Stretchly is a cross-platform and open source application to reduce the effect of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) developed by spending long duration in front of a computer screen. Workrave development has been down since 2013 making stretchly an updated alternative. Stretchly will notify you to take breaks in intervals you feel comfortable with so you can perform some other tasks to reduce strain from consistent posture and exposure to screen.
On breaks, you are prompted with random activities you can do. Activities like take a glass of water, look away from the computer and others will encourage you to spend your breaks productively.
Stretchly automatically records your usage with mouse and keyboard activities. Idle time isn’t recorded against the intervals. User can set these intervals for two type of breaks; namely micro breaks and breaks. Microbreak is a short break after a short duration interval. It is recommended to take short breaks every 10-20 minutes of 20 seconds to 1 minutes. Breaks is a longer break with a longer duration between breaks. This depends on how long you are continuously working. I have set a 4 minute break for every 1 hour.
Setting up Stretchly is easy with a wizard you can open from right click context menu from the icon on the taskbar. You can also pause or skip to the next break directly from the menu.
The setting wizard will guide you through the setup to set the duration of your intervals. You can also set the theme for the alert window, sound when the break is over, also language and other configuration.
You can set the pop up window to run full-screen if you are determined to take your breaks seriously. You can set it to give a countdown to your break and to exclude idle time as usage time.
Stretchly is built using ElectronJS which makes it cross-platform application able to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It runs a couple processes for operation but is light on resources. Workrave and Stretchly use a similar amount of memory in the background. I like it that Stretchly allows color theme configuration to make it more comfortable for the eyes.
The shortcomings are Stretchly isn’t able to pause itself when a full-screen application is running. So before you play a game, you will have to pause the application not to get disturbed in-game.
If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, a break reminder app is necessary to maintain your posture and health. Sitting for long duration of time has been shown to constrict blood flow and be harmful in the long run.