We’ve all heard it: “sitting is killing us”, “screens will keep you awake at night”, “desks are bad for your health”, “computers will give your robot eyes”, etc, etc. Yet for many of us, our jobs are at a computer and at a desk and until we can code from the beach while doing an inverted pose or with a laptop hammock stand, what are we to do?
Over the next couple of days/weeks, I am going to try a different break strategy every day. Feel free to follow along and leave your thought on the apps as well. First up:
- Cost: $4.99/Free trial available
- Also available for iOS
- Suggested by: Jeremy Fuksa, Veronica Domeier, Geoff O’Donnell
BreakTime is a simple utility that’s designed to help you remember to take breaks away from your computer. It never forgets a break, running in your dock and / or menu bar (or even in the background).
Well, the download screen leaves a lot to be desired on this one, but it was recommended by three people so I went for it.
Simple to install and get up and running. Option to display icon in dock which is nice. Presented with basic and advanced options. I went with the default set. You can go into super serious strict break mode by option for the Enforce break option which won’t let you click the “done” button early.
The menu icon will update based on how much time is left till your next break and also provide a larger visual representation of that on click.
Twenty minutes later we were ready for our first break!
I also was interested to see what the sounds were. They were quite minimal which was perfect. A quaint, non-jarring alert to let you know it was starting, and then the BreakTime options are presented on your main screen. You can wait the default two minutes, prompt the break in a minute or more, or select ‘done’ to end the break.
Any secondary displays are dimmed.
Any music playing will still play but clicks on other apps are prevented until selecting ‘done’. At the end of two minutes, the break screen stays up and begins to play a low-key alarm alerting you that the break is done. I expected it to end automatically, and could imagine if the break is triggered while I’m away from my desk that sound could be annoying.
I don’t know if the magic reschedule ever happened, which would readjust my break times if I was away for a while as I wasn’t away for a while. But definitely a neat feature.The Results
By the second break, I switched from 20 minute to 30 minute increments. Twenty was too often for me for a two minute break.
I was getting along nicely with this, but at the third break my demo prompted me to purchase:
BreakTime is a contender: pretty customizable and unobtrusive. And the sound effects are pretty nicely chosen and appropriate. I do wish that it closed on it’s own after the determined two minute break was up.
Tomorrow’s break app: Marinara Timer