Sitting at a desk all day is hard work. And it not only puts stress on you mentally (you know, from working so hard) but also physically. It’s just not healthy for us to sit that still for that extended period of time. Plus the eye strain from staring at a computer all day…it’s just not a good idea.
Which is why I’m really happy I discovered Workrave.
Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.
I’ve used it for most of this week and I love it. It starts automatically when I boot up my computer in the morning, and every hour I have it set to force me to take a 4 minute break. What’s really nice is you can customize everything. From how long your breaks are to how long you go between them, even if you have them at all. (I turned off the Micro-breaks because I found it distracting to have to stop what I was doing for 20 seconds every 5 minutes).
I have a few favorite things about it though.
- It really does force you to take a break. If your mouse is moving at all during your allotted “break time” the timer pauses and begins to flash. Also it won’t minimize until your break is over.
- It gives you 2-3 exercises and stretches to do during each break. I’ve found that I don’t feel as worn down at the end of the day, and my attention span is better in the afternoon now.
- Again, it’s super customizable. I find the micro-breaks annoying, so I simply turned them off. Also I can choose how long my breaks are, and how long I go between breaks. It comes with recommended settings. (One 20 second micro-break every 3 minutes, and one 8 minute rest break every 45 minutes.) But I have it set so that I get one 4 minute rest break every 55 minutes. Just enough time to do some stretches and get up to refill my water or go to the restroom.
- It counts any time your screen is locked as a break. The whole point is to get you away from your desk, so naturally it pauses when you’re out for lunch, or in a meeting. The whole point is to give your eyes a break from staring at a screen all day.
- It gives you statistics about your usage. It tells you how many breaks you’ve taken or skipped, as well as how much you use your mouse and even how many keystrokes you average per day. Nifty!
So what do you think? Is this something you would use? What do you do to help keep yourself alert and energized during the work day?