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It’s time to get rid of those 20 minute close-up breaks. If you’ve been doing them, that is. 😉
One of the side benefits of having me be your eye guru is my handy combination of personality traits. There’s one side of me that’s completely obsessive-compulsive. That part promoted a decade of research and bothering every single eyesight related professional between here and Sibera. All that to arrive at a place where I can almost guarantee you a 0.75 to 1 diopter improvement a year, every year.
There’s nobody else who can make that claim. Yes Jake, fully modest.
But that alone would make me an insufferable bore. Imagine your lamest math teacher in high school. Then imagine the math teacher hooking up with the most anal retentive librarian, and them having a baby.
That would be that guy. Not somebody you’d enjoy advice from.
I’m not that, though. If I was, I’d be assuming you did your 20 minute breaks, all day every day, for the past 3 weeks (or longer). I’d assume you do every last thing I tell you.
The odds of an eye guru existing are pretty slim. We tend to be to singular in personality traits.
Most people are either really into facts and numbers, or they are good at relating to others. Not just good, but one of “us”. As in, seriously do you think for one minute that Jake took 20 minute breaks, all day, every day, for a month? I’m probably the worst student that BackTo20/20 would ever see.
But let’s say you’re a good student. It’s truly great if you took all those breaks. The more of them you did, the more consistently you did them, the faster your eyes adjusted to giving you strain feedback. If you never did the breaks, you’re still sitting here today, going “what strain, I don’t feel anything”. If you did lots of 20 minute breaks, by now you couldn’t even go an 8 hour day without taking breaks.
If you didn’t do the breaks, you will want to go back and start now. Trust me. If you want serious and ongoing improvements, and you shelled out the cash for my advice, you might as well do it right.
The reality is that it’s almost impossible to make a program like this work, if I don’t account for all types of personalities. That’s what made this truly difficult to engineer, even though it all looks super simple as you go through it. (relatively, of course. getting up to speed took some effort on your part)
I have to try to get you on the same page as me, so my assumptions for your state of things match what I suggest you do next. Make sense?
But let’s get to the point.
The 20 minute breaks jump start awareness of strain. It’s 20 minutes, specifically. Not longer, and not shorter. The closer you were getting to those, the better your strain awareness is already, today.
Strain awareness is key to literally everything else we’re going to do here. BackTo20/20 builds from one thing to the next, and you really do need each piece to succeed at the next. Simple steps each of them, and each of them necessary.
Strain awareness is going to keep you from creating the wrong kind of stimulus, and from continuing to wear on your ciliary muscle.
Remember when I told you, some time ago, that I know you have an about 8 week attention span for this sort of thing? More if you do sessions more slowly, but the overall impact I can make has a specific window of your attention.
Since that’s the case, I can’t expect you to be doing 20 minute breaks forever. But if I just said one hour breaks, you won’t build strain awareness fast enough to get into the window of your attention. If I said 10 minutes, you wouldn’t get any work done. 20 minutes, that’s the number. Odds are you didn’t do them perfectly, but at least you tried for it.
I know I’ll be releasing you back into the wild, after about 8 weeks worth of sessions. By that time you’ll have to be rolling on habits, not exercises, if you’re going to continually improve your eyesight. You will have flown out of the nest-o-Jake, for better or even-better. That’s the big picture trick here, getting you up to speed and into habits, before you possibly stop paying attention.
Tricky, yea? Much easier all of this, with in-person therapy. But there we have it. I hope you come to appreciate how cool this whole setup really is, making it all work without being able to see your face and know your individual style. 😉
Well … is it working, so far?
To find out, let’s have a little experiment, just for you. Always validate, is the rule. Centimeter was one, prescription changes was another. Let’s now look at your strain awareness. (which will continue to build, not to worry)
Stop taking 20 minute breaks. Yay!
Set your timer to 45 minutes, instead.
At 45 minutes, take mental stock of how your eyes feel. If you keep notes, make a note. (super handy, notes. just set yourself a quick text doc on your computer, or a spreadsheet … it’s never too late, not even right this very moment!)
Give yourself a moment here, to open up a new Word doc or spreadsheet, and name it jake-was-right-my-new-log. If you don’t have one yet.
Then again, after the next 45 minutes, during your break, be aware of how your eyes feel.
Check your distance vision. Casually check your centimeter. Is it the same? Different? It’s perfectly fine if it’s all the same. We aren’t looking for change, we’re just looking for awareness. Strain awareness. Maybe the first three 45 minute intervals are fine. Maybe it’s after the 5th one, that you start to notice a difference.
Don’t do anything about anything. Just be aware. Notes help to make this a little bit of a habit for the next few days.
And realize, that this is just to set you up for the awareness that will eventually take you to taking breaks without the need for a timer. I’ll give you an example, fully relevant:
I don’t use a timer. And yet I personally can’t work for more than three hours at a time in front of a computer. Back before all this, I could do seemingly endless amounts of time. Today though, by three hours there’s too much blur at my close-up distance for real detail work, when I blink it’s not always clear, my eyes feel a bit heavy, a bit dry. If I push to four hours, I really get uncomfortable. I honestly can’t do more than four hours, and already three is where I just want to get away from my desk. (and I do, usually)
Three hours, I’ve incidentally found, is most people’s natural limit. (who have rebuilt their eye strain awareness with my method)
If I take an hour break, I can cram in another three hours. You can make it work, fit your lifestyle. Don’t worry. But you want to use my guided activities, as annoying as they might be, as a temporary crutch. What’s a few weeks, in the grand scheme? You’re rebuilding your eye strain awareness. That’s well worth a bit of temporary annoyance.
I hope that you’re really enjoying these experiences. I spent what feels like countless hours tweaking these things, trying them out on my ever-patient clients. Watching things totally not work. Trying to find the flaw, starting over. What you are getting here today is the results of a whole lot of efforts on top of just being the eye guru. And so simple, right? Common sense-like, short breaks to build strain awareness. Do it before excitement fades, turn it into a habit early on.
See you in the next one.