Quest UX, Ergonomics, TAPs

Related: Fixing my body mechanicsThe Memex, 7 Decades In

The following optimization problem

  • I want my systems and environment to facilitate flow, harmony, order, clarity, productivity, creativity, problem solving capacity etc.
  • I want them to be robust to a fair amount of travel

Here’s a bunch of complaints about the state of ergonomics for knowledge workers:

  • We inherited incredibly inadequate equilibria reached by last generations. People working on chairs, a modern torture device. Computer monitors with tiny screens displaying information in 2D, with limited data structures and easy to clutter.
  • Sitting is terrible. Worse than smoking in general, particularly bad for my back pain.
  • That said, some of the best productivity tools are best used while sitting. Big screens have
  • Computer environment confuses my brain, I often feel lost. Tools that are supposed to keep me on track often simply add to the clutter.
  • Good solutions are often quite involved (a combination of multiple devices and paper) and not robust to travel and frequent environmental change.
  • In an ideal world, I would be able to spend a lot of time on the initial investment to make these systems better, but there are significant trade-offs with object-level work as the tasks are similar in nature.

Partial solutions so far

  • Standing desk. Helps with a few things but still not great for my posture and I can’t last as long in a state of focus
  • Kneeling chair. Mildly better for hip flexors but still severe pain between scapulae. Also doesn’t
  • Intervals of working and exercising (10-2, 10-10)
  • Walking, working on tablet, plus stopping to adjust things on computer when needed. Relies on internet, not possible everywhere, many tasks not suitable for tablet.
  • Squatting. My knees don’t last long. Also hard to work productively.
  • Sitting cross-legged / kneeling in couch. Often good, works at home, takes a while to set up if I want an external monitor.
  • Walking a lot, working on tablet / phone. Generally great but weather dependent and limited by
  • Walking a lot, stopping at benches


  • Android Apps for controlling computer from afar
  • Learn to break down tasks and delegate to others who don’t mind sitting at computer as much
  • Dictation. Still somewhat clunky and only possible when I’m alone.
  • Try the Stephen Wolfram thing.
  • Bracing for my back
  • Swiss ball
  • Balance ball on chair
  • Invest in a high-quality chair

Engineering principles

  • Boxing
  • TAPs
  • Error margins (works for stupidest self)


  • Better task decomposition and allocation in time may be the way forward.

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