This is not a title I would ever have imagined writing. I was an early adopter of the “What the heck could POSSIBLY be the use of the Apple Watch” attitude. Plus, here I am, trying to shop LESS, and certainly not trying to inspire anyone else to shop MORE by recommending expensive pieces of electronics.
And yet, I’ve found the Apple Watch to be such a powerful tool that I decided to share how the Watch has helped me reduce anxiety and feel less tethered to my iPhone (thus less likely to fall into all the distraction traps my phone offers me!).
In essence, this is a short(ish) story of how the Watch is, quite unexpectedly, helping me in my journey to simplify my life.
Context: Why I love my iPhone
I LOVE my iPhone. I use it to read books, to navigate big city traffic and find my way home when I’m lost while walking the dogs. (This happens to everyone, right?) My iPhone is my alarm clock, kitchen timer, calendar, appointment reminder.
Not to mention, the phone number my kids know and the schools call in emergencies.
Trying to go “hands-free”
The problem with a device that does all that is that I depend on it all day long. Which means that my kids constantly see me with my phone, and I hate that. I want to set a good example for them, but I’m also feel panicked that I’ll miss an important phone call or an alarm if my phone isn’t right next to me.
This is not conducive to reducing anxiety.
And if I’m honest, the moment I pick up my phone for a GOOD purpose, like checking traffic, I’m significantly more likely to check Facebook, maybe play some Tetris, even browse Amazon.com. Not productive (and sometimes quite expensive).
Trying out the Apple Watch
In mid-December, despite mocking the Apple Watch pretty much since it’s release, I had a sudden inspiration. If I could get notifications right there on my wrist for Reminders, Alarms, phone calls, etc, I might actually be able to handle not holding my phone in my hand all the time.
Thanks to Apple’s fantastic return policy, I decided to give this thing a try.
After a month, I can honestly say this watch has been a game changer for me.
5 ways the Watch has simplified my life
1. My phone stays in my purse at home until bedtime.
My vision of a simpler life includes giving my family (and others) my full attention. That’s hard when my phone is always nearby, waiting to distract me. (Added bonus — less time on my phone means my thumbs aren’t so sore!)
2. I rarely misplace my phone at home anymore.
I’m one of those people who puts things down in the most random places. And until we get our clutter under control, it’s particularly difficult to find those things once I’ve set them down. Thus, I’m saving quite a bit of time that I used to spend looking for my phone (or at least running to the computer to use the Find My iPhone app!). (Why isn’t that app on the Watch?!)
3. I rarely miss phone calls.
Frankly, I don’t use my phone as a “phone” all that often when I place calls, but I give out my cell phone as my main contact number (simpler than giving people my cell AND home phone numbers, having to check both voicemails, etc.). The problem has been that I often don’t hear my phone ring, which in turn, leaves me really stressed out when I’m expecting a call. I find myself constantly pulling my phone out to make sure I have no missed calls, and once it’s in my hand, I’ll end up checking email and Facebook before I even realize what I’m doing. But with the Watch, I’m alerted when I get a call, so my phone stays in my purse (see #1).
4. I have less “time anxiety.”
This is a benefit to the Apple Watch that I definitely did not expect. Being on that ADD spectrum, I find myself constantly losing track of the time, checking the clock in panic every couple of minutes, lest I miss an important appointment or forget to make a call or, well, whatever. Now I just set an alarm on my Watch, without worry that I won’t hear it because my phone is in another room! I even set several alarms for things like picking up my kids from school, so I have time to prepare to depart (like letting the dogs out and grabbing cold drinks; anything that can’t be done ahead of time!).
5. I’m more productive.
To be honest, keeping my phone in my purse is already a huge boost to productivity, but even beyond that, the ease of setting Reminders on my Watch has allowed me to get all those pesky, nagging little “don’t forget” messages out of my head, clearing head space for more important activities (like writing!). (Dave Ramsey’s GTD program relies a lot on this brain dump idea.)
So how exactly do I use Reminders? I set reminders for multi-step activities — like, “Set reminder to buy birthday card when I’m at Barnes and Noble.” and then, “Set reminder to send birthday card to Sarah on Friday at 9am.” Or while I’m driving and realize I forgot to email Alice’s school about a change in afternoon carpool, I can tell the Watch, “Set reminder to email school when I get home.” I even do it for little things, like if I’m brushing my teeth in the morning and realize I’m almost out of toothpaste, but keep forgetting to add it to the grocery list, I can “Set reminder in 15 minutes to add toothpaste to grocery list” — figuring I’m likely to be downstairs by then, right near my grocery list.
In short: I have very unexpectedly become an absolutely HUGE Apple Watch fan!
What’s your experience with smart phones or smart watches? Love them? Hate them? “It’s complicated?” How do you manage these sneaky little devices so they are helpful tools, rather than life-complicating gadgets? I’d love for you to leave a comment here or on my Facebook page, or send me a private message through the Contact form.
All the best,