Taking periodic breaks from work, particularly work on the computer, to relax your eyes and muscles is necessary to prevent long term detrimental effects on your health. We have discussed this issue at least three times in the past by reviewing different break reminder programs (also Workrave and FadeTop). We will just continue from where we left and add three more programs to the list for your benefit.
BreakTaker is a simple and lightweight application for Windows that reminds you to take breaks while working on your computer. The default notification delay is set at 55 minutes. After the period has passed a small window pops open as shown below asking you to take a break. There is no countdown timer. You simply take a break according to your convenience and click on “I did” when you want to return back to work. Or simply click “No thanks” to cancel the reminder.
Big Stretch Reminder sits in your system tray and will alert you when it is time to take a break. The interval between breaks can be user specified, the default is 20 minutes. When the time comes, Big Stretch Reminder will show either a balloon tip, or an intrusive alert box with a random RSI prevention tip. You can also make it display a custom message.
If you want a timer during the break period, choose the micro-break mode and set the break period. It is also possible to set a sound break reminder using one of the pre-built alarms.
To prevent you from ignoring the notification, Big Stretch Reminder can disable the desktop until you respond to the notification.
Rest Reminder is a small utility where you can set the interval between breaks as well as the length of the rest period. Additionally, you can set an inactivity period. If the computer is inactive for that long the timer will be reset. This is set to same length as the rest period. The idea is that if the computer was unused for that long, the user had already had his or her break.
When it is time to get up and away from the computer, the screen dims and a rest reminder dialog box appears. The funny part is the dialog box jumps all over the screen never staying in the same place for more than a few seconds. It is not difficult to catch up to it, but if you do and try to cancel the break the program tries hard to change your mind.
It also comes with a facility to lock the screen after a certain inactivity period.