Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

`Take a Break` is a small application which can be used to (more or less) force users to take a break after a configurable work time, useful if something like a popup reminder is not effective for you.

Take a Break

The application was created based on a question on AskUbuntu, in which an user asked for an application that could force him to take a break. With Take a Break, you can do just that - you can set it to force you to take a break - , or just notify you (a popup that stays on top of other windows but which you can easily close), all depending on the "effect" you choose in the Take a Break settings and of course, if you know how / are willingly to manually bypass those "effects" (like the "screen upside down" option).

Take a Break works like this: you set the work time, break time and the effect. The application will then perform the action (effect) you've selected to take a break, after the work time expires.

Among the Take a Break "effects" (actions performed when the break begins) are: dim screen, rotate screen upside down, lock screen or just display a countdown message.

Other Take a Break features include:
  • notifications for start/stop, restart and upcoming break;
  • smart resume: after a break, the application will start counting the time only when the machine is no longer idle (when the user actually starts working again);
  • Unity quicklist which allows you to toggle Take a Break on/off.
  • option to start Take a Break at login.

For the screensaver / lock features, "gnome-screensaver" needs to be installed on your system (it should be automatically installed if you're using Unity) so make sure you install it if you want to use those features!

I should also note that in my test, the "screen upside down" option didn't work because, according to xrandr, my laptop's screen can't be rotated.

While there are other more or less similar applications out there (like Workrave - which sadly hasn't been updated since 2013 and seems abandoned), Take a Break is simple, lightweight (you only need the GUI to configure it, there's another process which uses about 4 MiB of RAM that runs in the background and triggers the breaks) and quite effective I'd say :).

Install Take a Break in Ubuntu

Take a Break can be installed in Ubuntu by using a PPA. To add the PPA and install the application, use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vlijm/takeabreak
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install takeabreak
If you don't want to add the PPA, you can grab the deb from HERE.

Report any bugs you may encounter @ Launchpad.

Thanks to Jacob for the tip!