Whether for work or leisure, many of us spend entirely too much time on the computer everyday.  This puts us at risk of having or aggravating Carpal Tunnel problems, but thanks to Workrave you can help to divert these problems.

Workrave helps Carpal Tunnel problems by reminding you to get away from your computer periodically.  Breaking up your computer time with movement can help alleviate many computer and office related health problems.  Workrave helps by reminding you to take short pauses after several minutes of computer use, and longer breaks after continued use.  You can also use it to keep from using the computer for too much You time in a day.  Since you can change the settings to suit you, this can be a great way to make sure you’re getting the breaks you need.

Install Workrave on Windows

If you’re using Workrave on Windows, download (link below) and install it with the default settings.

One installation setting you may wish to change is the startup.  By default Workrave will run automatically when you start your computer; if you don’t want this, you can simply uncheck the box and proceed with the installation.

Once setup is finished, you can run Workrave directly from the installer.

Or you can open it from your start menu by entering “workrave” in the search box.

Install Workrave in Ubuntu

If you wish to use it in Ubuntu, you can install it directly from the Ubuntu Software Center.  Click the Applications menu, and select Ubuntu Software Center.

Enter “workrave” into the search box in the top right corner of the Software Center, and it will automatically find it.  Click the arrow to proceed to Workrave’s page.

This will give you information about Workrave; simply click Install to install Workrave on your system.

Enter your password when prompted.

Workrave will automatically download and install.


When finished, you can find Workrave in your Applications menu under Universal Access.

Using Workrave

Workrave by default shows a small counter on your desktop, showing the length of time until your next Micro break (30 second break), Rest break (10 minute break), and max amount of computer usage for the day.

When it’s time for a micro break, Workrave will popup a reminder on your desktop.

If you continue working, it will disappear at the end of the timer.  If you stop, it will start a micro-break which will freeze most on-screen activities until the timer is over.  You can click Skip or Postpone if you do not want to take a break right then.

After an hour of work, Workrave will give you a 10 minute rest break.  During this it will show you some exercises that can help eliminate eyestrain, muscle tension, and other problems from prolonged computer usage.  You can click through the exercises, or can skip or postpone the break if you wish.



You can change your Workrave preferences by right-clicking on its icon in your system tray and selecting Preferences.

Here you can customize the time between your breaks, and the length of your breaks.  You can also change your daily computer usage limit, and can even turn off the postpone and skip buttons on notifications if you want to make sure you follow Workrave and take your rests!

From the context menu, you can also choose Statistics.  This gives you an overview of how many breaks, prompts, and more were shown on a given day.  It also shows a total Overdue time, which is the total length of the breaks you skipped or postponed.  You can view your Workrave history as well by simply selecting a date on the calendar.


Additionally, the Activity tab in the Statics pane shows more info about your computer usage, including total mouse movement, mouse button clicks, and keystrokes.


Whether you’re suffering with Carpal Tunnel or trying to prevent it, Workrave is a great solution to help remind you to get away from your computer periodically and rest.  Of course, since you can simply postpone or skip the prompts, you’ve still got to make an effort to help your own health.  But it does give you a great way to remind yourself to get away from the computer, and especially for geeks, this may be something that we really need!

Download Workrave

Matthew Guay
Matthew Guay is a veteran app reviewer and technology tip writer. His work has appeared on Zapier's blog, AppStorm, Envato Tuts+, and his own blog, Techinch.
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