A break is…

There are breaks, and there are breaks–not all breaks are equivalent. There are times when a “head” break is needed–away from the index, away from the computer, and sometimes even away from the cat. Then there are the breaks that are for RSI prevention. Those are distinctly different from “head” breaks!

Sometimes I hate my WorkPace break software–I’m in the “zone” and I truly don’t want to be interrupted, but needs must. I’ve gotten just a bit too far into working so that my pace of work has triggered the software to hop up and make me take a break for the sake of not finishing my day with aching wrists, tingling and burning fingers which will keep me awake at night. I did use the word “make” advisedly because the software (not the cat here) will literally force me to take the break by locking the computer mouse and keyboard. Locked out for 10 minutes out of every two hours–and I don’t want to quit work and do something else even for ten minutes.

Most of my working time I don’t hate WorkPace because it’s adaptable and unobtrusive as long as my keying speed isn’t excessive; most of the time during writing an index it’s not. WorkPace doesn’t have to lock the computer and make me go away. Most of the time the software doesn’t even have to make me take the micro-pause kind of breaks either. But

Cat grooming on keyboard of laptop
The other break-time software

there are times when I do need those and the “major” breaks to avoid overuse effects.


I’ve finally found a solution to this enforced break-taking when it occurs. Those ten-minute periods are reserved for doing something mindless so my brain can keep thinking about indexing without intrusions or interruptions–I don’t get out of the “zone”. Mindless tasks include lots of things that I really don’t like doing anyway (probably just because they are rather mindless), but those are good in short intervals: dusting, vacuuming, general tidying, sorting laundry, and the like. Ten minutes is about all I can tolerate at one time. (Did I mention that I’m NOT a fan of housework?)

It turns out that this is really a win-win situation for me. I don’t think that the WorkPace designers had in mind that it would be used to actively encourage housework but it is amazing how much housework you can accomplish in a few ten-minute breaks. I’ve done something worthwhile without really interrupting my thinking process so I’m ready to go back to work without having to make a shift in my mindset. True, the Swiffer duster is always prominently displayed so that I can pick it up without even having to go looking for it–but then I did say “mindless” didn’t I?

Ginger tabby (large) lying on my laptop keyboard.

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