Is there a software which suggests me to make regular breaks during longtime staring at the computer screen? It should help to keep eyesight or organize regular physical exercises. It would be especially good if this software accounts spontaneous breaks.

  • 5
    Operating system requirements?
    – hairboat
    Feb 7, 2014 at 14:29
  • @AbbyT.Miller I think the question is narrow enough. Someone could answer about such software for macos as well.
    – leventov
    Feb 7, 2014 at 15:14

5 Answers 5


I like Workrave (wiki), it does this perfectly. Workrave is available on Windows and Linux. Install it on Ubuntu with

sudo apt-get install workrave


  • Three configurable types of breaks: short, long and day-limit

  • Ability to postpone / skip a particular break (although I recommend not to abuse this feature)

Workrave Preferences UI Workrave is fully configurable, here is the configuration dialog

  • Mouse / cursor tracking stops downcounters after 20 seconds of idle

For OS X, I've used Dejal Time Out. It's also available in the Mac App Store.

Dejal Time Out Screen

  • It's free.
  • It has some pretty fine-grained settings:

    Dejal Time Out Settings UI

  • It even has a feature to play music of your choice during your break.

  • 1
    Of course, the very idea of the program drove me crazy and it didn't last two days on my machine, but you're probably different ;)
    – user46
    Feb 7, 2014 at 14:45

I've used Evo in the past. It allows you to select from three different modes

  1. 20-20-20 (Every 20 minutes staring at a screen, you focus your eyes 20 feet away for 20 seconds)
  2. 60-5 (60 minutes staring at a screen followed by 5 minute break)
  3. Custom (set your own break mode).

You can also install an add-on in Chrome which enables desktop notifications, although you can simply access the site in any browser.


You can use RSIGuard:

  • Windows
  • Non-free
  • focus on RSI
  • organize regular physical exercise:

Break Time UI

  • has many settings:

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Other ideas: List of repetitive strain injury software


This is a Windows answer, but check out TakeABreak by Skrommel from Donationcoder.com. If you are familiar with AutoHotkey, you can modify the software and make it better for you, as the source is available (I did).

By default, it does the following. Every 45 minutes it locks your keyboard and mouse for 15 minutes, so you are literally forced to stop working. There is no workaround apart from restarting your computer.

It even prevents you from opening Task Manager to kill it (though you can kill it from the command line). It gives you a 60 second warning before breaking (that was too much for me; it gave me enough time to kill it if I was really into my work - so I disabled the warning), and then the computer locks. When you return from your break (moving your mouse any time after the 15 minutes will do this), the 45 minutes of work starts over and the cycle continues.

Also, there is an option to set up the interval durations via an ini file.

If what you want is to ensure is that you really take breaks when you need to, there is no better solution. Sometimes it irritates the hell out of me, but it always makes me more productive.

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