Add Years to Your Life with These 4 'Work Break' Apps

Are you notoriously bad at periodically standing up from your desk or resting your eyes after staring at your computer screen? These tools can help.
Add Years to Your Life with These 4 'Work Break' Apps
Image credit: James Morris Studios | Entrepreneur

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Associate Editor
5 min read

Cause of death: sitting.

Okay, we might not see that on a coroner’s report anytime soon, but there’s an abundance of data suggesting that sitting could be slowly killing us. For one, research suggests that the more we sit, the more we tend to be at risk for long-term cardiovascular issues. Another paper suggests a link between sedentary lifestyle and incidence of cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Finally, here’s the kicker: Sitting is associated with increased mortality rates of all causes in both women and men.

Convinced? Us, too. That’s why we’ve rounded up four of the best tools for reminding yourself to take a break at work so that you can, well, “live long and prosper.”

Stand Up! The Work Break Timer

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What We Love: “We want you to live longer,” promises this free iPhone app. Stand Up! offers reminders to stand up throughout the day at your chosen interval, and you can also set how long it prompts you to stand up for (one minute, five minutes or more). Once you see the “Time to stand up!” alert, you can either click “OK, I’m up” or “snooze” the reminder by clicking “can’t right now.” Plus, you can enable location services so the app won’t bug you when you’re not in the office.

What Customers Say: One reviewer writes, ‘This app really does what it says it will do and gets me to stand up! I love that it has a visual record of how I'm doing for the day.’ Another says, ‘You can select how often to remind you, what days and even where. The snooze is a very nice feature too if you’re not able to get up and move at the moment.’

Best Place to Get: Free on the App Store

Eye Care Plus

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What We Love: One key struggle facing excessive screen time? Eyesight issues. That’s what motivated the team behind Eye Care Plus to create an Android app with a collection of more than 50 eye exercises. The app asks users to set aside just five minutes per day to improve their vision and separates exercises into categories like eye relaxation, dry eye and other conditions. Plus, it includes 12 eye tests to track how much your vision has improved and a training calendar to help you stay motivated to take breaks.

What Customers Say: One reviewer writes, ‘It works. A couple of months ago I noticed the odometer of my car was getting too blurry to read. Started doing these exercises as instructed and after a couple of weeks the dashboard was crystal clear.’ Another says, ‘Initially I was under the impression that being attached to one's mobile can only damage the vision. But after installing this app, my perspective has completely changed.’

Best Place to Get: Free on the Google Play Store

Time Out

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What We Love: This desktop tool for Mac serves as a gentle reminder to stand up or look away from your screen, and it specializes in two settings: “normal” breaks for 10 minutes per hour and “micro” breaks for 15 seconds every 15 minutes. Each type of break is customizable, and users can also add their own, like fixed lunch breaks. You can also set the timer to sense when you naturally leave your computer and restart the countdown towards your next rest period. When it’s time to stop looking at your computer screen, Time Out will fade the screen display and pull up a progress bar showing the remainder of break time. If you’re in the middle of a task, it’s possible to postpone or skip a break.

What Customers Say: One reviewer writes, ‘I’m super-critical of software design, and I’m impressed with Time Out. It fixes all the things wrong with all the other break timers I’ve tried, plus adds a lot of extra features without cluttering the UI.’ Another says, ‘This app runs my life… or at least the 70 percent of my life I spend in front of a computer screen.’

Best Place to Get: Free on the Mac App Store

Randomly RemindMe

Image credit: James Morris Studios | Entrepreneur

What We Love: No matter what kind of habit you’re trying to build -- periodically standing up to stretch at your desk, closing your eyes after a certain amount of screen time, drinking enough water -- Randomly RemindMe can help. It’s an Android app that specializes in custom reminders, and it really means custom -- users can set specific reminder times or instead choose time intervals like every few hours, days or weeks. You can also attach locations to reminders and track how often you follow them with in-app “click” vs. “dismiss” notification tracking.  

What Customers Say: One reviewer writes, ‘This is a good little app to remind you to do things that you need to do without having them regularly scheduled.’ Another says, ‘To me it's like having a wise friend that reminds me all the things that are important.’

Best Place to Get: Free on the Google Play Store

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