When using RSI Stopwatch for the first time, you will be asked to configure your usage settings. You can change this at any time using the File->Configuration menu option.
Set your work period (regular breaks)
The work period duration sets the duration between rest periods. i.e. how long you work before you have a break.
The default is to take breaks every hour, but you can reduce this if you have pain while using your computer, or increase it if you choose.
The work period can be set between 20 minutes and 90 minutes.
You can select “Take rests more frequently after 4 hours” to reduce the work periods by 25% in duration later in your work day.
Selecting the “Pause stopwatch on idle” (the default setting), will pause the work period count down if the system is idle. Specifically, if this option is selected then the system will be considered idle if there has been very little keyboard activity in the last 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of idle the Stopwatch countdown will pause. The countdown will restart after keyboard activity.
If the system goes into a sleep state (a power saving system setting), like going to lunch, then the Stopwatch will be paused. On resuming from a sleep state, the Stopwatch will be restarted. The time the Stopwatch was paused will be displayed.
If on starting RSI Stopwatch, it detects that RSI Stopwatch has already been running today (e.g. PC powered off and back on), then the work period stopwatch will continue from where it left off.
Set your rest periods
The period of time for each rest period is configurable between 1 and 20 minutes. The default is 3 minutes. This is the period you should do some gentle stretches, get up and walk around, get a glass of water, look to the distance – i.e. your break time. You don’t have to stop working, just do something without your PC for a while – stand up and talk to someone.
There are a number of rest period display types.:
- Enforce a rest with stretches displayed.
- Enforce a rest with favorite photo displayed.
- Display a small un-intrusive timer window for the rest period.
The display type you choose will depend on your work environment. The default is to display 10 suggested stretches (over 90 seconds), followed by a list of tips. This will cover the screen to force you to take a break. Up to 8 connected monitors are supported.
If you have your own stretch routine, which is recommended, then you may just want to display your favorite photo. Wide landscape photos look best.
If you work in an office environment where you want a more discrete reminder that you should take a break, then you can choose the “Remind me to take a rest.” This option displays a small un-intrusive rest period countdown timer on the bottom right of your screen.
Set mini posture and stretch reminders
Headaches and back pain are sometimes associated with poor posture for long periods of time. We all know we need to sit up straight with proper support from the chair, but later on in the day it becomes all too easy to slouch.
While it might sound silly, you should learn about how to sit in a chair properly. And then do it.
It might surprise you how having a couple of brief reminders every work period can get you from a slouched position back into the correct position.
The mini reminders are shown as brief “balloon” messages in the bottom right of the screen. They remind you to stretch briefly or think about your posture. They can be displayed up to 5 times per work period (with 2 being the default setting). This is configured in the “Number of mini reminders per work period”.
Reduce mouse clicking (set hot keys)
Clicking your mouse constantly can be really bad for you hands. This RSI Stopwatch option allows the keyboard to be used for most mouse clicks. This can place less stress on your hands.
The keyboard keys that are used as hotkeys are determined by whether you use the mouse with your right or left hand. This is because you would normally use the opposite hand for hotkeys so you don’t need to take you hand off the mouse (for positioning the cursor), to press the hotkey.
When using a left handed mouse or trackball (the default option in RSIStopWatch), the right handed hotkeys are:
- Number pad 1 – left click
- Number pad 2 – left double click
- Number pad “.” – right click
If you are using a mouse with your right hand, you need to select “Using a mouse in your right hand”. In this scenario, the hotkeys are accessible by your left hand:
- Function key F1 – left click
- Function key F2 – left double click
- Function key F3 – right click
If you don’t want to use the hotkeys, then de-select “Use hotkeys…”. This is the default setting.
Note: In our opinion the best use of hotkeys is using the Number pad keys, as these are more easily and comfortably reachable (than the function keys). Using the number pad normally only makes sense with your right hand. If you are using hotkeys with your right hand, it makes more sense to use a mouse (or trackball) with your left hand. We think a full sized trackball places less stress on your hand than a mouse. Hence, we prefer to use a full size trackball with the left hand, and use the number pad function keys as hotkeys with the right hand. In this way most clicks can be made with the hotkeys, and the occasional trackball click with the left hand (whilst still having your left hand on the trackball for cursor positioning).
Now more people use a mouse with their right hand, so you may think this makes no sense if this is you. We suggest you think about it this way, don’t wait until you have pain in your right hand and you are forced to switch to your left hand for mousing. Try becoming ambidextrous with your mouse. We know quite a few people that were forced to change from right to left hand (all right handed people) due to pain and it only took a couple of days to become proficient. If you have pain using your PC, you need to see your doctor.
To switch your mouse from the right hand side to the left hand side, you need to “Switch primary and secondary buttons” in “Mouse Properties”. You should be able to get to this Windows setting with <Windows key>, then type “mouse”.
Log your work patterns
By default RSI StopWatch will create a daily summary log file of your work day, including the time you turned on your PC (or logged in), turned off your PC, as well as work and rest periods.
The daily log files are stored in:
For example, RSIStopWatch_2016-04-14.txt
In addition to these summary events being logged, you can log a description of a work activity to the summary log (File->Log work activity). This can be useful as a record of your daily work activities, or input to a timesheet.
You can turn off logging by selecting “None”.
Note: all times described are approximate.