Artists and Ergonomics: Timing is everything

Have you had your coffee?  It’s time for a pop quiz!!!  So the question is… how long should you work before taking a break?   Drum roll please…………….

how long to work before break

And the answer is…

20 minutes.  Yup.  20 minutes.

Now, I know what you are saying…

I can barely get into a flow in 20 minutes.

I will lose my train of thought if I break in 20 minutes.

No way!  Time is money!

To which I respond:

Every 20 minutes, you should take a 20 second break.  This means, pick your head up and look out the window or at something far away.  It means, go grab that new water to clean your brushes or refill your coffee.  Do a gentle stretch.  This is not a walk down the hall and chat with your coworkers for another 20 minutes sort of break.

Consider sitting in a lecture, or church, or anywhere for that matter.  Do you sit and hold your position for great periods of time?  No.  You move.  You constantly shift in order to stay comfortable (or awake as the case may be.)

When we sit down to create however, we often focus so intently on the project at hand that we hold a position for much longer than is typical, especially with detail work and especially with computer work.

We get close.  We move in small amounts and we don’t.change.anything… until its done.

So if need be, set a timer for yourself to reduce joint strain, eye fatigue, back issues, shoulder issues… and use the 20/20 rule.

A 20 second break every 20 minutes.

Happy OT Month everyone!


One thought on “Artists and Ergonomics: Timing is everything

  1. This is great! Just must remember not to look at Facebook in that time lol. I often realise that when I’m painting I forget to breathe! Breathing is so important (I play the violin, and breathing is essential for playing music, but my teacher is often pointing out that me and my friends are holding our breath!).

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