"Take a Break" - Linux Tool to Force Users to Take Periodical Breaks

take a break tool

In this article, I will discuss one such application called take a break. As the name depicts, it forces users (gently) to take periodical breaks, to prevent spending too much time in one session. The application was created after a question on AskUbuntu, where the user is asked about the application, which could help him to take a break. The working method of application divides time into two parts: up time and break time. The up time represents the time period for which you allow yourself to work at a stretch while the break time is the period for which the app asks you take a break. So, after the up time has passed, the app switches your computer to another state (such as screen dimmed, upside down or screen saver). Let's get started with 'Take a Break'.

Installation of 'Take a Break'

To install 'take a break' in Linux type the following commands in terminal one by one. To install it, We first need to add PPA. The first command will add PPA. The second command will update packages list available in the repositories. The last command will do actual installation of the application. It is assumed that You have sudo permission for installation.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/takeabreak

$ sudo apt-get update

$ sudo apt-get install takeabreak

Great, Now 'Take a Break' has been installed, you can launch that from unity dash:

Launch Takeabreak Unity Dash search

Below is the User interface of Takeabreak.

Take a Break application User Interface

Features of 'Take a Break'

  • First you will see "start on login" option as a checkbox in the UI. If you checked it then on login to your computer TakeaBreak will be started and will work according to your setting. You can also manually start and stop the application
  • In the settings section you can set the work time and break time in minutes. By default work time and break time is set to 50 minutes and 10 minutes respectively. it means after working 50 minutes you need 10 minutes break. You can change those according to you.

Next three check boxes are there (Show notifications, smart resume, show tooltips).

  • Show notification shows notification on start and stop.
  • Smart resume makes the tool start counting work time only from the moment the user actually starts working.
  • Show tooltips option shows the small explanation whenever mouse is hovered on any of the available option in the UI.
Take a break effect options.

The effect menu contains the actions taken by the tool for specified break time when work time is over.

It contains five actions :

  • screen upside down
  • dim screen
  • screen saver & lock
  • countdown message
  • lock screen

You can find little more in About & Legal notice section.

With Rapid Digitization, Humans needs to keep a healthy routine in check. As a Developer, I am facing health issue sometimes due to constant work and It forces me to think and find some utility for this, An application like 'Take a Break' can be very helpful in this. There are other applications like Workrave, drwright, Stretchly also provides same solution. Out of all these available applications, I found 'Take a Break' very cool. You can try other as well. If you have anything to say on this, please leave your feedback in comment section.

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