuade my health insurance consultant to sponsor a brand new intuos3?! :drool:


Valkyrien… keep doing those ‘fat burning exercises’ and you’ll probably go blind regardless. Haha.

My optical mouse and keyboard are designed ergonomically and Microsoft decided to add these little programs that inform me how to operate with minimum strain, though most of it is common sense… or at least I would hope so.

My advice. Get a big bad ass comfy chair. They’re not just for the guy you work for… :thumbsup:

… and the amount of time we all probably spend at these big, lifeless screens… your ass and lower back would really appreciate it.

And yes. An Intuos3 is my next purchase aswell. :smiley:


I think exercise is really important. I run 2 to 3 miles everyday, and usually workout at the gym for a half hour to 45 minutes. Sitting down all day in front of a computer gets me sluggish. So if I can run and get out for a little while, I don’t feel as bad. Oh and those Private exercises are fun too. :thumbsup:


Yup. The gym. I go too. The only real extensive movement my career choice requires is lower than my elbow and higher than my shoulders.

As it turns out… Digital art is not so much a job as it is a lifestyle. At least it is if you want to stay mobile.

Who knew? :shrug:



I was refering to different but quite related exercise;) The kind that won’t make you blind, or at least my gf and I are hoping not!:wink:


The best change I made was to set up my workstation so that I can either work standing up or sitting.

Check this site out.



we have really comfy chairs and adjustable desks. its nice to raise my whole desk to match up with the angle of my arm. i also have an ergorest for my mouse arm. it forces you to move your whole arm and not just your wrist. i also use the wacom alot, even to search websites to give my mouse arm a break. i take lots of little breaks for water and do laps around the office. we tend to have alot of meetings so its nice to break it up abit. do the 20/20 rule. stare away from the computer every 20 minutes and focus on something 20ft away. i also keep my monitor back lit. those clip on lamps work great when you point it on the wall.


I had consultations with three separate ergo/phys therapist types and 5 months of ultrasound

after all that

take break every 20 minutes to 45 minutes…I mean get up and move your @$$. Do not “lose track of time”.

circulation is the key to staying healthy (cold hands =bad) which is why so many people talk about exercise in this thread. Stretch *

I switch between three mice…I also use a tablet as well but mostly to paint

the “workrite ergonomics” keyboard tray I have is a great help… it’s very adjustable and a pretty good size

a good chair is critical…I prefer those that have no arms…At my previous job I had an aeron and taking the arms off was difficult but doable.

*ABOVE ALL ELSE consult a medical professional if you suspect you have any kind of RSI. Don’t wait

keep sane keep healthy


ahh, so my hands have been getting cold less because I’ve been out and about more…huzzah!!


its all about elbow position. my mouse pad becomes my elbow pad. i never work without my elbow sitting on the desk. this way, i use my entire lower arm to move my mouse, not my wrist.

of course, i only do that if i don’t have this…

ergo rest!

with this cyborg piece of engineering, you use your both your lower and upper arm muscles to move the mouse, not your wrist. you can work all day without your arm getting tired and your wrist will never hurt again.


sorry kole:love:


in my work place i’m probably the only one who exercises. comparing myself with them, i find the only difference is that they’re just not predisposed to being active. it’s all in the mind. instead of taking the elevator, i just run up the fifth floor. after a while, it’s nothing. i go to a nearby convenience store to get a snack, i climb down. then going back up, i climb up. i hardly take the elevator.

as for chairs, i got to pick my own. and what i picked was a simple one: no arm rests, with swivels, light, and swift on wheels ;). it’s almost like a stool… my idea was this: the less time i spend in front of the computer the better. the easier i can stand up from my chair the better. some of those “ergonomic” chairs are really comfortable. and therein lies the problem. they’re too comfortable to begin with, it encourages you to sit all day. i prefer to spend 30-60 minutes at a time in front of the computer. it’s not absolutely necessary to spend more than that anyway, even at crunch time. i get up, do PK rolls, climb up or down the stairs, vault over the stair rails, do push ups, anything. personally, i cant stand sitting in the front of the computer all day. but that’s because i’m inherently active. i dont have to convince myself to get up. i just do, or else i feel rotten or get a headache.

another tip: might be useful: set your mouse cursor to no acceleration and lower sensitivity. this will teach you to use your arms, not your wrists. i find that accelerated mouse cursors tense up my muscles in an effort to control them. but that’s just me. i also think there’s a certain discipline you can employ by lessening unncessary mouse movement. for example, when i work in maya, i used to navigate like a bee: pan-zoom-rotate-zoom-rotate-pan-etc-etc like i needed to fine-tune everything (if you guys ever watched gnomon videos, you’d see mr alvarez navigate like this). this caused pain in my wrists: too much movement.


One simple thing to add with brakes it is you have a question for someone in the same office/studio and you can either ask them face to face or send them an e-mail, get up and find them. It helps add to the blood flow and gives you a change of scenery.

Being in my mid 30s I also back getting exercise. It seems like every year I have less free time, but still find a way to cycle at least 3 times a week. When I feel fit, it allows me to focus better.


I think having a comfortable chair is the most important thing for anyone who works at a desk. Noone should have to suffer back aches from sitting. I find that both the seat and the back of a chair should have a bit of rearward inclineation to be comfortable. I find this supports a good spine angle and prevents my butt from slipping forward in the seat. Some chairs even allow you to tip back a little ways to support this position. The other thing thats important to me is having a keyboard tray below the surface level of the desk. I cant see how anyone can use a keyboard sitting on top of their desk. And having a split ergonomic keyboard is nice also.