I’m busy. You’re busy. We’re all busy. Sometimes, the sheer amount of crap you have to deal with can almost feel overwhelming, but a good way to get control of your chaotic to-do list without going crazy is to make sure you’re getting enough downtime, too.
We have’t talked about the macOS app Time Out in more than a decade, but it’s a great way to ensure that you’re rewarding yourself with regular breaks throughout the day – be they “sit around and do nothing” breaks, “it’s time to stand up” breaks, or “Time to go lose a quick game of Fortnite” breaks. You should be treating yourself on a regular basis, and Time Out will help you stick to that promise.
How to get set up with Time Out
When you first start up the app, Time Out suggests two different kinds of breaks that you should consider taking throughout the day. The first, a “normal” break, is your typical “do nothing for 10 minutes every hour” routine. Fire up Metafilter. Put on your favourite music. If you work in a pretty hectic environment and feel guilty about doing absolutely nothing at your desk, it might be a good time to refill your coffee/water/soul (or sneak off for a fake poop, which not even the busiest of worker bees would dare question).
Time Out also suggests you try taking advantage of “MicroBreaks,” or quick, 15-second spurts every 15 minutes – the kind of thing you would use to remind yourself not to slouch in your chair, to look away from your monitor and refresh your eyes a little, or to just stand up. Standing feels great.
You can edit these intervals to anything you want, so be creative if Time Out’s suggestions don’t align with your workday. As you continue forward through the setup process, Time Out will ask you if you want it to try and determine when you aren’t at your computer — if you’re not typing on it, for example — so it can assume that you are out taking a break instead of prompting you to do so at set time periods.
The app will drop you off at a final configuration screen that lets you set all sorts of options, including whether you want to use the app’s built-in snooze feature to delay a break for any number of minutes, whether you want a countdown for your breaks to appear in your macOS menu bar, and whether you want the app to skip breaks if you’re hunkering down in a particular app — like when you’re editing a video, for example.
TIME TO BREAK. DO IT NOW.
When break time hits, a giant image of the app’s tropical logo will fade into view on top of whatever you’re working on. The break timer then starts, though you’ll also be able to postpone your break for two different time periods or skip it altogether. Once the timer has elapsed, the icon fades back into nothingness, and back to work you go (high ho).
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