how to keep your laptop from turning into a pain in the neck

by kye on December 30, 2009

A reader just wrote and told me that he was trying my focusing/relaxing exercise for his shoulders–but he suspected that his own tension was from hunching over his laptop.  I wrote back with what I’ve done myself about the laptop-in-lap problem.  At some point in the ensuing interaction I realized that this might be helpful to others, so here ’tis:

Start with a compact, lightweight laptop-sized USB keyboard.  Mine’s a Datavision with super-easy key action–I can type on this thing for hours without wearing out my fingers.

Next add a good solid music stand that will let you adjust its height.  Mine is made by Proline and is stable, portable, and highly adjustable.    Since it’s made from aluminum, it also keeps the laptop cool.   Adjust the height of the music stand so that when you put your laptop on it, your eyes are at the same height as the screen when you are sitting comfortably.

Plug the keyboard into your USB port, put it in your lap, sit back, and enjoy.

There’s one last important detail: taking good care of your eyes.  It works wonders to look away from the screen every 20 or 30 minutes.   But it can be hard to remember to do that.  Easy solution: a desktop timer/reminder.  I’ve been using OneAlert.  Besides guarding my eyes, it helps me remember to take out the recycling and water the plants, too. :)

Total cost?  Just over $100.

If you have other good tips which can make using a laptop more ergonomic, please share them in a comment below.

  • r4i software

    This one is really very nice and useful I am very excited about this one.You give us very nice detail to us.

  • acordaamor

    Hi Kye — thanks for this. I also wonder what would happen if the reader brought some attention to his shoulders while he was sitting with his laptop, and whether that would relieve some of the tension that tends to build.

  • kye


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