Naga Chokkanathan

Stop looking at keyboard

Posted on: January 8, 2011

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This is a guest post by my friend Kanchi Raghuram. I requested him to translate one of his tamil articles in English for this blog, You can find his (tamil) blog with many other interesting articles in this URL –> http://kanchiraghuram.blogspot.com/

Are you a software programmer? Or someone who types a lot (documents / mails etc.,) in computer? If yes, this article is for you!

When you are typing your program, do you use all the 10 fingers? Or only 1 or 2?

In my observation, most of the programmers use only their index finger(s) to type anything, be it a program, or a document, or an Email.

A stern warning! If this continues, you will inflict severe damage to your body and health!

Till 20 years back, typewriting institutes were at their peak. We were proudly pedaling bi-cycle when going to institute with typewriting paper rolls inserted in handle-bar. In institute we were at freeze competition in accelerating typing speed, generating rhythmic key strokes and producing error free documents.

Due to this practice we never look at our computer keyboard when we type. This not only saves plenty of hours, but also multiplies productivity.

You might have heard of Butterfly effect. Like the tiny flapping of butterfly wings leads to chain of events resulting in large-scale climatic change, your tiny key board (improper) strokes can lead to cascading evil effects in your health, profession and finally in your life.

Now let me to list those cascading evil effects:

  1. When you don’t know typing, you key in almost every letter by looking both monitor and keyboard. It results in continuous small movements in your neck and its muscles are heavily strained.
  2. Your neck becomes tired quickly as it has to lift up and down your head weight (!). As you continue typing using two fingers without any alternative, the small disc portion in your neck starts to decay.
  3. This will interrupt the smooth blood flow inflicting head-ache and the pain will spread to your shoulders. Your back-bone which balances all the weights above will soon get its due (pain) and it will echo everywhere in your body.
  4. This will affect body’s position and if you don’t have the habit of exercising, every muscle will lose its flexibility. (Try to recall when is the last time you rotated your arms to a full circle. Can you do it now without any pain?!). With the stage set, RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) will enter into your body as unsolicited permanent tenant.
  5. Improper typing introduces uncountable errors also (Just try to count, how many times you hit back-space key per day). When you repetitively attempt to correct errors and when it is combined with body pain, your mind lose focus and you unknowingly introduce programming logic errors. They become apparent only at later stages and again you are forced to spend several hours to rectify them.
  6. This drags projects beyond their delivery dates. Clients who pay for every hour spent on project development will declare war with your manager.
  7. When the manager applies his / her pressure, you get blood pressure, tension and mental depression.
  8. When office hours prolong, you skip eating on time, forget sleeping hours. You would probably be visiting home only to take bath. Your entire health would be credited in company-given medical policies. Since your stay at home declines your household duties will begin stagnating. This will irritate your family members and heated verbal exchange will explode every day damaging remaining peace of your mind.

It is inevitable to stay late in office due to workloads. However, by the law of averages workload is not always heavy. Even during off-season project time, we could not return home early as we allow ‘keyboard chaos theory’ to inflate to this extend.

If you spare just 20 minutes a day to practice keyboard fingering, then within 20 days, your fingers will feel the keys and will take strategic position on keyboard automatically even when your eyes are closed. When they start to dance fluently without hitting back-space you will feel the pleasure of driving Mercedes-Benz.

Prioritize key-board exercise in your New Year pledges. You can return to home when Sun is still shining and your life will shine forever.

– Kanchi Raghuram

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The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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