First off use a desk, not the couch or lying in bed with your laptop. Get a desk that is suited to you. Try them out in store and don’t order online (same as your chair). Your desk needs to be at a correct height for your needs. This means the desk needs to be at a height where you can sit comfortably, is not too tall or short.
I love standing desks but it is not the standing element I love, it is the adjustable height. I always recommend a combination of sitting and standing at the desk. It is the movement that is important. Sitting or standing for eight hours is not ideal, but chopping and changing is hugely beneficial. Move your body. Work out a combination that suits you best. Stand for an hour, sit for 20 minutes then repeat, for example.
Same as the desk, try it in store. Is it comfortable? Does your lower back feel supported? Is your upper back touching the chair or are you leaning forwards? Adjust the chair to suit your needs. Back tilt, seat height and so on.
Have your computer screen at eye level so you are not looking down. If you use two screens, do you dominantly use one screen? If so put that screen directly in front of you, so you are not turning your neck and it remains neutral most of the time.
I can not stress enough the importance of breaks. This not only is to give your brain a break but a chance to get up and move your body. Ideally every 20 minutes stand up, roll your shoulders and stretch your neck. Then every hour walk a length of the house or office to wake your muscles up and get the blood flowing. Try setting a timer on your phone or computer to help you take breaks.
Take note of your posture. Are you slouched, shoulders rolled forwards, upper and lower back not touching the chair, elbows supported, wrists extended? When studying or working for long periods it is important we take note of our posture and correct it as well as we can. Remind yourself by putting a post it note on your screen.
Create a work space that is minimal and not distracting. I love when my desk does not have much on it gives me a clear head and no distractions. A blank canvas to get things done. I also write myself a list of everything I need to get done.
Get It Sorted
If you are suffering from aches and pains, book into your local osteopath to get them fixed. Study and work is important. So don’t let pain hold you back. You want to be focusing on your work, not your pain.