You don’t have to look far to find any number of research studies which point out the dangers of sitting down all day as we do our jobs in front of computer screens. And that’s not counting the rising number of people who suffer from RSI (repetitive strain injury) from doing the same kind of computing and mousing tasks day in, day out.
Of course technology wouldn’t be technology if someone didn’t come up with a tech solution for this growing problem, and so we present Workrave. This tiny freeware program for Windows and Linux provides an infinitely customizable timer which delivers alerts to help you stop work for micro-breaks, rest breaks and even lets you set a daily limit for time spent working on the computer.
Now there’s nothing to prevent you ignoring all these flashing boxes and cute system sounds as they pop up at regular intervals, but if you’ve got any sense you’ll realize that taking a break every so often to go grab a bite or walk around the room is actually a very sensible idea. And if you’ve ever suffered from any degree of carpal tunnel problem through over-use of the mousing fingers (as we have) then you’ll give the software even more respect.
The beauty of the program is the fact that you can tweak every aspect of the timing and alert types, which means you can adjust the program to help with your particular needs. It’s perfect if you prefer to space out rests over a longer period, or if you need more persistent nagging to take breaks. It’s also very subtle, so you don’t end up getting angry with the alerts and uninstall it in a rage.
I’ve found it’s also useful for helping to keep hydrated, because it’s very easy to forget to drink when you’re hard at work in an intense session, and dehydration can be a real health problem if you’re not careful. So yes, this is a program which could really help your health improve, and no it won’t work at all unless you’re prepared to at least give it a try. If it’s too annoying, go into preferences and alter the settings to lower its hassle factor, but at least try and make it work rather than giving up completely.
Your body (and maybe even your mind) will love you for it!