I’ve met a number of faculty who suffer from some type of health issues related to the too many years they have spent working long days at computers. The role of a faculty member at a teaching-oriented institution can mean a little less time in front of a monitor than in our corporate days, but there still remains the necessary work on a computer to be done.
I found a little program called Workrave that reminds you to take little breaks and even suggests some stretches you might do during your mini breaks.
From their website: “Workrave is a program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit.”
You can customize how often you’re prompted to take what they call micro-pauses and longer rest breaks. You determine how long these breaks should be and can always skip them if they wind up arriving on your screen at an inopportune time.
Workrave has worked well for me, though I did find two issues with the program:
1. When running iTunes, it would sometimes cause the music to distort when Workrave was running in the background.
2. I did find that I got in the habit of dismissing the break reminders, somewhat negating the benefits of the program. This was my own lack of discipline, however, and nothing to do with any limitations in the application.
Overall, I highly recommend Workrave as a great way to keep healthy while working in a position that requires computer work.