If you have a normal 9–5 office job, chances are you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen. You may not know this, but by doing so you’re also looking at blue light.
Blue light is not dangerous, but exposing the eye long enough to it tends to worsen headaches. You might not necessarily feel those side effects if you have breaks at work, or if you don’t have to be on your computer non-stop from 9 to 5. But when you do, and when you come back home and have to write for a while on your laptop for personal and/or business purposes, the headaches can really hit you.
Here are 5 ways to minimise headaches while still being able to work with a screen.
1. Blue light glasses
My personal favourite. Blue light glasses filter out part of the blue light that gets emitted by your screen. I used to get crying eyes and headaches after prolonged exposure. I tried the Izipizi Blue Light Sunglasses for $50, and it changed my life.
If I stay way too long looking at a screen, I still get the headaches. But for a normal daily dose of screen time, they’re perfect. I don’t know whether it’s a placebo or not, but it works, and that’s what matters to me.
2. E-ink screen
E-ink screens are mostly used with e-readers these days. There is a ton of super exciting things coming up in the e-ink technology world, but it hasn’t hit the global market yet. For now, e-ink screens don’t show color and have a pretty slow refresh rate. But the huge upside is that they don’t use backlight, so they don’t strain your eyes at all. It’s literally like reading on paper.
Most of the e-readers (which all have e-ink screens) out there can be rooted. This means you can “hack” into the e-reader pretty easily to install a new OS on it, to then use whichever apps you want. Such as note-taking apps, word processors… You can turn your e-ink screeen into a screen to work with.
There are also e-readers that come with Android installed on them, so you just have to install a word processor, pair a bluetooth keyboard with the device, and type away.
This guy built his own e-ink typewriter.
This e-ink tablet runs on Android.
Here is how to root your Kindle to install whatever you want on it.
A good old typewriter definitely won’t give you a headache. It’s not as fast, but it feels nice to use, and it will never bug.
You can also go for the modern/vintage twist. There are a lot of models of electronic typewriters from the 90s and early 2000s. They tend to be more noisy, but they’re more efficient than old-school ones, and still won’t strain your eyes.
More recently, a majorly overpriced e-ink typewriter came out. Check it out here.
This old-school typewriter with a modern twist won’t give you headaches and will make you feel like Shakespeare.
This retro electronic typewriter is a good mix between no screen and efficiency.
The Alphasmart is a device with 2 things: a keyboard, and a tiny old school LCD screen. On top of minimising your headaches, it is also a great device to train your creative writing. The screen can only display 3 lines of text, and going back to edit what you wrote is cumbersome. So you usually have to go with the flow. For $50, it’s worth a try. You’ll also need a compatible SD card to store your data.
David Kadavy wrote a whole blogpost about the Alphasmart. He wakes up in the morning and types at least 100 words on his device with his eyes still closed. He writes about his dreams, his thoughts, his ideas.
The Alphasmart isn’t on the market anymore, but you can find a lot of used ones on ebay.
The good old way to stop looking at a screen. No backlight, no pixels, no bugs. Sometimes it’s good to go back to basics, things that will never fail you.
If you’re serious about writing, don’t go cheap on your notebook. It is a productivity tool, an investment in yourself. It will make your writing look nicer and give more importance to your work, making you more motivated in the process. Get a nice pen too.
Here is an entry-level notebook.
Here is a very nice notebook.
Here is a very nice overpriced notebook.