Bad at Taking Breaks? Let Your Computer Remind You

BreakTimer
BreakTimer

Taking occasional breaks is an integral part of the workday, but when you get deep into a project, it can be hard to tear yourself away. If you're the kind of person who regularly sits down at a computer and then doesn't look up for the next eight hours, there's a browser extension that can help, according to Lifehacker.

A Google Chrome extension called Break Timer is designed to remind you to take a break from staring at your screen, creating customizable pop-ups at set intervals to ensure that you look up every once in a while.

Occasionally looking up from your computer screen isn't a leisure; it's necessary if you want to stay healthy and productive. The American Optometric Association recommends taking a break to look at something beyond your computer (ideally at least 20 feet away) once every 20 minutes to reduce digital eye strain, which can lead to headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and other issues. Studies have also found that workers who take short breaks throughout the day are more productive than workers who stay chained to their desk all day, trying to power through fatigue and boredom.

Break Timer lets you customize your alerts so they either show up as small desktop notifications or as a full-screen window of color. It lets you set the interval at which you want to be reminded to take a break as well as the text you see when the reminder pops up. It also allows you to skip or postpone breaks if you think you need just a few more minutes of concentration. It can also restart your counter if you've been away from your computer for a long time (since you're clearly already taking a break).

Not sure how long to set your reminder intervals for? In 2014, a productivity app called DeskTime found that its most productive users spent an average of 52 minutes working before taking a 17-minute break. Other productivity gurus recommend the Pomodoro Technique, which consists of 25 minutes of work followed by a 5-minute break.

Get Break Timer for Google Chrome here.

[h/t Lifehacker]

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Barbados Is Developing a 12-Month Visa to Encourage Remote Workers to Stay Awhile

Work from beach.
Work from beach.
Ken Kanous, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Changing your Zoom background to an image of a blissful, sunny beach might be the closest you can get to working from paradise right now, but Barbados wants to help you swap your virtual experience for a real one.

As Condé Nast Traveler reports, the Barbados government is developing a 12-month “Barbados Welcome Stamp” visa that will allow visitors to work remotely from the island for up to a year. Barbados already began to reopen its borders to vacationers on July 12, and American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, JetBlue, and British Airways are all expected to resume flights there in the next few weeks. That said, the island is requiring all out-of-towners to test negative for COVID-19 before entry, and the increased safety protocols can deter people from thinking a short trip is worth the effort.

Since Barbados’s economy relies heavily on tourism, the government is hoping the opportunity for a long-term stay will encourage visitors to come anyway—especially considering how many people are working from home lately. For many, that trend may not end even after the pandemic does; Global Workplace Analytics estimates that between 25 and 30 percent of the world’s workforce will have transitioned to remote work for multiple days a week by the end of 2021.

According to Barbados Today, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced the pending Welcome Stamp program at a reopening event for Primo Bar and Bistro in the St. Lawrence Gap neighborhood of Barbados’s Christ Church parish. During her speech, she stressed the importance of helping the hospitality industry get back on its feet.

“The people who must keep these towns alive are not just those who come from overseas, as we are learning with COVID, but those who live here and who have a responsibility to make sure that this is the best that can be offered in this part of the world,” she said.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]