Workrave is a Windows and Linux only program that can help prevent dreaded repetitive strain injuries. Unfortunately techies are quite familiar with RSI.
Once installed, Workrave runs silently in the background monitoring how much time you’re using the computer. In pre-set times of activity, the program gives you alerts on when breaks are needed. You’ll see three types of alarms:
- Micro-Pause of 30 seconds;
- Rest break of 20 minutes;
- Daily limit (to turn off the computer).
The times established for each alarm can be modified according to your preferences or, better yet, you can leave everything as standard.
In its standard settings, after 30 minutes of continuous activity you will see a notification that you need a Micro-Pause, a break of 30 seconds. When the warning is activated you can ignore it, delay it but it is recommended that you obey it. You will be able to see the 30 seconds countdown and in the meantime you can stand up, move a little or just stop typing to give your fingers some rest.
After about one hour and a half of activity its time for you to take a longer 30 minute break. The program takes so much care of you that it will even recommend some exercises for your arms, shoulders, neck and fingers.
And… after 6 or 8 hours Workrave will tell you to shut off the computer. Enough!! Your daily limit has expired. While the alarm windows are activated your keyboard and mouse will be locked, so you’re prevented from cheating.
You can also extract reports of your activities to measure how much work you’re doing per day. A neat feature that always scares me with the proof that I’m really a workaholic.
All of this to help take care of your health. A really nice program to have installed on your machine, but it is only worth it if you follow the advices and take the regularly scheduled breaks. Which is really hard to do when an alarm comes up in the middle of an important assignment you’re working on.