I’ve just a discovered another reason why we should have regular breaks when using a computer for work or pleasure.
Reviewing the last two attempts by hackers to infect my PC with a virus I reflected how I was mentally fatigued at the time and made a couple of mistakes.
They weren’t fatal, but so easily could have been.
Naturally, I realised that if I had made sure I was fully alert when that bad email landed in my inbox I would not have made those mistakes.
Looking back I saw clearly that I was tired from sitting in front of the computer for hours on end without a sufficient break to recharge the batteries.
And there’s no doubt that your stress levels are elevated when you’ve been working too long; you get grumpy and irritable and just can’t wait to finish what you’re doing.
So when the hacker’s missive comes in it will be very hard to stay calm.
I will never forget the instructions we received in the newsroom when reporters switched over from typewriters to keyboards connected to computers or VDUs – video display units.
The strong recommendation was for a 10 minute break every hour, and the more I think about it the more it sounds right even now, almost 40 years later.
We were told that we needed that break away for many reasons, including to avoid repetitive strain injury – the old SRI – reduce the risk of damage to our eyes, stretching the legs and back and of course giving the old grey matter a little break.
Now we can add fighting back against potential hackers as another reason we should stand up and walk away from the computer for at least 10 minutes every hour.
We can back up this strategy by developing a protocol that lists the things to do and not to do when a suspicious looking email has arrived.
I have no doubt hackers hope that you’re dead tired when you deal with their virus email, that you panic and make a mistake.
This is especially the case if, for example, the virus email is a bill from your phone company and the amount payable is five times what you normally pay.
Well, let’s hit back by making sure we take those breaks every hour to keep us ready for any digital challenges that present themselves.