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You deserve a break

Feature request: Unbreakable timeouts

Hi there

First, thanks for the fast reaction to my previous post/vote in another thread.

Having used the app "successfully" for a week or so now, I have the following idea:

Would it be possible to render the breaks "unbreakable", so to speak? What I mean is, I find that I am prone to skip or delay the breaks, ironically at exactly those times when I could probably use them the most. In the beginning of the day, I am fresh and motivated and the app does indeed help me to stick to my break schedule ⇒ annoying, maybe, in the moment, but long-term more productive as it keeps me fresh and my eyes not tired for longer.

However, as I get tired or the day ends, I tend to become more impatient or impulsive and more likely to override the breaks because I don't want to get up, for example, or even just interrupt whatever I am doing.

There is an app called SelfControl that blacklists certain IPs that are entertaining/addictive but unproductive (like news sites or forums). The most important thing about this app is that it cannot be overridden by the user until the (self-imposed) timeout has passed. This inability to override one's better self, as it were, is very helpful as I would probably override the block otherwise at some point, and especially when I am already weak (low blood sugar, say). Self-binding really works.

Long story short, would it be possible to implement something similar in Time Out? I'm not sure about the implementation details but I think SelfControl prevents the override with a kernel extension. For the UI, an additional checkbox in the Advanced pane would probably be sufficient.

Just a suggestion, it's your baby, of course! :-)


David Sinclair's picture

Re: Feature request: Unbreakable timeouts

Thanks for the suggestion. I wouldn't want to use a kernel extension, as that wouldn't be allowed in the Mac App Store, and I want the direct edition to be consistent with the MAS one.

But what you can do now is disable the Skip button during the break. That would encourage you to take the break. While it is possible to bypass it by quitting Time Out, it isn't entirely trivial. And if you hide the Dock icon, it becomes harder to impulsively quit.

You could try using the new limits, introduced in version 2.3, where the Postpone and/or Skip buttons can be disabled after they are used a certain number of times each day. That might encourage you to take the breaks.

Another feature that someone recently suggested, that may be added in 2.4 or some subsequent version, is an option to disable the Skip button for a number of seconds at the start of the break, e.g. for 15 seconds, giving you a moment to decide if you really do need to skip.

Hope this helps!