I’ve taken thousands of painkillers over the last three years. It’s because I spent long hours at the computer, ignoring my posture, from a very young age. This ruined my neck (via degenerative disc disease) which led to horrific chronic pain. The doctors told me it would never heal – but I decided to fight back, and now I’ve been free of pain for almost a month.
This is totally free. It’s a gift from me to you. You deserve it. We’ve both lived through the pain, and we both want it to end. I’ve created something that lives on your computer to help you solve the pains caused by the computer: zeph.co/timer.
It’s a simple interval timer, and it lives in your browser as you work. You can set it to chime at various intervals throughout the work day to remind you to stand up and stretch (or to build any other habit you’d like once you’re free from pain).
It looks nice enough to leave open on a second monitor while you work – or you can set it as a background tab and forget about it.
- Neck pain – Set five minute intervals. When it chimes, stand up, put your shoulders back, and slowly turn your head from left to right, feeling the stretch of the muscles in your neck. If your neck really hurts, take a five minute walk around the office before getting back to work. Do it for an entire workday and see how you feel afterwards.
- Hydration – Set ten minute intervals. When it chimes, treat yourself to a sip of water. Easy, right?
- Stress – Set thirty minute intervals. When it chimes, close your eyes and take three deep breaths.
- Activity – Set hourly intervals. When it chimes, do ten pushups, jumping jacks, or just hold a yoga pose for a few seconds.
- Productivity – Start by eliminating all of your distractions (put your phone on silent, close your YouTube tabs), set the timer to thirty minute intervals, and begin working. When it chimes, take a short break, then repeat. You can use this to accomplish tasks in a short amount of time via your own focus.
I had originally planned for the timer to display a countdown instead of the current time, but I didn’t like the finality of the “time ticking away” and thought the clock interface was much friendlier and more approachable for daily use.
You can use it with or without sound, as the screen uses a slow transition to pulse the background from dark gray to white whenever an interval has been reached.
On each interval, two notes are played from a sample of a Steinway grand piano: a sustained C, then shortly after, a G.
Finally, if you set the timer to ring every minute and it’s currently 12:00 and 57 seconds, a chime will play on 12:01:00, 12:02:00, 12:03:00, and so on). Ringing on the minute change is intentional; it’s just the way I prefer the timer to work. I’d rather a timer rang on 12:01:00 than 12:01:37, 12:02:37, and so on. Worst case scenario, you do something you needed to do a few seconds early, and there’s no harm in that.
In a future update, I’d like to add the ability to mute or change the alert sound; I’d also like to add the ability to see the time of the next alert. Finally, I’d also like to make a true Pomodoro timer as a separate application with minimal controls, alert sound customization, and a nice font. This is mostly because I haven’t yet found a Pomodoro timer that I’ve adored.
Get in touch with me via Twitter at @markthomasm.
I’m not a doctor and I don’t pretend to play one on the Internet.