A Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is an injury that occurs over a period of time during which we repeatedly expose our bodies to minor strains without taking enough time to rest and recover.
Extended computer use without sufficient rest can lead to RSI symptoms such as discomfort, muscle weakness, and even nerve damage.
RSIGuard reduces RSI risk by:
- Reducing mouse and keyboard-related strain exposure
- Helping you to take rests when you need them
- Helping you monitor your work patterns in order to prevent or diagnose the cause of problems
Your organization is introducing RSIGuard to its employees for several reasons:
- Preventing injuries is better than reacting to injuries
- Injuries and fatigue lead to loss of productivity
- Injuries can raise insurance premiums, hurting you and your organization
- RSI symptoms can affect your ability to work and enjoy life
Getting Started with RSIGuard
Here are a few things to know about RSIGuard.
- If RSIGuard hasn’t already been installed on your computer, it will be shortly (or you’ll receive instructions on how to install it).
- Each time you start your computer, RSIGuard will start automatically.
- The first time RSIGuard starts, you’ll go through a Setup Wizard to customize features to maximize their benefit to you.
Take the time to carefully read and answer the questions in the Wizard — it will dramatically improve your overall experience with RSIGuard. If you want more detail about going through the setup wizard, you can download the Getting Started guide.
TAKING BREAKS MAKES SENSE!
But many computer users find it difficult to remember to take rests, and work for hours without pauses. If you’ve ever left the computer with discomfort in your hands, neck, arms, fingers, eyes, or back, then you probably need more breaks.
It’s important to take breaks at appropriate times — for example, after intense work sessions or long periods of straight typing and mousing.
By modeling your working patterns, BreakTimer will remind you to take breaks when:
- You’ve been working intensely
- You’ve not been taking rests on your own
When it’s time to take a break, RSIGuard will show you the Break Time window. Do the demonstrated stretches to relax your muscles and improve your circulation.
If you can’t take a break when it’s suggested, you can use the Postpone or Skip Break buttons as necessary.
If BreakTimer is too intrusive, you can tell it not to interrupt you during certain hours, while certain programs are in use, or for the next few minutes or hours. If you can never be interrupted, select “polite mode” in the Setup Wizard. In this mode, RSIGuard will indicate that a break is needed by presenting the button. The break won’t start until you click the button.
- How are you sitting right now?
- Are your eyes tired?
- Are your hands cold?
One of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to be aware of it!
ForgetMeNots is a feature of RSIGuard that occasionally reminds you to stop for a moment and consider how you are using your body, or how your body feels. This awareness will help you change your work patterns throughout the day instead of just noticing how you feel at the end of the day.
The ForgetMeNot window will pop up at an interval you select (e.g. every 15 minutes). Because taking brief breaks in addition to longer breaks has been shown to be beneficial, the setup wizard will also give you the option of making ForgetMeNots enforce short (e.g. 12 seconds) breaks whenever a ForgetMeNot reminder message appears.
Mouse usage is the most common cause of discomfort among modern computer users.
Unfortunately, common solutions to mouse discomfort like switching hands or pointing devices just move the repetitive strain to another part of your body.
The problem is that the constant gripping of a pointing device, and the static postures most devices encourage can quickly cause fatigue.
AutoClick eliminates the need to click entirely — which also eliminates the need to grasp the mouse tightly and maintain problematic static postures.
How does AutoClick work?
Normally, you move the cursor around the screen and click on things.
When you enable AutoClick, you won’t have to click anymore! Just move the cursor to where you want to click and pause. AutoClick will click the mouse for you after a brief, user-definable pause (e.g. 6/10ths of a second).
You might worry that the mouse will click when you don’t want it to. But, if you only move the mouse when you want to click on something, AutoClick will only click when you want it to.
To learn more about AutoClick, view the AutoClick video tutorial.
KeyControl is a feature of RSIGuard that lets you
- Create hotkeys to perform frequently repeated tasks
- Remap keys on your keyboard.
You can create hotkeys to:
- Perform double clicks, right clicks, and drag-and-drops via a hotkey (together with AutoClick, you can completely eliminate use of the mouse button)
- View frequently visited websites
- Launch frequently-used applications or open frequently-used files
- Type commonly typed text (e.g. standard email replies, email signatures, etc.)
Run complex macros using RSIGuard’s scripting language RSIScript
KeyControl will let you move keys to more convenient locations. For example, if you have discomfort in your pinky from pressing the TAB key often, you could swap it with the ‘Q’ key to reduce the strain from stretching your pinky.
DataLogger is a feature of RSIGuard that tracks important ergonomic metrics of how you work that will help you and your organization troubleshoot any discomfort issues you have at your workstation.
You can view your data by clicking on the Tools menu of RSIGuard, selecting “DataLogger Usage Statistics”, and then selecting “View Longterm Usage Statistics”.
If your organization has enabled Health Status Report collection, RSIGuard may also prompt you periodically to complete a discomfort survey to help your organization find ergonomic issues at your workstation before they become serious.
Getting the most out of RSIGuard
Thank you for taking the time to get to know RSIGuard.
Here are a few final tips to help you get the most out of your RSIGuard experience.
The Main RSIGuard Window
The main RSIGuard Window is your ‘portal to RSIGuard’.
From the RSIGuard Setup menu, you can access the “Settings” pages.
These pages give you fine control over all of RSIGuard’s features. Adjust your settings to maximize your benefit from RSIGuard features.
Getting More Information
From the RSIGuard Help menu, you can access:
- RSIGuard Application Help
- ErgoAnswers Ergonomic Training
Congratulations, you have completed the introduction tutorial to RSIGuard!