I’ve noticed lately more traders are using laptops as their trading computers. And why not? It’s convenient. It’s freeing. You can easily take it on a business trip or to any room in your home.
However, if you are spending a long time in front of the device, you might start noticing discomfort around your neck and shoulders. A laptop’s smaller dimensions make it difficult to set up for ergonomic use. So you will need to come up with proactive solutions to the problems you face.
Consider the Potential Problems
Laptops violate basic ergonomic design. The keyboard and the screen are too close to each other. If your hands are comfortable, then the screen isn’t in the right position, and vice versa.
Depending on how you set up your laptop, you have the potential to hurt your wrists, shoulders, neck, and back. And the intensity of these strains or injuries will depend on the time you spend on your laptop.
Determine Your Laptop Use Patterns
Before you commit to ergonomic changes, think about how often you use your laptop.
If you use your desktop computer for most of your trading and only use the laptop occasionally, then you are probably not at high risk for neck or shoulder injuries. A few minor tweaks to your posture are probably all you’ll need.
But if you are a frequent user, spending long hours crouching over your laptop, then your risk factor is much higher. You will need to take more drastic action to prevent injuries.
Potentials Solutions for Better Laptop Posture
If you are an occasional user, laptop use can still lead to a bit of discomfort. Here are some steps you can take to keep your body happy:
- Use a comfortable chair you can sit back in.
- Put your laptop in your lap so there is no pressure on your wrists.
- Tilt the screen to make sure your neck is comfortable and stays in an upright position.
If you use the laptop as your main trading computer, then you probably spend a significant amount of time on it. You need a more comprehensive solution.
Here are some things you can do to achieve a more ergonomic posture:
- Buy a stand (or make one) that can elevate the laptop screen to your eye level.
- Use a separate keyboard and mouse. Although we prefer wired devices for trading in general, a Bluetooth device might be the better option here.
- If possible use the keyboard in a negative slope position. The negative slope allows your arms, shoulders, neck, and back to relax.
- Put the mouse on an adjustable platform so you can move it for maximum comfort.
Multiple Benefits from Multiple Monitors
Most modern laptops come with multiple ports suitable for connecting additional monitors. You can use this feature to create a multi-monitor trading computer.
For example, you could add a desktop monitor positioned on a stand behind and above your laptop, plugged into your laptop’s HDMI port. The HDMI-connected desktop monitor can function as your main screen. This will help with your posture, while making your trading system more functional.
Or check out the travel monitors we offer. These plug into your USB ports, and can easily be set up on either side of your laptop.
Avoid Injuries on the Road
Traders who travel a lot with their laptops should also consider the weight factor.
If your laptop and accessories exceed 10 pounds, you should use a carry-on bag that you can pull. Otherwise, you risk injuring your neck and shoulders.
Laptops are great for allowing you a change of scenery in your trading day. Just be smart about how you’re using your laptop to make sure you aren’t unintentionally harming your body. If you’ve been hunching over that tiny screen, now is the time to make some changes.
There are more trading computer tips like this in our buyers guide. Check out our “How To Buy a Trading Computer” e-book.
We hope today’s Quick Tip helped you. If you found this helpful, you’ll want to check out the other computer How-To’s I’ve created on this page. You can always call us if you have questions: 800-387-5250