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Most people spend a lot of time time in front of a screen, whether it be a computer, a phone, or a TV. And while there’s nothing wrong with that, it can take a physical toll 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy Working on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it's quite the contrary. It's very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.... Read More on your eyes, your neck, your back, and your wrists. In the digital age it has already got a name.

Computer Vision Syndrome is bringing a lot of the young and old to the physicians. Most of us experience it, and all of us can prevent it with some healthy habits.

Here are 7 ways you can reduce the time you spend in front of a screen without missing out on your favorite activities.

Read Paper Books

read-paper-books

E-readers, tablets, and phones have made it easy to have any book ever written at your fingertips no matter where you are, but the backlit screens on most of these devices can contribute to eye strain if you spend too much time looking at them. Be kind to your eyes and read paper books — a small book is easy to stash in a briefcase, purse, or backpack, and keeping one next to your bed will encourage you to read before you go to sleep.

If you really don’t like paper books Books Suck: Why I Love My Kindle More Than Dead Trees Books Suck: Why I Love My Kindle More Than Dead Trees Modern e-readers hold thousands of novels, weigh next to nothing, have built in lights, and don't give you a concussion when they hit your nose. Read More , using a Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or other e-ink readers will let you read without exposing your eyes to the bright light that comes from a tablet What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? What's The Difference Between An E-Reader and A Tablet? Read More .

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Set an Alarm

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If you get engrossed in your work, it can be hard to remember to take a break 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer 3 Tools To Remind Yourself To Take A Break & Relax While Working At The Computer Working on the computer may not be very physical, nevertheless it's tough on your body. If you are damned to spend your working hours behind a desk, you had better find ways to do something... Read More . Fortunately, there are a number of different apps that you can use for reminders to rest your eyes. EyeLeo reminds to you take short breaks and do a few eye exercises every ten minutes, and blocks the screen for a longer break every hour.

You don’t need something this advanced, though; you can just set a timer on your computer or your phone to go off every 30 minutes or so. When it does, close your eyes, dim your screen (or, even better, turn it off), and focus on something further away.

We talk about the Pomodoro Technique a lot. You can use the breaks to build your own 20-20-20 rule for preventing eye strain. Pomodoro timers are available for every platform. eyeCare is a simple Chrome extension that is designed with the rule in mind.

Take Notes on Paper

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If you’re a student or you take part in a lot of meetings, this could potentially cut out hours of screen time each day. Taking notes on a computer is good, but jotting them on paper 3 Paper Notebooks Worth Shelling Out For 3 Paper Notebooks Worth Shelling Out For We do a lot of writing about high-tech ways to keep track of things and manage your life. But sometimes a plain old notebook is the best thing you can use. Read More is even better — not only is it easier on your eyes, but it’s also better for recall; you’ll remember more of what you hear.

And if you need the easy access and organizational capacity available from a note-taking app 6 Modern Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Thoughts Organized 6 Modern Note-Taking Apps to Keep Your Thoughts Organized Ever had a thought slip away and wish you had written it down? It won't happen again when you have one of these modern apps at your fingertips. Read More , you can just type your notes later (or digitize them), which will go even further toward helping you remember what you wrote down.

Play Board Games

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There are some great iPad board games The Top 5 iPad Designer Board Games You Can Gift This Christmas The Top 5 iPad Designer Board Games You Can Gift This Christmas Giving apps as gifts can be great little stocking fillers for your loved ones, and if you know someone who loves both boardgames and their iPad, then I have the perfect list for you right... Read More out there, but playing on a real board is a social experience that can’t be matched. If you already know gamers, great! Just plan a game night. If not, you could try a game like Guillotine, which is great for people who are new to board games. Or use a service like board-games.meetup.com to find a gaming group near you.

If you’re into storytelling or want to capture the feel of a video game more than a board game, give a tabletop role-playing game a try. You can download some for free 5 Tabletop RPGs You Can Download For Free [MUO Gaming] 5 Tabletop RPGs You Can Download For Free [MUO Gaming] Playing games on a computer or console is great fun, but these systems set the rules in code and often are designed to be played with just one person in a room. This makes the... Read More  or try your hand at some great indie RPGs Adventure Awaits! Play These 5 Free Indie Tabletop RPGs Adventure Awaits! Play These 5 Free Indie Tabletop RPGs These are the best indie RPGs you've never heard of. Each of these free games has something fresh to stir your imagination. Read More . No idea what a tabletop RPG is? Check out these 5 websites that will help you learn The 5 Most Important Websites To Learn about Tabletop Roleplay Gaming The 5 Most Important Websites To Learn about Tabletop Roleplay Gaming The most interesting people I've met have been RPG players. Tabletop RPGs have been labelled as everything from satanic to the cause of suicides – but they're really just a form of collaborative storytelling. Read More .

Read Newspapers and Magazines

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There are loads of great places to get the news online, and most magazines 4 Apps To Read Magazines On Your iPad 4 Apps To Read Magazines On Your iPad I know, MakeUseOf provides you with more than enough quality reading material, but what if you're after something other than fantastic technology tutorials and app reviews? I think we all have those moments of thinking... Read More now have mobile versions, so you could easily get all your news from your many devices. Why not read some of these things in paper form and give your eyes a rest? Newspapers are pretty inexpensive, and most magazines charge about the same for a print subscription as a digital one (you can usually get both for just a little more, too).

Sure, you won’t be able to get the instant breaking news 4 Easy Ways To Keep Up With Breaking News Online 4 Easy Ways To Keep Up With Breaking News Online In today's world of fast-paced breaking news, it can often times be difficult to keep up with everything that's going on. If you want a targeted experience — one that includes smartphone alerts from your... Read More this way, but you’ll still hear about things through social media and quick checks of the news online. But when you want to sit down and get a handle on what’s happening in the world, reach for a hard copy.

Track Your Screen Time

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How many hours a day do you spend looking at a screen Addiction, Quantified: How I Measured My Smartphone Usage For A Week Addiction, Quantified: How I Measured My Smartphone Usage For A Week For one week, I installed apps and set up counters to measure my smartphone usage. What did I find out about my own smartphone addiction? Read More ? It’s probably more than you think. A number of studies have been done on the amount of time that people spend on screens, and the numbers are very high: kids spend about 7.5 hours each day looking at a screen, while adults spend 8 hours. That’s a lot.

To get an idea of how much screen time you get each day, keep track for a week. You can use something simple like an Excel spreadsheet, or you can use a dedicated app, like Moment. Moment will only track your phone screen time, but you can use a tool like the Let’s Move screen time tracker to get a more comprehensive view.

Write Letters

write-letters

When was the last time you wrote a letter? It’s probably been years. And in the age of email, writing a letter on paper might seem ridiculous — and it is if you’re communicating with someone that you need to get in touch with on a regular basis. But if it’s someone who you just catch up with every few weeks or months, writing a letter is the perfect way to show them that they matter (and save yourself some screen hours).

No idea who to write to? Use one of these websites to send a letter to a soldier 5 Websites From Where You Can Write To Soldiers 5 Websites From Where You Can Write To Soldiers Read More  — they’ll appreciate it more than you know.

Rest Your Eyes, Improve Your Health

Spending too much time in front of the screen is bad for your health — it’s hard on your eyes, and sitting in front of a computer can be bad for your back and your wrists. Desk exercises 8 Easy Exercises To Help You Stay Fit At Your Desk 8 Easy Exercises To Help You Stay Fit At Your Desk Staying fit at your desk is actually possible. Here are some exercises anyone can do. Some don't even require getting up, others take no longer than 10 minutes out of your daily routine. Read More can help a lot, but swapping out a screen activity for a non-screen one will do you a lot of good. Why not give it a try? Your eyes will thank you.

Do you do any of these things away from the computer? Do you feel eye strain or headaches after looking at a screen for hours? Or are you not bothered? Share your thoughts below!

Image Credits: suffering from eye strain Via Shutterstock, Pretty relaxed young woman, Silver stopwatch with silver laptop, Female being ready to take notes, Playing a game, Close-up of female hand on cup, Young and successful business man, Portrait of a young woman writing via Shutterstock.

  1. fcd76218
    August 15, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    You ARE kidding, aren't you, Dann?

    "Read Paper Books"
    Every tech writer and pundit has acclaimed e-readers as The Best Invention Since Sliced Bread. According to every article on e-readers, if you do not have one with at least a thousand books, you are a Neanderthal and a Luddite and should not be allowed to walk on this planet.

    "Take Notes on Paper"
    If you do not use Evernote, Onenote or some other note taking app, you are seriously out of date and way unkewl.

    "Play Board Games"
    Haven't you heard, only looosers play board games! All the kewl kids play Angry Birds and CandyCrush.

    "Read Newspapers and Magazines"
    Another looooser activity. RSS is where its at. Better yet, get your news on Twitter in 140 character bites. Who wants to read pages and pages?!

    "Write Letters"
    What's a letter?! Oh, you mean make marks on dead trees! Texting is so much faster and hipper.

    Sorry, Dann. I could not resist yanking your chain a bit and making fun of the electronic age. :-)

    • Dann Albright
      August 17, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      You're right—I'm pretty clearly unkewl. :-)

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