2020-11-18

I’ve been interested in trying regular short breaks from the screen, but in practice scheduling them can be tricky. Ideally break reminders should be flexible enough that I can take a minute or two to wrap up a task, but persistent enough that I can’t forget them.

The reminder mechanism that I’ve found the most helpful has been to simply turn the screen grayscale, a technique I’ve borrowed from Android’s Digital Wellbeing features, popularly used for countering screen addiction.

This turned out to be easy to implement as a Gnome Shell extension, from which it’s simple to leverage Mutter's robust idle monitor and built-in screen effects.

screenshot of extension settings

Be Nice to Brain turns the screen grayscale until a break is taken, and plays a soft sound effect when it’s time to return.