When working on a complicated stitching job such as a Milky Way panorama, it’s easy for me to lose track of time.

I had a conversation with a buddy of mine that reminded me that computers can hurt you. Or rather, you can hurt yourself at your computer. Here’s an idea to help you stay healthy. Note that I am not a health professional — nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently. You should research and implement for yourself.

Get moving

There is a tendency to cozy up to your computer, get involved with a project or image creation and loose all track of time. Your body was designed to move and the repetitive stroking of the keyboard or clicking of the mouse was not what we need to be doing.

Full image of Milky Way panorama at the Toadstools in Utah. I can get lost processing a file like this, so a timer reminds me to move it a little!

For the longest time I was in this camp. Getting up after hours in front of the computer passed in what I thought were minutes. Aching, hurting and feeling all cramped up.

I heard a suggestion to add a timer to my computer. I usually set it for a half-hour to 45 minutes. When the time is up, it’s time to get up and move for just a couple minutes. Do a few pushups or jumping jacks. Not athletically inclined? Just stretch and/or walk to the kitchen for a glass of water. It doesn’t take much.

A program like this also gives your eyes a break from staring at the screen. Ask your optometrist if this is a good idea! Betcha I know the answer.

Apimac timer window. In the Pro version you can make it an icon size. I just put it behind the window or send it to the dock.

You can find free timer apps online. Search Google for timer apps for a computer. You’ll get a number of possibilities. As a Mac user, I decided on Timer from Apimac. It does all the basic things I need. There is also a paid version (for around $30) that adds lots of features that you can learn about on their website.

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob