Great article about monitor setup and eye strain

I’ve been having an influx of headaches and migraines recently and i’m trying to eliminate as many causations as possible. I am on a computer at work all day and probably a few hours at home too. Multiple screens, multiple devices, multiple settings. Some I can control, some I cannot. I wanted to research a bit on monitor setup and eye strain and configure things correctly that are under my control.  I’ve been following the advice from this Wired article I came across while doing some research.


Monitor Position

I might have had my monitor slightly too high. I wanted to try and correct my forward head posture and thought if I put my monitor slightly higher, it would force me to keep my head back. Apparently I never factored in eye strain.

Color Temperature

If you’ve ever been in my house, you’ll know all of my lightbulb temperatures match in every room. I’m a little crazy like that and from being hobbyist photographer, one thing I’ve learned over the years is temperature matters. If I’m at work, I try to match my monitor the the ambient temperature of the room. Sounds simple, but I work in an open environment. There are light sources everywhere and people do not share my enthusiasm for consistency. To make matters worse, I have a dark section where I sit.  About 25% of my area has no lighting and the other 75% is too bright.

I’ve attacked this problem by getting a desk lamp with adjustable brightness AND adjustable color temperature! The kicker is, we have bright white LED bulbs in the ceiling, but I sit directly next to a tan wall, which gives off a “warmer” profile when reflected. I still haven’t settled on what color to use consistently, but I’m contemplating putting up a big whiteboard just to bounce white light off. We’ll see how that goes.

Monitor Brightness

The brighter the room, the brighter the monitor. It’s a pretty simple rule and my office is bright. We have LED lamps that face the ceiling and they reflect the light back down to the floor. This creates a very hard light source given how bright they are and how close they are to the ceiling. Being in an open office, they’re hard to ignore. If I look 3 inches above my main monitor, I have 6 rows of super bright lights directly in my view. To compensate for this, I’ve had to set my monitors to almost their brightest settings.

For my newer, low end monitor, it can handle it. However, my 27″ 2560 workhorse can’t hang anymore. It’s clearly not as bright as the newer kids on the block and it breaks my heart. I’ve never had an issue with it at home because I can control the lighting in my home office, but out there in the wild, it can’t hang anymore.

Faced with the dilemma of either turning down the brighter monitor or blasting the brightness on my 27″ so much it blows out the contrast, I chose neither. For now, it’s sitting under my desk until I can establish the MVB (minimal viable brightness, I made that up) and make an ultimate decision.

Email Workflow for Making Work out of Email

I receive an average over 100 emails every day and most of them go unread. I try to keep up, but it’s a losing battle. Every 5 minutes a new emails shows up. In a meeting, at lunch, on the phone, trying to answer a previous email, trying to get real work done. Doesn’t matter. It’s non-stop. Ding. Ding. DING. I’ve turned the email notification sound off completely. I’m starting to drop the ball though. Now come the follow up emails, or reminders, or worse…schedule meetings for things that should be emails. I was stuck and needed to find a better way. I came up with an email workflow to combat this issue and so far so good.

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