Guard against repetitive strain injury

January 16th, 2008

AntiRSI icon - repetitive strain injuryRepetitive strain injury, and other computer-related physical stress, is a growing problem in today’s high-tech world. Many of us spend long, uninterrupted hours sitting and staring at computers. For some, the strain continues after work as well, as more and more people become addicted to surfing the web and checking email. This can result in back and shoulder pain, wrist pain, headaches, eye strain, and a general waste of time and energy.

AntiRSI is a great little program that forces computer users to take regular breaks. It’s been around for well over 2 years, but for internet addicts like me, it’s ground-breaking news. Since I started using it a week ago, it has transformed the way I use my computer.

Every 50 minutes, the program begins an 8 minute break. A 13 second “micro pause” comes a few times per hour. This reminds me to get up, stretch, rest my eyes (which can dry out from extended computer use), and take a mental break. An unexpected consequence has been that I am now more aware of the passage of time while I am online. Knowing that a break is coming motivates me to efficiently finish up my current tasks, rather than check email or aimlessly surf the web.

Just like anything else, the program will only work if you are willing to work with it. You can continuously “postpone” your 8 minute break indefinitely, and nothing will stop you from shutting down AntiRSI entirely. For those of you who genuinely want to guard against computer-related stress, or who just want to be more aware of the time you spend online, AntiRSI is a great tool.

AntiRSI is designed to work with Macs only. For windows users, try WorkRave.

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One Response to “Guard against repetitive strain injury”

  1. Eric Says:

    Ubuntu (Gnome) comes with a built-in setting to promote or force a Typing Break. I set it to a 2 minute break every 15 minutes (of typing).

    Learning Dvorak is also a good idea.

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