What's in my NOW? — Magnus Smith
Magnus Smith is a 48-year-old website/database developer becoming very interested in learning how his brain works, to make life less upsetting and limit overwhelm. Hobbies include book collecting, sailing, woodwork, bass guitar (and repeatedly opening the kitchen cupboards to see if his snack standards have dropped yet).
Any monitor/laptop stand
Laptops are so useful, but if you use them on their own, then it is impossible to have healthy posture when typing, and you will end up in pain. It is as simple as that; having the keyboard near enough to type on means you are hunched in order to look at the screen. Having an external monitor, or lifting the laptop onto a stand so the screen is at eye height, makes a huge difference to the damage your back was being hit by. A separate USB keyboard becomes necessary, but will make a huge positive difference to your wrists too. I love having real size keys to type on. The productivity benefits of using an extra wide monitor (or two/three) have been proven for over a decade now. If you sit at your computer to work, be kind to your body, so it can last you until retirement!
External USB mouse
An external USB mouse completes the items needed for healthy posture, and after suffering the agony of 'tennis elbow' after too many years with a standard mouse, I'm a convert to the design which helps your forearm rest more naturally. There are plenty of wired and wireless options available to suit all budgets. Again, this is an investment in your health.
Time for a story now: As I approached the age of 45 I suffered from back pain that didn't go away. I thought it was just the curse of getting older, but thankfully my optician thought to tell me I now needed glasses for looking at a computer screen, instead of only wearing them for driving. All of a sudden my back pain disappeared! Turns out I had been leaning forwards in order to see the computer screen clearly, but without even realising I was doing it. I had the worst posture, and the pain was nature warning me about it. Thank goodness for cheap glasses being available to buy online, once you've got your prescription.
This online service will take an image showing rows/columns of numbers, and convert it to a spreadsheet or table of text. I use it nearly every week. My job often involves spreadsheets, but what really makes it hard is when people send a screenshot of their spreadsheet. Or worse, a photograph of a printout! With this tool I can return the unworkable image to a format where I can actually manipulate it.
Copy and paste out of a PDF is always fraught with uncertainty and formatting issues, I have found. This online service will extract text/numbers from a PDF, maintaining the table structure, so you can paste it into a spreadsheet/document etc. PDFs have their place, but colleagues and customers tend to overuse them, causing endless trouble for those who just want to copy a table out to another application.
"You are not your thoughts"
Your brain is a machine for making suggestions. You don't have to feel bad for having a thought you disagree with, or chose to not act upon. This is how the brain operates - it just makes suggestions. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, upset, furious, crippled, blocked or terrified, some of the reason lies within the truth I've just explained. Your brain is having thoughts, but they are not "you". You are above and outside those thoughts, and there is a way to decide not to let them force you to feel a certain way. It's a complicated subject, with several good books which might help, but fundamentally, you don't have to feel awful just because your brain made a suggestion.
What’s in your NOW?
We want to know what’s in your now — a list of 6 things that are significant to you now — 3 physical, 2 digital and 1 invisible.
If you’re interested in contributing an issue, use this form to submit: https://forms.gle/Pf9BMuombeg1gCid9
If we run your submission in our newsletter and blog, we’ll paypal you $25.