Take-A-Break (reminders to frequently leave your computer)

[Version 0.95 is available here (Take-A-Break). Just open the ZIP file and copy to your desktop. The program creates a Take-A-Break.INI file in your Documents folder just to save a few settings.]

The newest version provides menu options for setting the location of notifications and lets users display 1 minute countdowns during Work intervals. The program also shaves 5 minutes from the work intervals so if users only take a 5 minute break they can keep on track with meetings or other scheduled events.

After reading more articles about how people don’t take enough breaks from working at their Office or Home office computers, I decided to write a quickie application to remind them to get up and leave their computers every so often. As with any reminder program, users have to make up their mind to ‘obey’ the reminder notices. And that can be a difficult thing to do.

The new program is called Take-A-Break. When it is first run, this information window will be displayed.

Take A Break defaults to 25 minute Work intervals and recommends 5 minute breaks until users select a different value. Users will see this notice at the start of each work interval. This notice will disappear in a few seconds.

After 30 minutes, a Break timer window appears requesting users leave their computer for at least 5 minutes at a time. The Break timer window remains on screen to show how long a break users have taken. The window will not interfere with any typing in progress and can be moved to any position.

When you are ready to go back to work, just click ‘Back to Work’ and the 30 minute timer will start over. If you have a meeting or need to pause the program then click ‘Pause Program.’ The tray icon is Green for Work, Gray for Break time, and Dark blue for Paused program.

If you wish to change the Work time interval then right-click the program’s tray icon and choose a different value. This value will become the default until you change it again. The 1 Minute interval is just so users can quickly see how the program works. Quiet Mode simply disables the double beep that normally is heard when it is time to take a break. [v0.92 allows users to go to the Program Website and to do Update Checks for new versions. The program will check up to one time a day for updates automatically.]

From this menu, you can also do Pause Program, Start a Break or Start a Work Interval. You may also choose AutoStart so that the program will run automatically the next time you sign onto your computer. The ‘About Take A Break’ will re-display the basic instructions.

Left Clicking the program’s tray icon will either do Pause Program or Back to Work.

From your keyboard, you may also press ESC to close the Break window and start Work. And you can press Shift-ESC at any time to go into a new Break. These two key settings will probably be user changeable in the near future. But, from experience so far they don’t appear to interfere with normal Windows applications.

Users can now set the background color of the Notification messages via the menu.

That’s all there is for this reminder program. I have tried to keep it very simple and effective.

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