Sitting long hours hovering over a computer monitor has its drawbacks. Do your eyes hurt? How about your back or wrists? Studies have shown that breaks are an essential part of a workday. Without them, repetitive-stress injuries can occur.

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Alas, it’s easy to forget to take them when caught up with a variety of work assignments or scouring the web all day. Even if you only work part-time or at home, breaks are crucial to your overall health.

We came across an app for Windows and its called Scirocco Take A Break; it will remind you (discreetly if you wish) when you are due for a breather. The utility will rest in the system tray, away from any open windows and when the time comes, will start flashing. If you need to be more discreet at work, you can change the alert to any of its included sounds or even choose one of your own .wav files. Not discreet enough? You can change the default alert to a simple pop-up.

“Version 2.7 adds the ability to activate the screen saver when on break, the choice of a variety of tray icons for more discretion at work and the main modify timer button on the main screen becomes a one-time change modification.”

The reviews are mostly favorable with most admiring the simplicity of the program. The only drawbacks mentioned by users are a lack of some features. Don’t expect anything fancy or glamorous; this is a free timer app that promises to do one thing: remind you when you should take a break. It delivers on that promise.

Remember to set your timer when you get to work. You’ll have to choose how long it’ll be before your next break, and program how long those breaks are. Once you get back to work, the little utility will start automatically letting you know when it’s time for break number 2.

The utility is only available for Windows at the moment. Mac users may want to check out Time Out. It’s also a free utility with the same basic idea but with a little touch of eye-candy.

So give those eyes a rest and pediculate for a moment or two. Your body will thank you.

  • Download Scirocco Take A Break [CNET link]
  • Download Time Out [Mac App Store link]

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