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Tweak Your Work-From-Home Life for Better Health

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Top-down view of a person working on the floor, laptop on lap, surrounded by papers and pencils and a cat with a post-it note on her belly

Photo: Creative Lab (Shutterstock)

In this weekend’s assignment for our October health reset, we’re going to look at the place where you spend most of your day: your workspace. Health isn’t just a thing that happens when you’re away from your desk; you deserve to support your well-being even while you’re working.

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We’re focusing on small tweaks to home workspaces in this installment, although your health is important no matter where or how you work. In many traditional workplaces, organizing with fellow workers to demand healthier working conditions is one of the things that should be on your mind.

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But for now, let’s take a look at your desk or study space at home.

Check your chair

First things first: Are you comfortable when you sit down to work? If you’ve been making do with an uncomfortable chair, treat yourself to a better one or take steps to make the one you have fit you better. Adjusting your chair’s seat depth, height and back support can make a big difference, as our own Abu Zafar found out when he invited an ergonomics expert to review his workspace.

But if that’s not your style, good news: you don’t have to find the perfect chair and the perfect position. You can simply move around during the day if that feels better to you. What matters is that you feel comfortable, not the exact way you find that comfort. I sit in a wooden chair with a pillowy footstool and shift position every few minutes. That’s not in any of the ergonomics guides, but it works for me.

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Tweak your positioning and peripherals

Is your keyboard too high? Your screen too low? Do you struggle to work with the trackpad on your laptop for precision tasks? All of these things are fixable. It’s totally fair game to get a separate mouse or keyboard if that will make you more comfortable or help you get your work done, and you can prop up a laptop or monitor on a stand—or even a stack of books.

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Also, remember that you can do different tasks in different areas, and optimize each accordingly. For example, a cheap folding table with a stack of books on top makes a great Zoom call setup—just carry it to the spot in the house that has the nicest looking background.

Break up the monotony

Not long ago we shared some suggestions to get exercise while you work or during your breaks. Besides setting up a standing or moving desk, you can make the time and space to get a fit mini workouts in, and dress at the beginning of the day in a way that facilitates that (sweatpants + a Zoom-appropriate top are a classic combination).

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Plan your meals

I don’t mean that you need a supply of meal-prepped lunches in the fridge (although that would be great). I’m thinking about whether you’ve given any intentional thought to when, where and how you’ll eat during the workday?

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If you always mean to step away from your desk for lunch but end up eating at your desk anyway, there’s probably room for improvement. Either figure out how you can keep your promise to yourself, or rethink your expectations—and be kind to yourself about it.

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For example, you might want to keep napkins and a coaster at your desk so that you can eat those meals neatly, and so your plate has a space of its own instead of getting plopped on top of the books and papers that are already there. Or maybe you eat at your desk because you get hungry in the middle of deadlines; in that case, keep some healthy snacks on hand to tide you over until you can take a real break.

Clean your damn desk

Finally, the one thing you’ve been neglecting: just clean your desk already. If your desk is anything like mine there are things you have placed there intentionally, like a dying spider plant, and then there are things that have just accumulated.

Earlier this year, I spent a mere 10 minutes cleaning my desk with the emotional support of my coworkers. The payoff was incredible: a year’s worth of detritus, gone in a flash. But my desk is once again looking like the “before” picture, and I’m thinking I might actually… do it again? And maybe I will feel calmer when I look at it, instead of stressed by the mess and by the papers I printed out and haven’t done anything with?

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Your results may vary, but a clean desk is a nice thing to have. You could even spruce up your surroundings—hang a new picture, water that spider plant. While you’re at it, give yourself a routine to follow. Maybe remove dirty dishes and unneeded papers at the end of each day, and empty the trash each week. I know, big steps. But if you’re happier and maybe a tiny bit healthier, it’s worth it.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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